ORIGINAL PRINT AVAILABLE AT A SPECIAL DISOUNT PRICE ONLINE
From time to time, I make special print
offerings available at reduced prices. The new Special
Collectors Edition offering of Boulders and Cliff, Sunrise
shown below is now available for order online. This print
is available for a limited time at the very special price
of $600. To learn more about this print, or to order, follow
this link: http://store.yahoo.com/ventanaeditions/joseorpr.html
Boulders and Cliff, Sunrise
San Juan River, Utah
©1991 John Sexton. All
The morning I made Boulders and Cliff,
Sunrise, San Juan River, Utah was one of
the most spectacular mornings I’ve ever experienced in my many years of
wandering the Southwest. The image was
made along the shores of the San Juan River in the magnificent canyon country
of Southeast Utah. It was made during a scouting trip for the
first of four San Juan River workshops
I would teach in the 1990s. We had made camp in this area at dusk the evening
before. The boulders and steep canyon walls
were just a few minutes walk from camp. Exploration in the dim twilight illumination
made it clear that this was a beautiful
spot and, after checking my topo map and compass, I realized the light at sunrise
would rake across the cliff in dramatic
fashion the following morning.
We were up early and photographing well
before sunrise. I was working on a detail
of some nearby petroglyphs, when all of a sudden the sun
began to emerge over the eastern horizon. I rushed with my
camera to the location you see in this photograph, which
I had scoped out the night before. I hastily set up the camera
with the 75mm wide-angle lens (approximately the equivalent
of a 24mm lens on a 35mm camera). I used the back tilt for
depth of field, and to slightly exaggerate the prominence
of the foreground boulders. A #11 yellow green filter was
used to enhance the striations of the desert varnish on the
There was a considerable difference in
brightness between the cliff and the boulders.
I used a technique I have found very useful
over the years. Working with a piece of
black plastic, such as a dark slide, I estimated where I
needed to darken the image by looking on the ground glass
of the camera. During the fifteen-second exposure I simply
covered the top portion of the lens with the opaque material,
moving it up and down slightly, but being careful not to
touch the lens. In essence, I created a customized “split
neutral density filter”. It was like dodging a print
under the enlarger. I’ve used this technique successfully
on a number of images.
I hope the reproduction can convey the
luminosity of the print and the original
scene. Within a few moments the lighting conditions had changed
dramatically, and the photograph had disappeared. I included
this image, along with a few others made along the San Juan
River, in my most recent book Recollections.
There are a limited number prints available
at this special discounted price, so if
your are interested, please act quickly. Earlier this year
I needed to print this image for a long-standing project,
and liked the printing so much that I made some additional
prints which I am offering for sale at this time.
My prints in this size normally retail
in galleries for $900, so the savings over
the retail price is significant.
This print is approximately 11x14", personally printed
by me (as are all my prints), processed to current archival
standards, signed, mounted, and matted to 16x20" on
100 percent rag museum board.
Prints will be shipped within ten days
of the order date.
All prints are carefully prepared and packaged
in specially designed protective shipping
boxes, and shipped fully insured via UPS ground.
If you prefer to order over the phone,
or if you have any questions, call 831-659-3130
from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, Monday through Thursday to place
an order. In addition, you can contact us at: email@example.com
JOHN TO LECTURE FOR SPECTRUM
ART GALLERY IN FRESNO
I am honored to be presenting a lecture
for the Spectrum Art Gallery in Fresno,
California on Thursday evening, October
23 at 7:00 pm. The talk will be held at
the Bonner Auditorium at the Fresno Art
Museum. This presentation is part of Spectrum
Art Gallery’s grand reopening celebration
for their new location in Fresno’s
Tower Arts District. This event will kick
off their annual print auction weekend.
Admission to the lecture will be $10.00.
My talk will include images that span my
thirty-five year career in photography.
In addition, a portion of the talk will
incorporate examples and anecdotes drawn
from my close working relationship with
Ansel Adams. Images will be transformed
on the screen from the negative to the
final print, progressing through various
creative steps in the evolution of an expressive
photographic print. I will be available
after the lecture to sign copies of my
most recent book,Recollections.
I’m looking forward to seeing a number
of my photographic friends from the Fresno
and Central Valley area, as well as making
As an added bonus, each attendee at my
presentation will be issued a drawing ticket.
There will be a drawing at the Spectrum
Art Gallery Auction on Saturday night,
October 25. One lucky attendee will win
an 11x14" print of my image Sea of
Aspen. The ticket holder must be present
at the auction to be eligible to win the
special drawing. In addition, I am pleased
that I will have an additional image, Frost
Covered Boulders, included in the fund-raising
For additional details on my lecture, visit
the Spectrum Art Gallery’s web site:
There is more information about the Spectrum
Gallery print auction at this page on their
web site: http://spectrumphotogallery.org/featured-auction.html
For further information please contact
the Spectrum Art Gallery
POLAROID 20x24 CAMERA AND
FILM LIVES ON
As I mentioned in the February newsletter,
Polaroid announced it was discontinuing
all of its instant film products. I am
pleased to convey the news that the ultra-large
format 20x24 Polaroid camera and films
will continue to live on. My old friend,
John Reuter, along with philanthropist
Daniel H. Stern, has formed a company,
20x24 Holdings LLC, which will support
the Polaroid 20x24 process. They will operate
their massive 20x24 instant camera in New
York and continue to supply film for it.
I believe this is good news for traditional
I have a fond attachment to the hefty Polaroid
20x24 camera. In late 1982, while I was
working as a consultant for Polaroid Corporation,
I was trained in the operation and maintenance
of the Polaroid 20x24. I had the great
honor to make the first ever black and
white 20x24 Polaroid’s outside of
the Research and Development lab. It was
an memorable day, working at the Kennedy
Library in Boston with this huge apparatus.
The camera had been in use for a number
of years with color instant film. The black
and white film was so new that one of the
scientists had to head back to his Polaroid
laboratory twice during the day to get
additional print coaters to protect the
surface of the black and white film, which
was a similar emulsion to Type 52 4x5 Polaroid.
As I remember it took us about one dozen
coaters to coat a single print! In early
1983 I was loaned one of the six Polaroid
20x24 cameras to make landscape photographs
around California. My assistant and I took
it to many locations, including the Eastern
Sierra Nevada and Death Valley. It is not
a device well suited for backpacking!
It was during this time that I met John
Reuter. He was working for Polaroid at
the time. For a number of years, John has
managed the Polaroid 20x24 studio and has
collaborated with many well known photographic
artists. John is a fine photographer in
his own right. I have a great respect for
him and wish him much success with this
Here is a link to the Wall Street Journal
article with more details about the 20x24
instant process and its new life:
TIP: KEEPING FILM STILL FOR SHARP IMAGES
As many readers know I enjoying working
in low light situations (along with many
other types of lighting situations!). This
inevitably leads to long exposures. Obviously
a tripod is essential to keep the camera
stable, but what about the film inside
the camera? With view cameras it is also
important to keep the film steady. Roll
film users don’t have to worry about
the challenges listed below, as a roll
film camera keeps the film taut and it
is held securely in place by the pressure
With large format cameras, when the dark
slide is pulled the film is exposed to
a new and often different temperature and
humidity situation from the closed film
holder. Since the film is a polyester base,
coated with a gelatin emulsion, the film
will tend to warp --- dramatically or very
subtly -- depending on the type of film.
This can cause the film to “pop” or
move in the film holder. Here are a couple
of ideas of how to minimize (unfortunately
not eliminate) these problems.
First of all, whenever making an exposure
of a second or more, I GENTLY tap the film
holder on the palm of my hand to help ensure
that the film is at the bottom of the holder.
For a horizontal image the film holder
would be held horizontally, as it would
go into the camera, and be held vertically
for a vertical image. Do not tap the holder
vigorously, as this can dislodge dust.
You're trying to get the film seated squarely
in the bottom of the holder. That way,
if the film tries to move in the holder
it will not drop, as it will be positioned
at the bottom of the holder, and gravity
will keep it there.
In addition, I try and always allow the
film to “acclimate” to the
interior of the view camera by pulling
the dark slide (with the lens closed!)
for two minutes before starting the exposure.
This sounds like a lot of wasted time,
but it is during this time that I take
my final meter readings and get ready for
the exposure. It’s astonishing how
quickly two minutes can fly by. During
that two-minute period the film will usually
go through its various subtle microscopic
movements that can cause a double image.
If the film movement occurs a few seconds
into a one minute exposure, no problem.
If the movement occurs approximately half
way between the exposure, a big problem!
Evidence of these types of difficulties
can be an inexplicable area on a piece
of film with soft focus. I’ve seen
these countless times on workshop participants’ negatives.
When viewed carefully under a loupe, one
can almost always detect a double image.
What if the light is failing? Then by all
means go ahead and make the exposure as
quickly as possible. In all likelihood
you won’t have a problem. However,
if there is time and the light is not diminishing
quickly, think about adding this to your
long exposure working procedures. Every
large format photographer that I’ve
talked with about this has had problems
due to this difficulty.
By the way, this will also happen with
Readyload and Quickload backs. Even though
there is a pressure plate, the surface
area is just too large.
Even with taking the steps described here
I have lost some images. Once at the Kennedy
Space Center I made four negatives in a
very strange situation between high heat
and humidity and a clean room environment
with temperature and humidity control.
All four negatives had some degree of popping
and were not printable. Very disappointing!
THOUGHTS ON PHOTOGRAPHY... AND OTHER
most beautiful thing we can experience
is the mysterious.
It is the source of all true art and
– Albert Einstein
“Available light is any damn light
– W. Eugene Smith