Fiber - Flatenning paper

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by David Ruby, Nov 24, 2004.

  1. David Ruby

    David Ruby Member

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    I'm a newbie with fiber and have been using Ilford MGIV regular and warmtone. I was told that the curl to my 8x10 sheets is "roll memory" from the rolls at the factory.

    It's not such a big deal with 8x10 prints, as the easel holds them down, but I've noticed that with test strips (made from cutting a half sheet of 8x10 into four strips) it's more of a trick. So far, I've been simply bending the strip by hand as I lay it on the easel in the area I want for the test. They never seem to lay totally flat, but close. Does this sound like what the rest of you are doing? If not, what tricks do you have? Thanks.
     
  2. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    David
    try cutting your 8x10 paper in strips lengthwise in threes, you then can place the paper under the easel and pick an area of the image that is most important to you and do your test strips.
    good luck
     
  3. jarred_mccaffrey

    jarred_mccaffrey Member

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    I never really worried about this with test strips. The illumination on the slightly raised ends should be almost imperceptably modified by any change in distance. I'm not worried about grain focus in a test strip--I just want exposure/contrast info. Heck, I'm not even cutting sheets for test strips--a quick fold and tear is all. Am I missing something?
     
  4. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Afternoon, David,

    A couple of small pieces of tape come in handy to hold the test strip in place, especially if you're making a series of exposures and need to put something opaque over parts of the strip as you proceed.

    Konical
     
  5. baronfoxx

    baronfoxx Member

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    fibre

    David,
    i use a magnetic easel and hold the edges of test strips down with small magnets, works very well
     
  6. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    same here, kind of. I have a metal easel and use magnets to hold the strip in place. When making a print, I use the magnets over the easel blades to "make sure" the paper is flat.
     
  7. David Ruby

    David Ruby Member

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    Thanks.

    Great idea Andre. I never thought of that, and magnets are cool! I'll have to pick som up and give it a try! Thanks.
     
  8. rakuhito

    rakuhito Member

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    i have always found that the information gathered from using a full sheet for test strips was as valuable as the cost of the paper. plus using the full sheet you get to see right away what your picture looks like. you can see immediatlely not only if your exposure is right or wrong or close or far, but also where you might need to dodge or burn. i think it's a lot more organic that way. and really, if you have a fairly intuitive grasp of how the range of possabilities of the equipment, materials and chemicals you are using work out, then a few full size test strips is really not that big a deal. whereas the information you get from them is, as they say, priceless.

    what's a few sheets of paper? especially when compared to the final product? always remember, saving money is not your goal. the miraculous is what you are after.
     
  9. rakuhito

    rakuhito Member

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    another comment... i worry that i sounded too high minded and authoritative or something like that in my previous post above.

    once long time ago i too made test strips using little bits of paper. i would spend a long time testing here and there and then back to there again and again, over and over.

    one day my teacher/mentor said that was crazy. to just use a whole sheet. first time, do some brackets across the sheet. second time make the best guess of the overall exposure. then third time zero in the correct exposure and guess adjustments/percentages for any required burning and dodging - and go for it. then adjust until you are satisfied.

    at first i was really freaked out by that. wouldn't i waste so much paper?

    maybe. but the thing was, instead of just dealing with little pieces, parts, portions -- i was right from the beginning printing the whole picture. i was no longer trying to figure out where to start, but rather i was always already in the middle of it. not only was it more exciting, but it also went a lot faster, and i had less to remember and figure out.

    it's a big mind changer. a paradigm change. i've since learned never to be afraid of wasting paper - that's what i was trying to say. its the final image that matters, the rest is just some stuff.
     
  10. ldh

    ldh Member

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    full sheet testing

    I concur with the entire sheet approach for testing...I will even take things a step further in some cases...usually on my 2nd print...by selenium toning and drying the print in my mounting press...that way I get a good idea of how things will really look...I'm usually getting zeroed in on print number three, depending on the amount of easle work the print needs. Working with the actual size from the very beginin is very instructive (for me), and they nver go to waste as I use the close ones for experimenting with toning,bleaching etc.
     
  11. David Ruby

    David Ruby Member

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    Thanks for the ideas Rakuhito and ldh, I think I'll give that a try. I've been fairly frustrated myself with attempting to visualize the entire image based on that small slice. Once I get myself a good supply of paper (after the holidays) I'll try it.

    To expand on this a little, what I'm hearing you say is a complete departure from my current method of test strips. When I started, I did use the method where you expose the whole sheet for say 5 seconds, then start covering up small slices of it as you give the sheet 5 more seconds and so on. I then read a book that advocated using individual strips instead, partially due to the fact that paper is more sensative to multiple exposures of light. For some reason, I agreed with that and that is how I've been doing it. Thinking back, I didn't really have that much trouble making the slight reduction in base exposure time knowing that the time I was seeing in the strip was probalby a bit darker than it would be with a single exposure of that given time. Then again, reading books by Ansel and even Les, it sounds like most prints are given so many different bursts of exposure that the slight differences in multiple exposure times are probably better to use anyway! Does that make any sense? Anyway, thanks for the input and the encouragement to try something different. David
     
  12. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I don't like test strips. I proof full frame, two up on 5x7 paper. With my 6x4.5
    I've two prints each sheet 3x4 inches. Seeing the entire frame printed is
    a BIG plus.

    I suggest a standard proofing paper against which papers to be used for
    real print makeing are calibrated. Dan