Red River Paper Pro Monday – Arthur Bleich

Red River Pro

The Photographer
Arthur Bleich is a Miami photographer, writer, editor and educator whose work has appeared in publications and exhibits throughout the world. He has done assignments for Time, Life, Architectural Forum, Sports Illustrated and others and is one of only a few photographers ever to document an Antarctic exploration operation for which he won a major national award. He is an acknowledged expert on digital photography and writes about it for professional publications.

The Client
U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington D.C.

© Arthur Bleich

The Assignment
Document the eight-month voyage of the USGCG Icebreaker Eastwind and her crew during an Antarctic expedition and subsequent circumnavigation of the world.

The Execution
“I shot more than 12,000 images on that assignment since, as an officer with no other duties, I had a virtually unlimited budget, access to everything and enough time to do it right. This image was taken from one of the ship’s helicopters to give a feeling of isolation and serenity. Although I shot mostly with 35mm, this picture was shot with a 4×5 Crown Graphic camera at 1/400 sec with an aperture, I’d guess, of around f/11, on Tri-X sheet film– a moderate underexposure in order to silhouette the ship. “The Eastwind had originally been going in the opposite direction and I thought it would look better with the smoke blowing across the bow. I radioed the bridge and asked the watch officer to turn it around but he refused without an order from the Captain who, at the time, was napping in his cabin. Taking a deep breath, I told him to wake up the ‘Old Man’ which he reluctantly did and the Captain told him to comply with anything I needed done. There’s no describing the feeling of power I had as I moved that ship around like a toy boat in a bathtub.”

Post Production
I had a small darkroom on the ship in which I developed film and made contact sheets. These were flown back to a lab at infrequent intervals where prints were made. It so happens that this particular negative got badly scratched and for years I deemed it a total loss. But technology eventually came to the rescue; I scanned it and resurrected it in Photoshop.

The Output
Two Red River papers work beautifully for this image. When prints are displayed under glass, acid-free Polar Matte holds all the detail in the image and perfectly reproduces its wide tonal scale. For prints mounted without glass, Arctic Polar Satin makes this image positively glow, without excessive reflections that other papers frequently produce. Its cool tone perfectly matches the mood of the image; in fact, it enhances it.

Arthur Bleich’s web site is at: Information about the DSLR Workshop Cruises he conducts with other pros is at : He can be emailed at: [email protected]

Author: Red River Paper

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