New Darkroom - Big Wild Horse Prints - Exploring Options

April 30, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

New Darkroom Diagram by Tim LaytonNew Darkroom Diagram by Tim Layton I am in the process of designing and building out my new darkroom for making 30"x40", 40"x60", and 48"x60" silver gelatin wild horse prints for my art buyers and collectors.  I am designing everything around the larger 48x60 size.  In other words, all my trays, print washer, etc in my workflow is built around the larger 48x60 dimension. 

The basic dimensions of the new darkroom are about 30 ft. x 30 ft as shown in the first draft illustration to the left of this text. 

I plan on spending a lot of time in the darkroom before I commit to a final build plan.  I am using blue painters tape to lay things out on the floors and walls to help give me a sense of the size.  

You will notice in the center of the diagram I have my large DEV/STOP/FIX 1 trays.  This is actually a 4 ft x 12 ft table where these three trays sit on top and the other three for FIX2, WASH, and HCLR sit on a shelf below until I need them.  I am designing a flip out top on one side to allow all six trays to available for use during a production run.  A few years ago I attempted to use a very large PVC tube for making my big prints in an effort to save the floor space, but that never worked out for me above 30x40.   

I also have a large utility cart that I sit one of the trays on and I can wheel it around as needed for when I am doing things like selenium toning.  The floors are finished concrete, so it makes moving things around very easy and also very sturdy and stable. 

8x10 large format negative by Tim Layton8x10 large format negative by Tim Layton At the heart of the process is my Beseler 45V-XL 8x10 enlarger with the Heiland cold light head and split-grade controller.  You can see in this photo where Tim Jr and I custom built a vertical mount solution and had the 48x60 easel on the floor.  Now that I have more than twice the space as before, I hope to either elevate the easel off the floor because that kills my knees and back, or possibly explore a horizontal solution this time.  I won't know until I start the process and trying things. 

My first order of business is to get my floor to ceiling 24" deep shelving build on the right side of the darkroom for a massive amount of storage.  It only takes up 2 feet of floor space and I will end up with over 120 feet of linear storage.  I can't wait!! 

Then, I plan to start in on all of the 1x12 shelving around the interior walls that will hold all of my "stuff".  With this much space, I will be able to get really organized and optimized for each of my silver and platinum workflows.

Over the last few years I have been capturing a lot of the wild horse images on my Nikon F6 35mm SLR and 600mm F4 lens and then making smaller silver gelatin enlargements as well as making enlarged 8x10 analog negatives for making my bigger 30x40 and 40x50 silver gelatin prints.

I even have my Linhof Master Technika configured with three different lenses that are properly cammed to the rangefinder so I can do some select handheld 4x5 exposures of the wild horses too.  I am using HP5 rated at either EI 400 or EI 800 to help keep the shutter speeds up at a level where I can get sharp handheld images.  That is an incredible amount of fun!!

You are welcome to connect with me on my personal Facebook account where I share behind the scenes updates with my friends and family that I don't share anywhere else.

Free Darkroom Diary Newsletter by Tim Layton

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Over the last several months, I have been capturing thousands of wild horse images using my Nikon D5 and the same 600mm F4 lens.  I have typically used the D5 for 4K video and some select wildlife photography.

I offer Free Art Consultations to help you figure out the best size and details for any piece of artwork that I create.

You can contact me and share a couple of dates, times, and your best phone number and then I will confirm a date and time for our meeting. I can do Facetime video or Zoom meetings, if you would like to share your space with me as we work through designing your new artwork together.

Tim Layton Holding "New Life" Wild Horses of Missouri B&W Silver Gelatin PrintTim Layton Holding "New Life" Wild Horses of Missouri B&W Silver Gelatin Print I have figured out a way to create an FP4 analog negative from my D5 digital captures and I have made some test prints from these new negatives.  This is a proprietary process that Tim Jr and I created.  

I am exploring the idea of getting an Epson SureColor P9570 printer to make the 40x60 archival pigment ink wild horse prints. 

I haven't ordered it yet because I need to get the space ready for it in the new darkroom first and I want to buy a couple test prints that are made with this specific printer.  I need to hold some prints in my hand and hang them on the wall and view them for a while to make sure they meet my expectations.  

The D5 files being upsized to make 40x60 prints is arguably challenging for even the best Photoshop wizard, however, Adobe just released a new "Super Resolution" feature in Adobe Camera RAW 13.2 that effectively doubles the resolution of your image along with some Adobe magic sauce. I have tested this on about 10 or so wild horse images and so far, I am really liking what I see. 

Here is what Adobe has to say about this new feature: "Enhance provides a set of features such as Raw Details and Super Resolution to help improve image quality using Camera Raw. 

Raw Details, previously called Enhance Details produces crisp detail and more accurate renditions of edges, improves color rendering, and also reduces artifacts. The resolution of the enhanced image stays the same as the original image. This feature is especially useful for large displays and prints, where fine details are visible.

Super Resolution, introduced in Camera Raw 13.2, helps create an enhanced image with similar results as Raw Details but with 2x the linear resolution. This means that the enhanced image will have 2x the width and 2x the height of the original image, or 4x the total pixel count. This feature supports the same file types as Raw Details, plus additional file types such as JPEG and TIFF. Super Resolution is especially useful to increase the resolution of a cropped image."

All of this could mean that my awesome D5 with its incredible low-light and AF performance could produce images that are comparable to the D-850 which is twice the resolution.  Some initial basic testing has me very hopeful, but I need more experience and time to see if it will really hold up.  If it doesn't, then I could just use a D-850 with the additional grip and that will produce more than enough pixels for the 40x60 pigment ink prints.  There is also the Gigapixel AI option for file enlargements as well.  Until I see the prints in person, all of this is just theory and a hopeful dream.  

I am super excited to look at my big 40x60 and 48x60 silver gelatin prints next to the Epson archival pigment ink prints and see what I think.  I am not in the mindset of trying to do a direct comparison, but looking at the pigment ink prints to make sure I think they are what I want to share with my art buyers and collectors. 

My priority and heart will always be with the silver gelatin wild horse prints.  The pigment ink prints could be a more cost friendly option for new or first time art buyers making it possible to get more wild horse prints hung on the wall for even more people.  

Based on previous experience, I will be trying Canson Platine Fiber Rag paper as my first paper if I move forward with the P9570 printer.  I think this paper is about as close as you can get to silver gelatin fiber baryta paper, but only time and experience can confirm this for me. I have made some 16x20 prints on my P800 and this is the basis for my current theory. 

I also want to compare one or two Hahnemühle Photo Rag papers because I absolutely love Hahnemühle papers and their quality is something that I have relied on with my platinum prints for many years.  

I will share new articles, photos, and updates as I work on the new darkroom and the wild horse prints. 

Tim Layton Holding "New Life" Wild Horses of Missouri B&W Silver Gelatin PrintTim Layton Holding "New Life" Wild Horses of Missouri B&W Silver Gelatin Print If you love horses, join my Free Wild Horse Journal where I bring you behind the scenes in my darkroom and studio and provide my latest updates and special offers.  Current members are automatically entered for a chance to win one of my wild horse fine art gallery prints every month.  

Join me and other horse lovers from around the world in my Wild Horses of North America Facebook Group.  I share behind the scenes photos and videos in the group that you won't see anywhere else.

I am starting to do Live Video Broadcasts from my new studio and darkroom while I am working and making prints and even doing live art shows too.  I will be making my big 30x40 and 40x50 silver gelatin wild horse prints and also platinum and palladium too.  You can connect with me live on my new YouTube Channel, and in the Darkroom Underground Facebook Group, and the Wild Horses of North America Facebook Group.

Tim Layton Washing Wild Horse Large Format Silver Gelatin Print

Free Wild Horse Behind The Scenes Art Updates by Tim LaytonFree Wild Horse Behind The Scenes Art Updates by Tim Layton

Wild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.comWild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton Wild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.comWild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton Wild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.comWild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton Wild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.comWild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton Troublemaker - Wild Horse Fine Art by Tim LaytonTroublemaker - Wild Horse Fine Art by Tim Layton Princess Warrior - Wild Horse Fine Art by Tim LaytonPrincess Warrior - Wild Horse Fine Art by Tim Layton


8/1/20 - Shawnee Creek Mare - Wild Horses of Missouri by Tim Layton8/1/20 - Shawnee Creek Mare - Wild Horses of Missouri by Tim Layton Shannon County is home to an extraordinary herd of wild horses that very few people know about. Hidden away in Southeast Missouri in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways on public land about 130 miles from Springfield and 150 miles from St. Louis, 4 herds of wild horses roam the beautiful and rugged landscape. 

Ozark National Scenic Riverways is the first national park area to protect a river system and the only place in the state where wild horses still roam free.

It hasn't been an easy path for the wild horses over the last 100 years and it would be foolish to think current conditions couldn't change and put the horses back in danger again. 

During the 1980s the National Park Service announced a plan to remove the wild horses, and people were outraged. 

In 1993 the U.S. Supreme Court denied a final appeal to protect the horses and gave the National Park Service the right to remove the horses from federal land at their discretion.  

The national park service started the process of removing the wild horses in a way that was profoundly upsetting to local residents and horse lovers around the country.  The people of Shannon County and horse lovers around the country rallied together and the Wild Horse League of Missouri was formed.

Wild Horses of Shannon County Missouri by Tim LaytonWild Horses of Shannon County Missouri by Tim Layton Luckily, by 1996 the Wild Horse League of Missouri, which formed in 1992 to save the wild horses, received help from the people of Shannon County, Congressman Bill Emerson, and Senators Kit Bond and John Ashcroft.

Their tireless efforts paid off, and President Clinton signed a bill into law on October 3, 1996, to make the wild horses of Shannon County a permanent part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.  

Now, people from around the world visit Shannon County Missouri in hopes of seeing these majestic wild horses.

The Missouri Wild Horse League works with the National Park Service to capture some of the horses when the herd exceeds the maximum agreed upon limit of 50 horses.  The captured horses are taken into care and evaluated before being adopted by loving families for permanent homes.

It is important to remember that these horses are wild. When looking for them, be sure not to approach them or attempt to feed them. It is essential to keep these animals wild and free, and for you to be safe. The horses are big, strong, and unpredictable and for your own safety as well as theirs, keep a safe distance of 100 yards or more between you and the horses. 


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