Laverghetta Photography & Portraits: Blog en-us (C) Laverghetta Photography & Portraits (Laverghetta Photography & Portraits) Tue, 20 Sep 2016 04:11:00 GMT Tue, 20 Sep 2016 04:11:00 GMT Laverghetta Photography & Portraits: Blog 120 80 Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society and other stuff I was listening to the radio just now and I heard a TEDtalk about procrastination and in that specific talk, they mentioned making a blog ever 10 weeks. 

I'm the first to admit that I'm not into the whole blog thing. I wouldn't mind doing it more, but I'm not driven to post some of the most mundane things I do. Also, the fact that my 'darkroom' is hot during the summer doesn't help much either. I just want to get things done and not labor more to show you what I'm doing. 

Anyways, I've been doing a lot more large format recently. I have gone so far as to say that all of my personal photography for the last few months has been entirely film, and entirely large that's 4x5 and 8x10. 

The most recent outing is mentioned on my Facebook page where I brought my 8x10 Burke & James camera out to New Haven, IN and was set on getting a good film shot of the 765 (temporarily renamed 767) NKP steam locomotive as operated by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society. I wanted to get a normal shot, but also a denser negative for salt printing trials (more on salt printing later).

The Day.

It was a hot day, but not horrible. It was hot enough and sunny enough that the kids waiting in line for caboose rides were starting to cry and become very restless by the time Helen and I arrived. It was a pretty long line and I was reminded of how even now I get those tired feelings where I just want to give up what I'm doing and go home, or get in the car with A/C, or something that makes me more comfortable than I am. 

I found the train I was going to photograph, but it had de-railed, and I figured we could walk around and look at other stuff in the hopes (hah!) that it would be re-railed and operating by the time we got back to it. No such luck, but I figured it'd be a cool shot anyways, since you rarely see a train without all it's feet firmly planted. 

Anyways, I got my camera out (Helen was a huge help helping me carry gear) and began setting it up. The place was crowded, with people constantly moving, but slowly, so as usual, I had many eyes on me setting up my camera. 

"I'm going to take a guess and say that's not digital..." one person said.   

...I'm not going to say that I enjoy the attention it gets me, but as somebody who's pretty much been an introvert, it's nice from time to time.

One of the problems with this camera and tripod is that it's difficult to get everything all lined up and even. When I got the shot framed, I noticed that the bottom of the photograph was in focus, but the top wasn't. I eventually tipped the front standard backward a little and got the focus I was looking for. I metered my exposure, f32 at around 1/90second or something like that. I got the first shot, and then changed up my exposure to something different to try to get a denser negative for salt printing. 

Next shot I set up more of a landscape. Didn't take too long, but I had somebody else specifically tell me "that's quite the camera." Shout out to you if you see this. I think you're the only person I gave a card to. I replied, "It gets the job done," in a pretty sarcastic but friendly way. 

I developed the shot to find that I had some kind of fogging. I have yet to do the sleuthing to find what caused it, but I was pretty down that something went wrong, but hey, it was the first time I'd used that camera out in the bright sunlight I later realized. 

Here's the link to the photo on my Facebook page:

Annnnnyways, I've been transfixed by some even older processes lately. I've been watching the videos of Borut Peterlin in Slovenia and have 'developed' and urge to try wet plate collodion photography....though for now I've decided that salt printing is the closest I can comfortably get for a while. 

In short, salt printing is a way of making my own photographic paper. So far, I've only purchased pre-made light sensitive paper to print my photographs, but this will allow me to buy art paper, chemistry, and use a brush to coat a silver solution on the paper and print like they did in the 19th century. 

If you want to see what I've been watching and thinking's a video from the guy in Slovenia...

Well, looks like it's time to go to something else! 


Until next time!

]]> (Laverghetta Photography & Portraits) Tue, 20 Sep 2016 04:10:21 GMT
Need a sturdy tripod? I've tried to use my 8x10-inch view camera with my original tripod head, and with a slightly lighter-weight, but more accommodating, tripod head with more contact with the camera. It just hadn't been working. I decided to go for a new tripod, but I didn't want to pay what it would cost, and I knew most tripods wouldn't have the proper bolt size. This camera consists of everything above the monorail as well as the lighter color head mounted on the tripod, just below the black metal rail. Usually, tripod heads accept something like a 5/8-inch bolt, but this one accepts a 1/4-inch bolt, very similar to most cameras. For this reason, I needed to find a tripod that could mount directly to a camera. 

Since this isn't the normal method, I knew I'd either have to spend a ton on a really expensive tripod, or somehow modify one. 

Enter the Bosch BT160 Contractor's Tripod (Aluminum). Hopefully this link will always work. It redirects to a reconditioned model available online. It's also available at The Home Depot. 

This contractor's/surveyor's tripod (whatever you want to call it, chances are you usually see somebody doing surveying with it) has a different way of mounting an instrument. It has a large hole in the top, with a floating bolt mechanism. This means you can slide the originaly, larger bolt aside, and use some washers and just a normal 1/4-inch bolt in around it's place. 

This camera, a Burke & James Grover, has a different kind of mount clamp. It has very few contact points and essentially only in contact in the very middle where it's screwed in, and around the circular mount clamp where it meets the black part of the tripod under it. This is perfect for my camera, since it has very little contact in the center or indeed anywhere else, until the camera's circular mount comes in contact with the tripod. 

I'm definitely down to help anybody with information on one of these tripods if they feel it's for them. 

Benefits of this tripod: It's very sturdy. It's made to dig into soft ground to keep it sturdy. It has soft tips which help it stay put on harder surfaces. It's built to be used in on a construction site. It's easy to adjust the length of the legs, and they go pretty high. Lower price than similar tripods meant specifically for cameras.

Downsides: It wasn't built for cameras (but it still might work). It's just a set of legs, not every tripod head will fit; bring yours with you when you look at a surveyor tripod. In my case, I can tilt my camera up and down because of the circular mount (you can see the large, over-sized knob on the side) but I can't rotate left to right and so I need to actually rotate the whole tripod in order to pan to the side. 




]]> (Laverghetta Photography & Portraits) 8x10 art artwork black and white camera contractor tripod contractor's tripod darkroom format home large large format photography print surveyor tripod surveyor's tripod using a surveyor's tripod for large format Sat, 14 Feb 2015 16:19:07 GMT
What goes into a darkroom print and why is it so special? I've recently put together and posted a video about printing in the darkroom and I wanted to elaborate on some things. If you haven't seen the video, please check it out here.


I use the silver gelatin process because it is much more involved and it feels like more of a craft than dinking around on the computer, adjusting sliders, and then printing your image on a printer or sending it off to a printing service. Of course, I understand that calibrating everything can be a very involved process and your first print from an inkjet might not be perfect, but to me, it doesn't feel as intimate. It's a bit like painting in Photoshop compared to painting on a canvas with actual paints. You might get some nice stuff with digital painting, but it won't be the same.

Loading film

When I start the process of making a photograph, I shut off all the lights in my darkroom, turn off the computer and shut off the power strip, plus I've even got a piece of thick tape that goes over the LED light on the smoke detector. You wouldn't believe how well you can see with just that one light after 10 minutes of letting your eyes adjust. You can have NO light at all when handling film. My film is 4"x5" and comes in small boxes. It must be handled pretty delicately so it doesn't get scratched and it must be handled in a fairly dust free environment. Two sheets of film are loaded into a special double-sided holder that's about the size of a small spiral bound notebook. I'll probably load between 3 and 6 of these film holders which gives me 6-12 shots when I go out. I load up my film bag with my light meter and the film, my camera backpack holds my camera, 3 lenses, contrast filters, dark cloth, bag bellows (for wide angle lenses), shutter release, and magnifying loupe. I also have to take a sturdy tripod with me or else there's a 90% chance I won't photograph anything while I'm out.

In the Field

When I reach the place where I want to photograph, I have to set up the tripod first. Then I can hang my two packs on the tripod knobs. Setting the camera up takes a couple minutes because it actually collapses into itself like a Transformer, from innocent wooden box with knobs, to an old looking, but still high-tech looking, camera. It's probably from about 1990. 

I have to turn some knobs on the camera to focus properly, my handheld light meter tells me how much light is reflecting off of certain parts of the scene before me. I have to interpret these readings in order to know how much light needs to hit my film once I get it placed in the camera. At this point, the camera is just a plain box with a lens at one end and fogged (ground) glass at the other. I need to put a dark cloth over my head to see the flipped and reversed image on the ground glass because it's so dim compared to the light I see when I just look in front of the camera. My light meter has a chart on the side of it to tell me which settings to use in order to take the picture that I want. Generally, two settings are used. There's a shutter speed, and an aperture. One controls the time the lens is open, the other controls how much the lens is open, whether it's open all the way or just a little. 

To take the shot, I need to get a film holder from inside my film bag. This piece is inserted into the camera like a cassette would have been inserted into a Sony Walkman (sorta). There's door that needs pulled open to expose the film surface to the inside of the camera. After opening the door on the film, I click the shutter, and put the door back in place. The film holder is safe to remove, and then I make notes on the picture that I just took. Not all film is developed the same and it's always good to know which film holders contain which shots. There are no test shots to see if I got the shot right. 

Processing the Film

Once I'm home, I set up my chemistry trays. All chemistry must be as close to 68 degrees Fahrenheit as possible, or else my film won't develop to the extent it's supposed to, making printing harder. The trays I use to develop are filled with plain water, developer, acid stop bath, fixer, another plain water bath, and fixer washer. All of these steps must be done for a certain amount of time in order to process my film to where it needs to be. After it's processed, it's washed in plain water for around 10 minutes, a drying chemical is added, and I hang it to dry for a couple hours in the shower. After it's dried, I need to put it into special archival plastic sheets to keep the film safe from dust and scratches.

Making the Print

This is where the video picks up. The film is loaded into the enlarger which is like a projector, but it projects the image straight down onto a table. Again, this is almost just like a camera, but in reverse. There is a lens that has an aperture that can open up and close down to just a very small hole. I turn the light bulb in the enlarger on and off to simulate a shutter speed. Then, I need to find how long this light needs to be left on in order to make a good picture on the light-sensitive photo paper. If too much light hits the paper, the picture looks too dark. If not enough hits the paper, the picture is too light. The light makes a chemical reaction in the paper and when a special solution is used, that reaction turns the paper black, or at least partially gray. On top of that, contrast must be adjusted while printing. That way, the bright points aren't too bright, and the dark points are as dark as they're supposed to be. It's almost like a science, discipline, and art rolled all into one. Sure, your image is still captured for you, but from there, there is much control over how the photo turns out. I usually use fiber based (FB) paper as opposed to resin coated (RC) paper. This paper is a type of plastic, similar to most of the photographs you've held in your hand. 

After the photograph is printed, it needs to be washed for 10-20 minutes. It goes through almost the same process that film does, but fiber paper needs washed longer since the chemicals are actually able to soak into the fibers instead of being stopped by the plastic of RC papers. It may not be over though, if the photographer hasn't accounted for dry down. Dry down is what happens when the fibers in the paper bunch up as they dry. This has the effect of darkening the highlights in a photograph, making them look muddy and flat, with low contrast. To dry the paper, it is squeegeed lightly, and set on a fiberglass drying screen to dry over the course of a few hours.

Finishing Touches

It might not be done yet, though. During the film drying process, film will gather a few specs of dust from time to time. Since the dust on the film stops light from reaching the photo paper during printing, this shows up as a white spot on the print. This must be "spotted" during post-processing by using a black dye and a very fine-point brush. 

In order to display a fiber print, you can't just put it in a frame and be done. It needs to be dry mounted to be held flat. Then, a window mat is placed over the top before it is inserted in a frame. 

If care was taking during printing and the print was washed thoroughly enough and not contaminated after drying, it should last for many decades without yellowing or degrading in any way. 

Additionally, some color may be introduced into a black and white print. It may be just a subtle cool blue or even purple tone added by selenium toning, which also increases archival properties, or it may be true chemical sepia toning where the image is basically wiped from the paper and replaced by a brown color. It's also possible to do a mix of these two processes.


As you can see, there's a lot that goes into making just a single traditional silver gelatin darkroom print. I take great pride in my photography and wish to share it with as many people as I can. I hope you'll take some time to look around at my available images here

]]> (Laverghetta Photography & Portraits) 4x5 arista art artwork black and white camera darkroom film gelatin home ilford kodak large format photography print wall Thu, 08 Jan 2015 05:49:07 GMT
Re-Learning My Darkroom Craft Greetings all! It's been fun re-learning my darkroom craft the last few weeks. It's all about pushing myself to get the best print I can from a negative that I expose out in the field, develop up to a week later, and print at least a day later. It's a lot slower paced than the instant gratification you get with digital. 

Some mention the feeling they get when they see the print come into view in the developer. I don't get that feeling when the print is in the developer. I get that feeling when the print is in the fixer and the four minutes of sloshing are done. I flip on the light, and check to see if it looks good enough. If the photo pops, it's not to dark, or too light, or too contrasty, but if it's just right, it's a rush. It's such an easier process on the computer. You see it there, and you pretty much know that you're print is going to look just the same if everything is calibrated even a little bit. Spending time on each photo is what it's about for me. 

Recently, I've looked into more in-depth darkroom techniques to control contrast and retaining highlights as well as shadows. 

I'm hoping to make a video about what I do so it can be more easily conveyed. When all most people know about photograph was a casual existence of film followed by seeing a photo on a screen and then suddenly seeing the same thing in print, it's hard to convey how light on a piece of plastic, becomes a negative image, which helps burn light into a gelatin emulsion to varying degrees...and THEN you have to make sure that the right amount and color of light hits the paper for the right amount of time. 

Please email or message me with any questions or to have your portrait made with this fine art process.

]]> (Laverghetta Photography & Portraits) Thu, 19 Jun 2014 16:21:55 GMT
The Darkroom is OPEN! I finally have the darkroom up and running! Over the next month or so, I hope to be offering more and more of my darkroom prints to the public.

I have posted a scan of a print I recently made titled "Daisy 1." Please check out the gallery of my prints and leave feedback if you like what you see.


What's so special about these prints?

Well, I'll start by saying that I like the process behind these prints and the traditional feel of it. It feels a lot more involved than sitting in a normal room at a computer, clicking stuff to see if I like it. 

These prints are traditional, silver gelatin, fiber based darkroom prints. That means that I use film, the paper they are printed on has bits of silver suspended in a type of flexible gelatin that is coated on a fiber based paper. The paper is more like actual paper than the plastic, or resin-coated, paper your color prints are/were normally made on. The paper used is sensitive to all light except very dim amber/red light, which is what you might imagine when somebody mentions a darkroom.

Similar to how film is exposed to light and forms a negative image, the paper forms a negative image of the negative, thus forming a positive image. As with film, this image doesn't appear immediately. It must be processed in different chemicals before the image shows up and is made permanent. Some of the chemistry is actually very similar to vinegar, though a bit stronger. Selenium toner is another chemical bath my prints are exposed to in order to give them a little more permanence. As it is, these prints should last a very long time. 

A traditional fiber base print seems to actually have the image IN the paper and not just on top. It is the true photographic artist's medium.

What's more, I have taken to photographing with large format film instead of just 35mm. That means my film is the size of most people's prints. There's a ton of detail in each piece of film waiting to hit the paper. While film can't really be measured with megapixels like digital can, sources say there is enough detail in the film that a high quality scan can yield over 100 megapixels of information. Personally, I tend to use 320 ISO film and "Rodinal" developer to develop my film. Both of which can increase the appearance of grain in uniform sections on the print. The sharpness and detail is still pretty astounding. 

As of right now, I am only printing up to 8x10 and matting them. In the future, I hope to go up to 16x20. If you have a special request and would like to order a print larger than 8x10 up to 16x20, let me know and we can see what can be done. I'm excited for the day I can print at 16x20 though, because I should still have an abundance of detail.

Why black and white?

It's a bit of an abstraction from reality. We like to see color. A beautiful sunset looks amazing but I don't often photograph sunsets. When I do, I'll use digital to get the color. So many subjects work well with black and white. The lack of color helps the texture come across as one of the main features. You can almost feel the softness of a flower petal. You can tell the rocks on the banks of a lake are rough. It really helps you see where the light is hitting and where the shadows are cast. 

Part of the sad truth is that it's harder to do certain film methods the old fashioned way. I picked up my black and white enlarger for about $50 while a new model would run me over $2000. The developing trays are fairly inexpensive, but everything that it would take to print in color, plus the hazardous chemistry disposal, would be too much for me right now. You can't even print directly from slide film anymore without first converting to digital. It's just easier to get set up to print black and white in a darkroom.

I have made many photographs over the last 10 years. Many of the color photos looked flat unless the lighting was perfect. I would remove the color, and there would be so much more to look at. Where before you noticed the colors (vivid or muted), now you notice the contrast between the ground and the sky, the sharpness created by the light and dark on the ground. Each image almost became a memory rather than just a representation of something.

One last thought 

Why I print the way I do is best summed up by Clyde Butcher, noted black and white Everglades-based photographer:

"People ask me, 'Why are we doing this. Why can't we just use digital and inkjet?' If you're going to do a piece of art why don't we do it right? That's my theory...well, this is the true artisan's way of doing it."


To place your order...

First, please check out some of the photos I have available.


I have placed a link in the caption for each photograph that will lead you to an order form. Prints will be available framed or unframed, but they will always be mounted and matted. They will usually be a standard size so that frames shouldn't be hard to find.



]]> (Laverghetta Photography & Portraits) and art artwork black darkroom gelatin photography print silver traditional wall white Wed, 26 Feb 2014 00:53:08 GMT
What do you have on your walls? Hey everybody!


Answer this question if you'd like to, but I am curious as to what you have on your walls. Do you have art on your walls? When I say art, I mean imagery other than small photos of family and friends. Something besides clocks and such. Maybe art from big box stores like WalMart or Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Maybe you've got something from a store in the local mall.

If you have art on your walls, how big is it? Does this art have text on it, or is it just an image? 

Now, the obviously question to ask next would be, "Wouldn't it be nice to have something more local?" And of course, it's always nice to have local artwork, but I really just want to ask you if you artwork is local. If it isn't local, do you know who created it?

I do enjoy making my own art, but I do like to have some from other people and places along the way as well.

I want to invite you to not only check out what I have available in my art gallery, but to let me know what you would like to see more of. What kind of art do you have and where do you have it in your home? Check out other local artists and see what they have to offer.

Also, consider a larger wall portrait after your next family portrait session with your favorite photographer.


Just a couple things to think about. It's something that's on my mind often and I'd like to share it with others.





]]> (Laverghetta Photography & Portraits) abstract apartment art artistic artwork home house kitchen laverghetta living new park parks photo photography room wildlife Thu, 16 Jan 2014 02:08:05 GMT
What is Laverghetta Photography up to now? Things are a little bit slow right now, but that doesn't mean that I'm not busy. Work has been going strong in my day job (which is photography oriented as well).


I'm still looking for people for my portrait project. More details should be posted shortly, you will be able to find them when viewing all of my photography albums and portfolios. If you have a hobby or passion in your life, or if there's a certain aspect of your life that means more than most to you, let me know. We'll get your session planned and you can be a part of my photography project.


Also, I've been working on building my own large format camera. Right now, I'm in the planning phase and a pencil and paper is my friend.



]]> (Laverghetta Photography & Portraits) Laverghetta black and white hobbies large format photography portrait session portraits project Fri, 18 Oct 2013 15:04:13 GMT
Laverghetta Photography & Portraits! (& portrait session promo) Hello Everybody!


I've had the website domain for a while, but I've finally gotten it to the point where I'm happy.

In the past, I had some information posted but I couldn't really show photos easily, I couldn't write blogs, and it just didn't look as polished. Now with the new functions, I don't need to depend on Facebook or another page to display a portfolio. Clients and customers are also able to purchase their portraits as well as my photographic artwork at their own leisure.


Along with this new website, I'm offering a promotional deal for portrait session clients.
Book and have any kind of portrait session and I will donate $20 to Community Harvest Food Bank through Meijer's Simply Give program.

A typical portrait session for your family, senior, or self/business will run around $115 with $20 of that going to help our friends and neighbors in need.

This will be in effect until Christmas 2013.

Check out this website for more information on Meijer's program:




Questions, comments, or want to book a session? Fill out the form on this page under the Contact tab or use the information in the tab to call, email, or message me on Facebook.


I will check in with a new blog 2-4 times per month to share what it happening photographically or sometimes with alternative topics.


Enjoy the new look!



]]> (Laverghetta Photography & Portraits) Tue, 01 Oct 2013 02:15:32 GMT is LIVE! It's the early hours of September 24, 2013, and I've finally set up forwarding for my new website. 


Some of the benefits that this website has over the previous design includes:

  •  a much better way in viewing portfolio material
  • galleries for clients to view their photos and place orders themselves
  • add framing to your favorite portraits when ordering and view a sample of what your framed photo will look like
  • Blogs to read! I will try to post once a week relating mostly to what I'm doing photographically
  • I now have my photographic art available for purchase! Well, when I said available, I mean to say that it's always been available, but it's much easier for you, the customer, to purchse and customize your favorite photographs of mine. If you don't see the photograph you are looking for, let me know. I will be uploading more for sale as time passes.
  • an overall better experience


I plan on finishing the last little details over the next week and will be sending out some messages on Facebook to my current friends and fans to let them know of the website. 

Please, share this page with your friends and family! 

]]> (Laverghetta Photography & Portraits) Tue, 24 Sep 2013 04:33:01 GMT
First Blog Post for Laverghetta Photography & Portraits I have begun using a different host for my website and I think this one will be easier for me to manage.

It's through Zenfolio, but I don't think it's branded case you were wondering.

I can also be reached on Facebook.

As time goes by, I should be able to upload photos here for purchase. This will include my art as well as portraits from individual sessions.

Until the next time...

Nanu nanu.

]]> (Laverghetta Photography & Portraits) Mon, 16 Sep 2013 21:35:39 GMT