dodging / burning

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by lewis, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. lewis

    lewis Member

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    Does anybody know of any books or guides that deal in detail with dodging & burning. Most of the books I 've looked at seem to give the subject 2-4 pages and leave it at that...I seem to plough through sheet after sheet of paper and, though I make progress, I'm never really satisfied with results.
    Last night I was trying to burn in some areas of window in order to remove distracting reflections - I'd get one bit right, then another bit would look wrong, and so on...I suppose I'd really need to spend some time in a darkroom with someone who knew what they were doing, failing that soem in-depth literature would be a start.......Any idea ?
    Negs are 35mm b/w, using Ilford Multigrade 500 enlarger, variable contrast rc paper....
     
  2. PeterDendrinos

    PeterDendrinos Member

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    I’ve never seen any more than you have indicated. Obviously practice makes perfect. One tip is to make sure your exposure times are long enough to give you time to make the burn or dodge.

    I’m sure you’ll get tons of tips here.

    Do some research on Masking. You may find it helpful.

    Pete
     
  3. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    and read up on print flashing...
     
  4. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    try larry bartlett's book " Black and WHite photographic printing workshop".

    ALso, burning and dodging is all about pratice,pratice, and more pratice.
     
  5. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    and post exposure fogging.
    Have you checked out Les McLean's book "Creative Black & White Photography"?
     
  6. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    Always record your times for areas burned and dodged so the results can be repeated. Also, to save paper you might try working with half or quarter sheets placed just in the areas that needed work until you get a good time for that area, then do the next area. Once you have the time for each area right, you can combine those steps into a full sheet work print and see how it looks. Sometimes this helps and sometimes it does not give a representative result because you can't compare tonal values in the whole print. If this gives you trouble, try making a straight print and place each test paper on the straight print to get an idea of the values in relation to the whole.

    Another thing I have found to cause problems is short exposure times. I find that it is easier to work with somewhat longer times when I have to do a lot of burning or dodging. It seems to help to have a 5 or 10 second burn rather than a 1 second burn and with longer total exposure times you can get more manageable adjustment times.

    Hope that helps!

    - Randy
     
  7. lewis

    lewis Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions - looks like more practice is in order. One of the problems I had was that I was trying to burn in areas that had 3 well defined sharp edges and 1 blurred soft edge - so I didn't know whether to hold the shape I was using still or not ( if that makes sense).
    Then I'd get one area darker - and the composition / balance of the pic looked odd, so I'd try and do another. So, it's what to do and how to do it that I need to work on.
     
  8. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    you always move the dodging tool, regardless of a sharp edge vs a blurred one.


    Trying moving up and down, i.e towards the lens and away, rather than side ways.

    The shape you are using , what is it attached too? ALso, it should have blurred edges as well, not well defined.
     
  9. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Just to confuse the issue a bit more...

    Are you using a piece of cardboard with a hole, or holes cut in it for burning small areas of the print? Is the bottom, or the side of the cardboard facing the paper flat black? If it isn't, while you're burning an area to perfection the light can bounce off of the paper to the bottom of the card, then bounce back to the paper to lower the print values around the area you're burning. The area around the enlarger can bounce light back on the paper during a long sky burn as well if it's of a light colour. ARGGGGG!

    Some people tear or cut their paper into pieces in the size and shape of areas they're working on. Then you can fit the pieces together like a puzzle and quickly compare the effect different dodging and burning sequences has on the image.

    Good luck, and have fun :smile:

    Murray
     
  10. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Although time-consuming, doing an overlay with tracing paper on which you mark the areas needing adjustment and label them with the adjustment factor, may help. Then, looking at the overlay and the + or - times will often suggest a plan of how to approach the sequence.

    Another element to remember is that the vertical placement of the dodging/burning tool in relation to the print affects the character of the edges - farther away from the print produces a softer edge, closer makes the edges more distinct.
     
  11. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    You will be inundated with tips and suggestions. So far, the best one is to make sure that your exposures are long enough to allow for dodging and burning. It is impossible to dodge and burn a print whose total exposure time is 10 - 15 seconds. If you decrease your aperture to the point where your exposures are in the 40 to 60 second range, burning an dodging becomes easier, albeit more time consuming.

    I have used wires, hands, fingers, cardboard with round holes, square holes, multiple pieces of cardboard as dodging tools. The only one I haven't used was a smashed flat spoon.

    Successful dodging and burning is attained by practice, so if you are aware you are burning up some paper, you are on the right track. Correct evaluation of your technique can only be ascertained when the prints are dry. You must record your printing formula for each try for study and comparision after the prints are dry. Make sure you burn your paper wisely.
     
  12. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Though some people don't, I think burning and dodging are best done with cards. Once upon a time, using your hands seemed to be the technique de jour, but I never found it nearly as accurate and repeatable as cards. Don't be discouraged...it really does take a while to get good at it.
     
  13. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    We should all print this out, frame it, hang it on the ouside of the darkroom door, and read it before entering :smile:

    Murray