3×2 Crop Dungeness October 2009. Infrared capture, 3200 ISO, f16, 125/s. A good example of letting your digital negatives mature over a ten year period. Taken a bright day the dark rendering makes the picture work for me.


How Cassie Learned to Create Award-Winning Digital Pictures

Cassie is a young professional living in Weybridge, Surrey. Her work takes her to the far east as a Civil Engineer working on hydro-electric dams. For the short periods when Cassie is at home she lives with her parents. She has been interested in photography from her mid-teens. At school, she had access to the darkroom where she eagerly soaked up all the information on printing she could find.


The young photographer readily says her prints weren’t great at that time but they gave her the satisfaction of learning the craft of darkroom printing. “There is something magical in seeing the print emerge from the paper, as the developer tray is gently rocked in the dim glow of the red safelight,” she says. Then, due to pressures of study, Cassie lost contact with black and white photography for a few years. Now that she is established in a stable but hectic job. She occasionally has the opportunity to take digital pictures that she displays in frames around her office.


Nagging Doubts

On reflection, there was always a nagging doubt that the digital prints coming out of her A3 Inkjet printer did not have the same look and depth as the prints she had made before in the darkroom. Cassie knows that the paper and ink technology is capable of great prints. She sees the stunning work others are producing but that same satisfaction was eluding her. After a time, Cassie decided to take one of two courses of action. Firstly, to upgrade her digital printing skills with the aim of making digital prints with the quality of the darkroom process or secondly, if that was not possible, to return to film photography.

1 x 1 Crop Dungeness October 2009. Infrared capture, 3200 ISO, f16, 125/s


The way forward

Through a friend, she was introduced to the website of Andy Beel who has a darkroom background and offers one to one digital printing tuition. In the back of her mind was the question “can this guy really show me how to make prints that look like they are made in the darkroom?” After an interchange of emails, Cassie enthusiastically booked herself onto the Mono Masterclass in Snowdonia. After the booking was made Andy sent her a copy of the textbook for the masterclass – The Dark Art – A Digital Black and White Printing Manual by Andy Beel, which Cassie studied as best she could between work and her social life.


When the Masterclass came around later in the year, she had only just got back from work in China. Cassie was excited to meet the other participants and found they all had roughly the same desire to make their best efforts with digital mono-printing even better with the help of bespoke training and insights from a leader in the field.


Confidence builder

The masterclass gave Cassie the confidence to use Lightroom and Photoshop as tools that she had control over to bring about what she saw and felt at the time of taking the picture. The masterclass was a steep learning curve that was made easier and more enjoyable because she had the opportunity to read The Dark Art textbook before the training. The days of muddy black and white prints are over. Cassie now has the passion, vision and style to make prints that express her personality on a piece of Inkjet photo printing paper.



Cassie went on to join London Independent Photography  http://www.londonphotography.org.uk/ where her work is well regarded and has won the occasional award in their annual exhibition when she has the time and energy to make the prints and enter. Thanks to Andy Beel her best was made even better when given the opportunity to learn, grow and express herself.

6 x 17 Crop Dungeness October 2009. Infrared capture, 3200 ISO, f16, 125/s


Exhibitions ending soon not to miss

Not to be missed is the Oscar Marzaroli Exhibition in Glasgow. I will be making a trip to Glasgow to see the show that is on until the 15th March at the Street Level Works Gallery. I have yet to decide whether to fly for £32 return or take the much greener train at £114. The greenest option would be to view the exhibition online but there is nothing like seeing the real prints.


Lightroom Sensor Spot Location

Here is a short video from dpreview.com about a systematic way to locate sensor spots if you have them. Shooting at f1.4 as I do most of the time I am not bothered by these critters!  This method is really easy and it works.

Now TV

I have recently moved in to the 19th century with a Now TV Entertainment Pass that includes the Sky Arts TV channel as part of the package. Sky Arts was the only reason for doing this as I am not interested in all the other addional channels provided with the Entertainment Pass.


I have been mightly bored with Freeview for years I think I should have asked around before now, then a friend said look at Now TV. I should done this when I got a smart TV last summer.


I bought a Now TV Stick with 2 months free access to all that the Entertainment offers for £26. The rolling subscription after the free period is £8.99 a month. So far I have watched advert-free – Prokofiev Symphony No1 – The Classical, A Three Tenors concert, a Willie Nelson & friends concert, Concert for George, Berlioz Symphony Fantastique, 2 Cellos at the Sydney Opera House.


None of the programmes are brand new but they are more interesting than the inane likes of “Wives with knives” et al – that I have not and will never watch from Freeview.

Too good to go

It’s a terrbible indictment on our society that one third of all food produced is wasted and goes in the bin. When wasted, food has a harmful effect on the environment – it’s responsible for 8% of the global greenhouse gas emissions which we all know is bad news for the planet!

Here is a potential solution – The Too Good To Go App

The app helps you rescue unsold food with links to outlets that have excess food to sell at a reduced cost.

Customer experiences seem to be mixed around the country from great to poor. Morrisons offer the service but with many negative reviews on Trustpilot. I haven’t tried this yet and will give an update when I do and let you know how I faired.

Excellent Christmas Presents For Passionate Photographers