burn and dodge

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by marciofs, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    These are two of the 5 prints I made on ART 300.

    7497346_orig.jpg

    and

    4626807_orig.jpg

    Based on your experience, is it worth trying to reduce the highlights of the first one. It seems that if I try it will not be easy to make it looks nicer and I will end up trhoughing many paper out.

    The second one seems to be easier but I wonder if doing so, the hight lights behind the tree leaves will not match on the highlights of the open sky, which may look odd.

    What would you do?
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I'd flash the paper to reduce the contrast. Helps keep the highlights from being burnt out.

    Ian
     
  3. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    Like 1/10 sec flash???
     
  4. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    You have to test the paper to see just how much pre flash needs to be done.

    Doubtful 1/1o will do much.

    Have you ever preflashed before?
     
  5. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    marciofs, to do a proper flash as Ian suggests, you need to do a test strip first to determine the flash time. What you are usually trying to do with a flashing exposure is give the maximum amount of exposure without creating any density/tone (ie the developed and fixed paper should still be white) before the main image exposure.

    Another thing you might want to do first is make some very low contrast test prints so that you can see what detail the negative contains in those highlights, particularly in the grasses in the first image.

    Regarding your second question, these are challenges often encountered in printing, and there is nothing wrong with having to do some work. It can take pracitice and time to make good prints from difficult negatives. You need to use burning, dodging and other controls carefully so that they are hidden in the final print.

    You can also learn something from these images about negative exposure/development control, which can help to make future negatives a little easier.
     
  6. noacronym

    noacronym Member

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    What I see is basically unsalvageable. Presuming the sky was blue, a filter SHOULD have been used. I wouldn't flash the paper--that would only look like a fogged print. Making a masking negative would do the trick better than any burn/dodge. That might get your sky back, unless it's so far over the curve shoulder there's nothing there.
     
  7. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Don't give up so quickly if you like the image. See what information is in the negative first, then figure out how to get it onto the print. Start with contrast adjustments, burning and dodging, and flashing. Then proceed to more complex procedures such as masking if required.
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Quite the opposite, flashing is ideal for images like this. Flashing paper doesn't look remotely like a fogged print either, you need to see the technique in use.

    Ian
     
  9. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    I have never pre flash but I can practice doing small prints on a cheap paper to see how it can helps.

    On the sky there is no information. But if I can make it looks light gray instead of white it would be nicer.

    I actually used a yellow filter to take this photograph, to give some contrast the greens and brown tones of the leaves and trees.

    To be honest, I actually don't know how I could save the sky texture in a such contrasty scene.
     
  10. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    These lighting conditions are not very difficult to manage. You just need to adjust exposure/development, and practice printing. Most current films can easily accomodate this kind of contrast. Also keep in mind, even if you don't need to get tone in the sky, flashing could still help details which extend into the sky - for example the branches coming down into the frame on the top right side of the second image.
     
  11. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Flashing the paper is not difficult and as mentioned making a sheet as a test strip of the paper you intend to use would be necessary. It should be completely processed, washed and dry and kept as a reference. If there is no detail in the negative flashing will not produce any. I don't know what equipment or what your metering technique is but if available a spot meter is helpful. Also there is a filter type viewer (sort of a brownish color) that will eliminate colors so you can see the relative values of the scene and decide whither or not you want a filter. If it was a bald sky the only way to add them would be to build a library of cloud negatives and print them in ala Jerry Ueslmann. If the grass was dry and somewhat yellow that would cause it to be "lighter" in the print. Learning to split print with contrast filters or a variable contrast light source can help in many difficult situations.

    A frequent APUG contributor Ralph Lambert has written an excellent reference book "Beyond Monochrome" that would be worthwhile getting.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
    .
     
  12. noacronym

    noacronym Member

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    What do any of you guys think would have been the result if pyro had been used? Much change?
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Helps quite a bit as highlights don't block up in the same way.

    Ian
     
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  15. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    For those scenes, the neg may well have been under-exposed, or been allowed to gain too much contrast in development. Flashing will make it easier for you to get a tone in the area of the sky, but if the sky is plain on the negs then of course there won't be any detail to see in the sky areas. It could well also help in detail of the smaller branches against the sky and with any minor flare effects there.

    A suggestion for a test strip for the flashing - cover a part of the long side of the strip, then you will have a reference of paper-white to compare to each exposure step.
     
  16. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    marciofs, have a look at www.lesmcleanphotography.com. This is the website of the excellent photographer and darkroom worker, Les McLean. Under articles he has a page on flashing and fogging which has an example of what flashing can do. His example is very similar to your print.

    He also has a book called Creative Black and White Photography which I would recommend you buy. Copies are available from Amazon or Allibris Books. The book is very good value and contains a lot of useful information on taking photographs, processing the film and making prints.

    Yes it is in English but I think you will be able to read and understand it.

    pentaxuser
     
  17. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    Thank you all for the links and book indication. And for all the suggestion.

    I actually use to agitate to get contrasty results. But now I see it is better think on contrast when printing.
    But thes scene was challenging.

    I always think about Jerry Ueslmann works, to have a library of clouds and add it to the sky when needed. It's is super cool. But It seems to really difficult work to do.
    I may try one day rsrs. :smile:
     
  18. noacronym

    noacronym Member

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    Better to do an honest print. That's what photography IS. A library of clouds is cheating. Where do you draw the line? How about photoshopping in some clouds? How about not using a camera at all and just make up everything in Illustrator and photoshop? Seems like that's where everything is headed. Your print is a good one--it is honest, despite its flaws.
     
  19. Aron

    Aron Subscriber

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    Sooner or later you will see, dodging and burning (and flashing) are more or less inevitable, wonderful tools and not difficult to use them in most cases either.

    However, for these images I'd first try a soft-working developer, followed by a normal- or hard-working one. Since you live in Germany I'd advise you to make use of the excellent Tetenal developers: 2 minutes in working strength Centrabrom followed by 15-30 sec in Eukobrom or Dokumol. You could substitute these developers for any soft and normal/hard combinations; you could even mix the two developers into one, but this way you'll lose much of the available control. In the first, soft working developer a beautifully tonal, soft image will appear with calm highlights and significant shadow detail (if the negative contains it), then, in the harder working developer the shadows will gain punch: they will be anchored down to higher levels of density.

    Super-easy and it should be great fun if you've never tried it.
     
  20. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    +1
     
  21. noacronym

    noacronym Member

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    I found a more direct link to the above mentioned link: If anybody here has more to say or add on this process, I'd like to read about it. I always discounted this idea. Maybe I need to know more. Here's that link:
    http://www.lesmcleanphotography.com/articles.php?page=full&article=27
     
  22. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Little if any change because of Pyro per se. Compensating developers (including but not limited to most Pyro/Catechol staining developers) can compress highlight contrast depending on the film. But remember just because a straight print has blank highlights doesn't mean they are "blocked". Blocked highlights are highlights that have weak or no local contrast in the negative.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2013
  23. noacronym

    noacronym Member

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    I agree on the lack of local contrast in this man's highlight area. He said he used a yellow filter for other reasons than just sky. But so often a "blue sky" isn't really blue in the sense that it can be moved down the scale by any filter. So, once again, the owner of the photo really has no complaint. It's as good a print as can be hoped for. As far as the detail missing in the tree's outer leaves, any breeze at all would have made those leaves mostly invisible for the moment the shutter was open. I don't think there's anything he CAN do. It is what it is.
     
  24. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear marciofs,

    When I have a difficult image, I start out with relatively inexpensive RC paper. Being honest, I probably print on RC first the vast majority of the time. It will be a lot less expensive to experiment with the above good suggestions. Of course the final details of the exposure will not be the same, but you will fell much better about the pile of prints needed to get to your final image.

    Neal Wydra
     
  25. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    A burn of the top half of the print with oo filter may darken the whites without affecting the blacks.
     
  26. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    I guess we'll just have to disagree :smile:. I wouldn't give up that easily on a contrasty negative if I felt the image was worth it and the negative held additional information. I think the prints posted by OP can definitely be improved.