I just returned from Dan Burkholder's Platinum/Paladium and Digital Negative Workshop and wanted to comment on what an instructive time I had there. It was held at the Photographers' Formulary in Condon, Montana.
We had demostrations on making digital negatives, coating and making pt/pd prints, on pigment over pt/pd, and on Photoshop techniques for photographers. Dan had many excellent photographs to show us. I especially appreciated the Photoshop techniques part of the workshop. Dan's very knowledgeable in this area, and I spent time practicing these techniques during the workshop so that I could ask questions. As the instructor, Dan spent time with me, helping me figure them all out. We also had plenty of printing time. We did not cover silver contact prints, although Dan offered some software tools and advice in that direction. (Silver printing was not the focus of this workshop.)
Workshops at the Photographers' Formulary are interesting. All of us stayed at rooms on the grounds and had meal tickets there. The kitchen and dining room are housed in the same building as the three large darkrooms and classroom area, so it makes it especially easy to take full advantage of the workshop time. Monday through Thursday, we began at 9am and continued until 9 or 10pm during the evening. The only breaks were for lunch and dinner, and not much time was taken for those. Continental breakfast was ready at 8:30am each morning. Dan was available for demonstrations, formal instruction, and guidance during all of those hours. We also met from 6pm to about 10pm on Sunday and 9am to noon on Friday. At $625 plus lab expenses (housing and meal tickets were separate), we got our money's worth!
It's interesting how much control one can exert over the pt/pd process by processing negatives using Photoshop. We were getting decent results early in the workshop using the Epson 2200 that we had available. I'm looking forward to putting together a source (UV light) and getting started on this digital approach. I expect that pt/pd will be a significant portion of my digital output. Note that this approach completely sidesteps the resource (film and photographic paper) issues associated with traditional black and white photography. Depending on processing, prints can last hundreds of years.
Does this approach fall under the "large format photography" umbrella? We were contact printing with large negatives using early chemical process techniques. With the right lenses, tilts, swings, and shifts are possible, or can at least be synthesized using Photoshop. I know that I learned a lot from this workshop and look forward to being a practitioner of this interesting and productive methodology.