Burning basics

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Krzys, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. Krzys

    Krzys Member

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    I would like to become proficient at burning in the darkroom however the basics of the technique are foreign to me. Could anyone here give some information or links to tutorials and any general tips.

    My main goal would be to turn this original (scanned) negative

    [​IMG]

    Into a print like this (burned in photoshop)

    [​IMG]

    So I would be burnig the background to Zone I or 0. Is this too far fetched? My main concern with burning like this is avoiding a halo around the subject and I have no idea how I could do this. For the initial tests I will be using Multigrade IV RC. I might try it later with FB paper if successful..

    (I just realized that this is the wrong section. Could a Mod please move the thread. Thankyou.)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2009
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I've moved the thread to the Enlarging section, though dodging and burning are possible with contact printing.

    Very precise dodging and burning are done with contrast masks that are made and printed in registration with the original negative. Lacking that, if you wanted to burn down the background in a scene like this, you could trace out a dodging mask smaller than the print size on a sheet of cardboard under the enlarger, cut it out, and use it to dodge the horse--I've done that for landscapes with jagged horizon lines. Yet another approach is to etch out the background on the neg, scraping off the emusion with an X-acto knife, and it will show up black on the print.
     
  3. mike c

    mike c Subscriber

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    There are a lot of books out there that deal with that,one is the photographers Master Printing Course ,By Tim Rudman.
     
  4. bill spears

    bill spears Member

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    For someone beginning to learn the basics of dodging and burning I would say this is a bit too advanced. By all means have a go (using cheap paper) because thats the only way to gain the necessary skills, but learn to walk first.

    Personally though, I'm not keen on manipulating prints to this extent (unless deliberately trying to achieve a special effect). The first shot is a natural picture of a horse in a natural environment - the second looks like a horse shot with studio flash against a black background - and also looks to be digitally sharpened.
    I'd be more inclined to pehaps go back with the camera and do more work with the horse outside.

    Don't wish to be sound too discouraging as I applaud anyone wanting to improve their darkroom skills. Good luck !

    Bill
     
  5. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I agree with Bill. That sort of precision is relatively easy in Photoshop. No so much in the analog real world.
    To get started, make a hole about 12 or 15 mm in diameter in a piece of paper or card stock (the more opaque it is the better - fully exposed and developed paper works well). Expose the print as you would normally. Then, holding the card midway between the lens and easel, make additional exposures with the hole positioned in the areas you want darker. Keep the masking card moving at all times, use several stops worth of additional exposures. You are "painting" with light, more or less.

    You won't get to the featureless black you've illustrated, but you'll do a lot of learning.
     
  6. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    You could consider making a negative from your scan and PS manipulation and then contact print. I have done that very successfully with platinum/palladium. There are plug-ins for PS that make the process easy although some tweeking may be necessary for contrast. Check out Dan Burkholder.
     
  7. Krzys

    Krzys Member

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    I realize that it is too advanced, I just wanted to set somewhat of a goal. I've always been annoyed by the background in that photo. The day I chose to shoot everything on f/4 :sad:. Thank you mike c and bdial. I will start with the basics obviously. Sorry, I'm really trying to escape digital, jeffreyg.
     
  8. calceman

    calceman Member

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    Burning and dodging are too advanced? Not really... Shading light to rich the paper is so simple and basic, you will get the trick real quick. If you dont try, you will always stop because someone told you not to do it. So best to try David's advice and see: do the mask, expose for the horse. Then replace the mask with a "negative" mask, remove the negative from the enlarger and darken the paper.
     
  9. Marc Leest

    Marc Leest Member

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    One excercise you could learn is thinking and printing in fstops. This makes dodging and burning easier, due to the simplified workflow. The mentioned book of Tim rudman advocates the technique (and the now out of print Way Beyond Monochrome)
     
  10. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    I am thinking what you want to do with this photo is actually simple minded but tedious since you want a completely black background. Make a copy negative and then paint/ink in the horse with black. The tedious part is inking in the hairs on tha edges of the horse, but once that is done and the two films are in register you can then expose the background to max black.
    I think so any way.
     
  11. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Another way to make the mask David suggested is to print out from the scan a smaller version of the image from the PShop file. Then you have an accurate image to cut out. The size is trial and error, but at least you don't have to be able to sketch. For opacity, you can mount the output print to black construction paper or black plastic (like the paper comes in) before cutting out. You can feather the edge below the horse's neck with cuts similar to the hair itself. Plan to spend a while trying things, it's the process of experience.
    Good luck!
     
  12. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I think you should try traditional burning. You're going to have to get proficient at it sometime, right?

    Use some cheap paper to practice. Do a test strip of the triangular area under the neck, to get your black time. Subtract that from the exposure for the horse. Let's say your horse exposure is 30 seconds, and your exposure for the background is 90 seconds. Your burn exposure will be 60 seconds. I would do 3 burns- the area under the neck, the triangle in the lower left corner, and the triangle in the upper left area. Hit them each with 60 second exposures, while dodging the horse. After they've received their exposures, do an overall 30 second exposure.
     
  13. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I like the original much better.

    Steve
     
  14. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Ok this is a tough one as you are trying to turn areas to black without affecting the horses body. Careful placement of a registered mask would work as a second exposure but if you want to do it without registration work here is a good starting point.

    Start out by making a full size rc print and dry it ..
    Mount or tape it to a very thin black card ,, so black is down and horse is up.
    Cut the horse out of the image and use it basically as a burning in card, by moving the card up and down very close to the easal you can burn the edges to black and hopefully if you are careful enough not affect the horse itself.

    you may have to dodge the edges of the horse during the initial exposure and play around with your blending technique until you get it right but after a bit of practice this should be a piece of cake.



     
  15. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't see how you will burn in the background below the jaw.
     
  16. domaz

    domaz Member

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    Sorry- but another vote for the digital negative. It may seem like a silly approach using an inkjet to make a negative but the results can actually be very good.
     
  17. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Or the next time you want a black background, move the f----g horse!

    Steve
     
  18. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    No way. If you have the model available again, great. But sometime you just gotta work with what you have, and this is what the OP has. I've been working on a few pictures of dead relatives for years. What am I going to do? Dig them up and make them sit for me again. Some of them were dead before I was born.

    Is this going to be easy? No.

    Is he going to learn a whole boatload? Yes.

    Can *I* do it? No?

    Should he buy a box of the cheapest paper he can find to learn the technique? Probably.

    Can *HE* do it? That depends on how much he wants it. I would start with Bob's suggestion, and then if he wants more than he can get with just a cutout tool start reading everything in the world about registration masks. I can't help him with that, but there's a lot of folks here who would be happy to help him with it.

    Krzys, go for it. Master printers are the guys willing to fill up the whole trashcan to get it right. Not guys with a magic wand who don't make mistakes and always do it right the first time.

    Who was it around here a few days ago that said "I can't not do this." I see no shame in that.

    Michael
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2009
  19. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I know I can do this under the enlarger, actually had to do a whole show of grade 5 prints using cut outs.. Was the hardest show I ever printed and wasted a lot of paper , but I charged for it and learned a lot.
    the trick will be if one can make the transition from black wall to horse detail without a lot of obvious burn .


    ***secret decoder tip***
    a small pinpoint flasher do hickey above the burning card will go a long way in this situation , possibly a second set of hands in the darkroom, could turn into fun if you know what I mean**manray**
    I had a lot of fun experimenting like this in the past and worth the effort.
     
  20. Krzys

    Krzys Member

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    Let me sort out the situation. The horse was in an enclosure at a medieval festival. This was the absolute best possible shot I could get with a 50mm. The photo isn't very important to me. I just thought it would be a neat goal to drive right into burning and see some very vivid results. I will try what you said eddie. Thanks everyone else.
     
  21. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Print as normal with #2 filter, then 15% more thru the #5. This will effect the blacks and very dark tones only.

    15% may need some adjustment.
     
  22. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    And please let us know how you make out with this. It's always good to see someone try something new.
     
  23. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    As someone already said (and you realized), too difficult for a start. I would do this one by preparing a dodging mask and print the negative with the mask as a sandwich, but I don't recommend to try masks to get started.

    As far as recommendations for text, I can suggest two of my chapters:

    http://www.darkroomagic.com/Publications/WBM/fstopTiming.pdf
    http://www.darkroomagic.com/Publications/WBM/BasicPrinting.pdf

    or one of the best books for practical B&W doging and burning of all times:

    Larry Bartlett & Jon Tarrant, Black and White, Fountain Press, 1996
    Larry Bartlett was a professional printer. The book explains how he produced involving, expressive prints from other people’s negatives. The preliminary chapters look at the basics of darkroom design and equipment and moves on to explain how each of the featured prints was coaxed from the negative.