Not All Exposure Times Are Created Equal

My studio at Silver Street Studios contains B&W and lumen prints. One of the more common questions I’m asked has to do with time, as in, how long does it take to make a lumen print? Although the standard answer is, “it depends,” most people are shocked to learn that although it takes a matter of seconds to project the image onto photographic paper for a B&W photographic print, it could take hours to make a lumen print on the same types of paper.

The image on the left was created from rain lilies, a relatively thin-petaled flower that blooms after moderate to heavy rains. The exposure time for these thin-petaled flowers can range from 45-60 minutes. On the other hand, light hardly penetrate magnolia leaves and flowers. In this instance, the exposure time could range anywhere from three to four hours. Sunflowers are another example of very dense flowers that required lengthy exposure times.

Finding the right time takes many trials, and more than just a little heartache, but when the perfect time intersects with the perfect paper and toning technique, the success can feel like a home run!

Published by mellowdee55

I'm an alternative and traditional photographer living in Houston, Texas. Before stretching my creative wings, I was a content strategist for a software company. During the later part of my tenure there, I learned a lot about the U.S. medical industry when I acted as a patient advocate for my father.

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