Combining split-grade printing techniques with paper flashing

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by pauldc, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. pauldc

    pauldc Member

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    Over Christmas I have finally started to understand a little about the two techniques of split-grade printing and flashing paper through trial and error in my darkroom. What I am now wondering is if people use these two different techniques together sometimes or whether they are generally viewed as alternative methods (i.e. mutally exclusive) for dealing with a particularly problematic (i.e. contrasty) negative.

    If the two techniques are used as alternatives, do people try to print the negative first with split-grade printing (trying to get highlight detail with the 0 grade filter) and then resort to flashing if this is not working. Or is it a more instinctive thing and experienced printers spot which negatives will respond best to each technique?

    Being fairly inexperienced myself, I need to learn now when and where to deploy these new techniques.

    Any thoughts and experiences would be most interesting.
     
  2. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Paul, I use the two together when I need to. Learned how to from our own Les McLean at a workshop here in Texas last year. If you pick up his book or get a chance to take one of his workshops it will make things a bit easier....and Les is the best just to be around. A very fine person. Send him a PM his is quite generous with his knowledge.
     
  3. deena

    deena Member

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    Sure, Paul -

    I just used both techniques this past week. A corner on a print would not burn in well, so I flashed it.

    I pulled the enlarger head all the way to the top of its column, closed down the lens, and flashed 6 pieces of Ilford FB WT on the corner in question for 2.5 seconds. I had run a test on the particular box of warmtone that i was using, but with my enlarger, 2.5 seconds seems to work with all my Ilford warmtone.

    Then I exposed, using OO and O5 filters. Worked very well. Flashing is good if you're running very high contrast and you need to control it.

    Tim Rudman says that it's best to have one enlarger set up in a corner just to flash paper. Since I only have one enlarger, that doesn't work.

    deena in ny
     
  4. lee

    lee Member

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  5. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Thanks Lee, I forgot to mention the flasher...and since the OP is in the UK it will not cost as much for shipping....well worth the money IMO. BTW I found that POST exposure flash worked out better for me, but you can do it either way.
     
  6. Gay Larson

    Gay Larson Member

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    I also learned the technique in Les's darkroom workshop but I use a cup covered in black duck tape except for the bottom and cover the lens to flash. I test to see how much time, usually a few seconds and it really can make a difference. ( I'm too cheap to buy the fancy smancy flasher)
     
  7. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I'd forgotten to mention that. The subject of safelight
    safety a few weeks ago led to, IIRC, Kodak's method
    of testing safelights. They went into some little
    detail of the testing method and described
    pre and post exposure procedures.

    They did point out that post-exposure exposure will, in
    less time than pre-exposure, fog paper and that is to
    be expected with most papers. Dan
     
  8. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    I have used both together and separately. Both (IMHO) are extremely useful individual techniques for getting a print just to your liking.

    I followed a tip I saw somewhere or other (Tim Rudman's darkroom book?) and hooked the output from my Stopclock Pro to a switchable 4-gang adapter. The enlarger is plugged into the 4-gang and so is the cheapest table lamp I could find (IKEA £2.50, fitted with a 12W bulb and almost completely covered in black gaffer tape!). In this way I can use my enlarger timer to control the enlarger, the flasher or both.

    Not as neat as an RH flasher (on my long-term to-buy list) but adequate, consistant (3.5 secs to DMIN for MGWT FB G) and cheap.
     
  9. Leon

    Leon Member

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    I've got the RH designs flasher and find it a godsend. I havent ever had to use both split grade and pre/post flashing/ fogging, but I wouldnt hesitate if I needed to.

    I find selective flashing works well to put tone into blocked up highlight areas that are tricky to burn with cards / shapes etc.
     
  10. michael9793

    michael9793 Member

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    Lee,
    now that you have had the flasher for a while. do you find it worth your purchase.

    Mike Andersen
     
  11. lee

    lee Member

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    absolutely. dont need it much but when you do you do.

    lee\c
     
  12. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    How brilliantly low-tech! I LOVE IT!!

    Murray
     
  13. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Some people even use a second enlarger. I happen to have a chromega B that's been replaced by the chromega D :smile: , but the B has seen some duty as the flasher. My long term plan is to rig up a very low voltage bulb, and use a timer (as in a prior post). Then the B can be retired and I can gain some counter space!

    I will admit to having the RH flasher as the ultimate, but one can make do.
     
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  15. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I routinely use split grade printing and don't have alot of need for flashing. Recently I took some 4x5 TMAX 100 negatives in Florida that were important to me. I was inattentive when developing them and somehow developed them for almost twice the desired time so they were overdeveloped and contrasty. Pre-flashing the paper and split grade printing made up for the problems and I liked the results.
     
  16. unregistered

    unregistered Inactive

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    Yes to quetion #1. I use flashing only as a last resort, since it affects other areas and contrasts of the print. To question #2, both. When I know a technique or style I am going for, I will know from looking at the neg. Sometimes I don't see it until I try a test print first. There's also been times where I don't want to fool with it much, and I'll just flash the particular area that needs help, so as not to bring over variables into the rest of the print. Hot water can also help bring in problem highlights after burning and I usually use that before flashing.

    Hope this helps.
     
  17. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    At Les' workshop in APUG Toronto he demonstrated both split grade printing and flashing. He said to use them together. Do the split grade printing first, then the flashing and the results would be best.

    He brought six RH Designs flashers to sell @ $100 US . It took at least four seconds to sell out. He will pick up six more in Philadelphia next week. He is going to send me one so that none of the Canadians have to pay duty. I had lots of fun being the “gofor” with Les and Tim Rudman. Both wonderful people and artists.

    Lee, you must get the good stuff because you hold the workshops. Les would only sell me the standard RH Designs flasher, not the “fancy scmancy flashers”. Wish I could attend your workshop. As in most things, Les is more.

    John Powers
     
  18. lee

    lee Member

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    Flashing is a misunderstood technique I think. With the RH Designs Paper Flasher II you can flash an area of the print or the whole print. A lot of people burn in those "hot" areas with a grade 0 and then flash. Generally speaking this turns the problem area to mud. I have a neg that needs to be burned in on a fellows jacket. In real life this jacket is Chrome Yellow. It really glows on the neg. The answer is to use the "hard" filter to burn in the area of the jacket that was giving me the trouble. This will enhance the shadows that are on the jacket naturally and then flash the area (no neg in the light path) to add density. This sorta goes against what we have always learned but it works much better and does not turn the area in question to mud. One of the advantages of using the Flasher II is that it is it's own light source so the negative is not disturbed in the carrier. Gay mentioned using a styrofoam cup over the lens but to do what I just described the negative will have to be removed from the light path. Not a big deal. But it is time that you save. Convenience is what you are paying for.

    lee\c
     
  19. lee

    lee Member

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    John said, "Lee, you must get the good stuff because you hold the workshops."

    Lee said, "I don't have any fancy scmancy flasher I just got the one that Les is selling everyone."

    lee\c
     
  20. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    True. This is another reason why I will "improve" my set-up with the separate lightbulb, rather than moving the easel over to another enlarger.

    Who knows, I'll probably spring for the fancy - smancy if I get good at it. :D
     
  21. hortense

    hortense Member

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    Selective Flashing

    To avoid the "muddy look", Ruby/Amber masking film is a useful way to do highly selective flashing. Just cut out areas of the mask where you wish to perform tight flashing. I've use this technique successfully several times to avoid "spill-over" from flashing even when using my so called selective flashing device.
     
  22. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    I'm bouncing around the site reading up on flashing paper (pre and post) with and without split-grade printing.

    I'm not understanding the idea of post-flashing, I'm afraid. If the purpose of flashing is not to produce tone, but to overcome inertia, how does that make sense with post-flashing?
     
  23. lee

    lee Member

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    Post flashing does put a tone down. That is the reason for it. To do so, make your print and in the areas where there is NO tone and you would like tone do it this way. Burn in the area first with a hard filter like a #5 then flash for the time it takes to produce a tone you want. By using the #5 filter you avoid making the area muddy like you would if you used the more conventional thoughts on burning in.

    lee\c
     
  24. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    Ah, I call that fogging. Is this something different than the selective fogging to add tone to a blocked up highlight area that I am familiar with?
     
  25. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    If post-flash = fogging (remedial addition of tone to a blown-out highlight), and preflash is a non-remedial method of overcoming the emulsion's inherent inertia to achieve better local contrast, then I understand what's going on. If that's the case, then I'm more interested in pre than post, though I am not dismissive of the need for bandaids in certain situations.
     
  26. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    I love this website because before comeing here...if Fred Picker didn't teach me something (ok, and St. Ansel too), I didn't know it existed. I'm learning things about staining developers, sprlit-grade, f-stop printing, pre-flashing papers, etc., etc. that are quite a revelation to me.