Dull Prints

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by asegreti, Jan 7, 2005.

  1. asegreti

    asegreti Member

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    I recently photographed Marblehead, MA along the coast. Overall the exposures look pretty good, however, I am having trouble getting the prints to have more presence. The look a little dull and lifeless (colorwise). If anyone has any suggestions on how to correct this and get better looking prints, please share. Thanks.
     
  2. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    There's not a lot one can do in an analog manner with color film after the fact. Although some manipulation is possible during (custom) printing, it's not like printing B&W.

    Note that I'm avoiding the mention of unmentionable techniques that might be applied by persons of dubious character. :wink:
     
  3. asegreti

    asegreti Member

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    oops...i guess since i said colorwise one would assume i was printing in color. sorry about that. i am printing in b&w...so the blacks, whites, gray tones....
     
  4. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    What paper grade are you using?
     
  5. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Ah, OK. Then, your choices include (but aren't limited to):

    1. printing at a higher contrast,

    2. doing more dodging and burning,

    3. split-grade printing, combined with dodging and burning, to increase local contrast as desired,

    4. selective bleaching of the (almost) finished prints.
     
  6. asegreti

    asegreti Member

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    hmmm...i am a student and somewhat new to this...
    anyway, i am using Ilford Multigrade Fiber paper
     
  7. asegreti

    asegreti Member

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    Thanks for your help...this is better than class....I don't think I am getting the most I can get out of my class. Teacher is unhelpful at times.

    I have been printing them with a 3.5 Ilford filter for the enlarger to make them more contrasty...and dodging and burning..I will keep working on it.
     
  8. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    The real question is why are my negatives giving me "flat" prints. The answer lies in the negative. Is there a good gradation from clear to black on your negative, or is there a just a bunch of greys. Look to the negative when the prints don't look good.
     
  9. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Ah, Marblehead ... part of MY stomping grounds.

    I really could use more information ... What film was used, what atmospheric conditions, where was the film/ print processed...

    Different papers have somewhat different characteristics ... contrast, etc.

    Did you print these yourself - or ...? One common error made by commercial labs (everything from supermarket "one-hour" to some supposedly high quality) is stretching chemistry beyond its reasonable life ... that will most assuredly result in a dull print.

    So, anyhow .. more information, please.
     
  10. asegreti

    asegreti Member

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    the negatives look pretty good to me......i will go through them again today. thanks for the tip....yet another thing going to school hasnt taught me.
     
  11. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    Glossy or Matt?
    Some prints look terrible on a Matt finish and are suited to glossy. Sometimes it's the simple things that get ya. :surprised:
     
  12. asegreti

    asegreti Member

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    Film : Tri X 400
    Conditions: bright, sunny day...12/29/04

    i had about 10 rolls of film from a trip through MA, so i took them to to a pro-lab to be processed since i didnt have time before finals...i am doing the prints though...the darkroom chemistry should be brand new, since they were disposed of before break...first day back though i noticed they were unusually warm.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2005
  13. asegreti

    asegreti Member

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    glossy
     
  14. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Oh... Black and White. Ilford MG Fiber has a pretty good reputation... I'm wondering about the print developer. What flavor ... fresh/ replenished or ??
     
  15. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    How was your paper stored? Have you checked it for fogging? Try reprinting a neg that worked previous, just as a test.
    It also may be obvious, but I have to ask. How long was it in the developer for? I 've seen fellow students (myself included once) develop for a minute thinking they are still using RC instead of FB paper.
     
  16. asegreti

    asegreti Member

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    the print developer should be fresh...also...good idea to test a print that was previously okay...thanks...i also noticed that the safe light was a little bright after break...im not sure the darkroom workers really know what they are doing.
     
  17. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Take one sheet of paper, put it straight in the fix without developing. Compare that to the border of your print. If the border is darker, the paper is fogged. If not, it's probably OK.

    If fogged, you can either get fresh paper or add a whallop of KBr to the developer. The latter is not recommended in communal darkrooms...


    If it ins't fogged, you have a problem. Either the film is underdeveloped - in which case going up a couple of contrast grades will help - or the scene is dull as ditchwater. That happens to me too... :wink:

    In general I like negatives that are so contrasty that I have to struggle to keep them within printable range on paper.

    BTW, are you developing the print enough? The easiest way to make a dull, flat print is to pull it from the developer when it looks ready. Trust me, it isn't! Find a standard time, 90 seconds is a good one, and stick to that. Never pull a print early!
     
  18. asegreti

    asegreti Member

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    yeah, some of the scenes may be a little dull...i have been looking though the negatives to maybe find new ones. however, i am going for somewhat of a dull feeling to them...depicting the town in winter...when its empty, instead of the summer when the harbor is full of boats and there are lots of people.

    if the film is underdeveloped...how high of a contrast grade would you rec. without the whites being too whites and blacks being to black?

    and i dont pull prints before 90 seconds...so i dont think that is it....
     
  19. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I usually struggle to hold my negs inside G2, but I don't recommend my way of working. In general any neg that needs more than G3.5 is a mistake - but that doesn't mean I won't crank it all the way up if I think it might help!

    I've made prints at 300 magenta and high.contrast developer. At that point any tiny variation is the difference between black and white - and the next print is going to be black (or white). But sometimes that's what it takes...
     
  20. asegreti

    asegreti Member

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    well i guess i'll see what i can do. i will have to post them online when i am finished to let you guys see how they turned out and see what you think.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2005
  21. mark

    mark Member

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    Got a sample print to scan and post? It sure is hard without a visual.

    Maybe you should chalk these rolls up to a lesson learned and always make time to soup your own. That way you are in total control. Were these for class or something?
     
  22. asegreti

    asegreti Member

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    yes these are for class....i am going to reprint them tomorrow...so i will see what i get...ill post the finished versions online