Reeds on Lake Iznik

by Omar Ozenir

Lake Iznik

The historic Nicaea, today's Iznik, lies on the eastern tip of the lake bearing the same name, some 90 km southeast of Istanbul. It is a small town well past its days of glory as capital of the Empire Of Nicaea and the Byzantine Empire. Numerous remains from the olden days, mostly semi-protected, are an organic part of the town.

Nicaea's long and eventful history includes two of the seven Ecumenical Councils which drew hundreds of bishops from the Christian realm to the city in order to settle theological disputes*. In particular, the First Council of Nicaea settled the exact date of Easter...which is today!

I like to imagine that after an exhausting day of heated discussions some 1700 years ago, the church fathers walked out of the western gate by the lake and whilst looking out over these waters - possibly standing on the spot where I took the picture - brooded over the nature of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

* According to Wiki only the British were absent! (We were rolling our Easter eggs at the seaside-Ed.)

FWIW, some links :

A Little Darkroom Story

After weighing up the odds for a good picture I went ahead and secured the Rolleiflex TLR on my tripod very low on the ground. Although I have a couple of larger and heavier tripods my main means of support has been a Gitzo Traveller for about ten years now. It was quite expensive, but in hindsight worth every penny because when folded it fits into an ordinary backpack and doesn't get left back at home.

Film was Kodak Tmax100, exposed at EI 50 and developed in Rodinal, diluted 1+50. The exposure must have been around a quarter of a second. In frame no.7 the waves look nice and actually make the picture for me. Not so much in the next frame.

Kodak Tmax100 negative

I must have said this before, but I like to draw parallels between the darkroom and a kitchen, since we have to "cook" the negative. As you can gather from the straight print below, the cooking has been quite serious in this instance.

Straight Print

I used fibre based Ilford Multigrade IV and aimed for a gutsy print with a brooding sky right from the start with a grade 4.5 filter. First, a few test strips gave me a base exposure for the water with good, solid blacks and nice tonal separation (let's call this base exposure T). Then I proceeded to add drama to the sky.

Using a piece of cardboard about midway between the enlarger lens and baseboard, I gave another T exposure above the red line, hardly moving the card, just some tiny natural trembling of the arms and hands. I tried to retain a sense of light on the horizon without an obvious burning-in line. Moving on, the area above the blue line received an exposure of 2T by moving the cardboard slowly up and down. 

The amount of the extra exposure was just gut-feeling really and I liked the first full frame print this gave me. Only the troughs between the waves could've benefited from some lightening to enhance the sense of movement.

During the next full frame print I dodged the green areas in the diagram below (i.e. troughs between waves) for about half the main exposure with a ball of Blu-Tack stuck to the end of a wire. And finally I darkened the corners for another 20%. If you do the maths, that's T/5 seconds for the lower corners and 4T/5 seconds for the upper corners. Am I a bit nitpicky or what? :)

Printing Diagram

The 30x40cm wet print on FB Ilford MGIV with an image area of 25x25cm...fresh from the oven:

Click to enlarge

Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it!

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Omar's Darkroom Posts


  1. That's a lovely shot and your explaination on your darkroom printing of it is so infomative. Many thanks for both and a Happy Easter to you as well.


  2. Very good print. Did you burned with the same filter grade the highlights? You make want to print again.
    Happy holidays.

  3. That's a lovely print Omar - are those hills/mountains in the left-hand distance?
    It's often hard to handle subject matter like that without making the waves look wishy-washy - yours are nice and bold, and you made the right call to print it all down a bit - well done!

  4. Gorgeous print. Like the heaviness to the waves.

  5. Hernan, yes, I used the same filter setting for the whole print.

    Phil, they are indeed hills...I quite like that detail :)


  6. Thought they were - it gives a sense of scale.

  7. thank you for sharing your process. i really REALLY like the subtle glow you gave the horizon line. the way you got the effect is clever and ingenious. it's fun learning techniques such as this one from experienced craftsmen :)
    all the best,

  8. A wonderful t and photo...wonderful simple composition and due to this so strong.
    Thanks for sharing all these useful information

  9. This is one beautiful photograph! Thank you for sharing your techniques, Omar. Now I'm inspired to go print something!