Construction Paper Dodging?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by ToddB, Jul 10, 2014.

  1. ToddB

    ToddB Subscriber

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    Hey guys.

    This past weekend I shot a really nice image here in Northern New Mexico. However the ominous sky is just a little off with foreground. I want more drama on the sky. I was thinking of using black or red contruction paper as a mask dodge technique. Has anyone tried to cut out a rought out mask as a dodge tool? The worry I'll have a line show up between background and forground.. I guess I could vibrate for the time difference.

    Todd
     
  2. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Put several books on the projection on the easel so the picture is now on the top book then place your paper on the projection and draw the outline you need. The line will be a little fuzzy but that doesn't matter. Cut the paper. Remove the books and dodge at that height. This give a soft outline on the sharp projected image on the easel and the bit of movement does the rest to avoid the halo effect

    pentaxuser
     
  3. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    A paper mask that follows a complex foreground can result in a halo effect that appears artificial. I usually burn in a sky with the straight edge of a mask extending across the entire image. If the sky near the horizon isn't burned in too much, foreground details extending into the sky aren't darkened too much.
     
  4. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    The advice above to make the shape smaller than the projected image (a little smaller or a lot smaller depending on the situation) is good.

    It is a common printing problem and will take some skill and practice to get just right when doing this by hand. Of course the difficulty depends on how much burning you need to do in the sky and foreground, and the subject matter.

    Also consider some amount of "graduated" burning when doing skies (ie progressively darker toward the top). This is naturally how most skies are, since saturation is usually lower at the horizon. Depending on the picture, this can also help make things less obvious.

    When making burning/dodging cards and tools it can often be helpful to use cardboard that is black on one side and a light colour on the other side. The black side faces down, and with a white or light colour facing up it can be easier to see what you're doing during the exposure.
     
  5. horacekenneth

    horacekenneth Member

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    I was doing something very similar last night. If you take a piece of cardboard or such that is big enough to block light to your print, when the exposure is complete for the foreground, woosh the cardboard in so it covers it and, starting from the horizon, gradually cover up the whole sky and then pull it back down to the horizon so the top gets more exposure than the bottom of the sky. If your horizon isn't level you might need to get a little more creative with shapes.
    I was also printing the foreground with a different contrast filter than the sky, that might help you too.
     
  6. ToddB

    ToddB Subscriber

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    Thanks for the advice. Like I said.. It's not off by much. Just want more drama in the sky.

    Todd
     
  7. Henry Alive

    Henry Alive Subscriber

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    I would suggest working with Contrast Variable Paper. Then, you can born the sky with the higher filter (Ilford No. 5). It will take some time, but the white things (the clouds, for example) will maintain in white color. I apologize my English level…
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Make a smaller print (e.g. 4x5 if your target print is 8x10).

    Cut it along the skyline.

    That becomes your burning mask.

    Make sure that you keep it moving.
     
  9. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Why worry about the inevitable? Try it, and see for yourself why you may never want to do it again, and may choose to pursue other remedies. JJ has it right. This kind of issue becomes almost inevitably addressable by masking techniques. But, if the relative sky and land form exposures aren't too far apart and there are no unavoidable insertions into the sky, this problem becomes the the domain of practice and skill under the larger, using ordinary burn technique. As I said in a recent post, natural light photography ain't for sissies.

    You can ameliorate the situation by using moderate filtration with panchromatic films, no stronger than deep yellow or green, to bring sky values in closer proximity tonally to landforms. That will, in most cases, give you a head start in achieving visualized sky values, as well as highlight separation in clouds, if present. But one also must appreciate the limited exposure range of the film to record the actual range of light :smile:D). This is where the rubber meets the road with directed exposure techniques such as the Zone System. By placing exposures thoughtfully one can fit the film's ability to record light to extant natural light, resulting in easier work under the enlarger.
     
  10. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    It is not necessarily inevitable, even without masking, particularly since OP is after a fairly subtle effect. And since you brought up the Zone System, it might be worth pointing out Adams did plenty of this sort of burning, even after making thoughtful exposures. This common printing problem frequently has more to do with local contrast, or simply a desired effect, rather than exposure. You can't always Zone your way out of things. That's why we need to work on printing.
     
  11. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Jesus, you made so much more out of my advice than was intended. None of what you say is accurate to the tenor of my post, which is to offer other possible pre-exposure solutions to the OP, one of which is thoughtful exposure, rather than parroting what has already been said. Like I said natural light photography isn't for wimps. I use the ZS and I do plenty of burning (and dodging). Ameliorate, look it up. Nothing like the mere mention of the ZS to bring the haters out.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2014
  12. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    I don't hate you or the Zone System. Advice is fine, but you start out by telling the guy it's essentially a lost cause and lansdcape photography isn't for wimps? Without seeing the picture or the negative how do we know Zone System controls, filtration etc. would have helped? Maybe the guy did everything perfectly and he just wants a slightly darker sky. Yeesh.