First bit of Dodging and Burning, comments and advice needed

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Shaggysk8, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. Shaggysk8

    Shaggysk8 Member

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    Hello,

    So I got an image not an interesting one but one thought would be good to practice some darkroom magic on, one image is the original and the other is what I did.

    Please guide me in my work and what else can be done.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Subscriber

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    The burning in the sky looks good, but I would up the contrast of the print to separate some of the midtones in the foreground.
     
  3. Shaggysk8

    Shaggysk8 Member

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    I did a little from 2 to 2.5 i tried 3.5 but that looked awlful, i lost lots of the sky, i wondered if more local dodging is required, just not sure how much to do?
     
  4. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    The bottom definitely needs a bit more contrast. If the sky is good, change the overall contrast and do the sky burn at a lower contrast......or just burn the sky more depending on the look you want. I'd also try dodging the buildings slightly to get them to pop a little....although that may not be necessary once you nail the contrast. Getting the contrast right is 80% of all good printing if you ask me.
     
  5. Shaggysk8

    Shaggysk8 Member

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    Ok cool i will try that, can i do the sky at one and then everything else at another?
     
  6. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Sorry to step back a bit, but I think you should first think about what you would like to see, how you picture this image in your mind. Maybe you want it somewhat soft. Personally, I like the foreground in your second print. Focusing too much on making things crisp and punchy all the time can be misleading. Many people print lanscapes with generally what I now consider to be too much contrast. I think most of us start out that way, and we sometimes confuse soft tonality with flatness. But when I eventually discovered George Tice's prints, I was blown away by his lower contrast style (versus the more "west coast" styles of Ansel Adams, Brett Weston, and their disciples). It totally changed how I printed. Before that, I had always second-guessed myself, first coming up with a print I liked, but then often boosting the contrast a little more to what I thought was more "correct".
     
  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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  8. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    What is the focal point of the picture? What are you emphasizing with the dodging and burning? Is it the houses? The stone wall? The trees? Once you figure that out, you have the first important piece to planning your printing.

    The print is very flat and definitely in dire need of contrast, especially in everything below the tree line. You also have some problems with film developing on the right side of the frame, so some cropping might be in order to cut out those uneven densities. The sky needs some Grade 4 or 5 burning. The tree line and above could use a small amount of Grade 1 or 2 normal exposure, and then a Grade 5 on top of that. The scene really needs some black!
    You might wish to dodge the houses and the stone wall a bit during the low contrast exposure, and the grass in the foreground doesn't do much for the picture, so if that part was burned in more, your eye would be led into the picture better.
    The right hand side of the print, and the upper left could also be burned in.

    Good luck, keep trying. But ask yourself before you do anything else what elements of the picture would you like to bring focus to! Then plan and experiment.

    - Thomas
     
  9. Shaggysk8

    Shaggysk8 Member

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    Interesting thomas thank you, i will get to work i have no idea what i wanted really i just took it for something to work on, but i would like the main focus on the houses i think
     
  10. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    You may find it useful, therefore, to start with a print of just that section of the negative. Adjust your contrast and exposure so that part comes out the way you want it to. Once you have got that in hand, print the entire image using those settings. Most likely, some parts will come out with the wrong exposure and some parts will come out with the wrong contrast.

    Evaluate each part and adjust the exposure and contrast for each part (you may need to do prints of just those parts).

    What you end up building is a picture of how much exposure and how much contrast each part of the scene needs. When you have determined that, put it into the form of a diagram. Then you need to figure out how to put all that different exposure and contrast manipulation onto the same print, using dodging, burning and variable contrast manipulation. It is usually easiest to do that by printing in "layers" - e.g. a basic brief low contrast exposure of the whole, plus low contrast burns of certain sections and higher contrast burns of other sections. For some negatives, it may be easier to get where you are going by dodging parts rather than burning other parts.
     
  11. CBG

    CBG Member

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    First off, good job; that's a good print to start out with.

    As you bump up the contrast, if that is where you want to go, and it looks like it would benefit by more zip, you'll find the print, if you just print for the foreground, loses the sky more and more. Without burning in the sky will come out almost all white. That's no problem, since you will be burning the sky. Do test strips for both the sky and the foreground so you don't waste a lot of time "sneaking up" on the right exposures for each.

    It can be worthwhile to deliberately make prints that are too dark and too light. I find that I discover possibilities that I would not have suspected in "bad" prints. It does use up paper, but I believe that wasting a lot of paper to get a good print is more efficient that wasting everything by getting only a substandard print. And those test prints can be used for toning and for experimentation so they can have a second life.
     
  12. Vincent Brady

    Vincent Brady Subscriber

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    I think the advice you have received is correct, the only thing that I would add is to work on 8 x 10 RC paper. You get results faster while at the same time learning all the techniques of good printing which can be applied to any paper.
    _________
    Vincent
     
  13. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    Why not try a bit of split-grade 'lite'? Try printing the foreground harder (i.e. use a harder filter) to get the separation in tone. Let the sky print as it will for the time being. When you're happy with the foreground contrast, burn the sky in with a G00 filter.
     
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  15. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Burning the sky in with a G0 or G00 filter will sometimes (often) give a dull looking sky, so it's best to give it some hard filter exposure in addition to the soft. You get much better definition that way - if you want it, of course!

    To each their own, just showing the flip side of the coin.

    - Thomas
     
  16. Shaggysk8

    Shaggysk8 Member

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    Ok I had another go!

    Now please remember I have not made any proper masks yet although I will at the weekend.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. CBG

    CBG Member

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    Great start. It's looking a lot stronger! Now is the time to examine every area of the print to see if any sections want yo be a bit lighter or darker. Have you ever tried / or any interest in / edge burning?
     
  18. Shaggysk8

    Shaggysk8 Member

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    Edge burning, well i want to learn as much as i can, so please do tell.
     
  19. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Certainly the version in post 15 looks better to me. There is more contrast in the scene below the skyline with the sky looking much the same as the burned in version in your first post which I thought was about right anyway.

    However for my sake and maybe the critiquers would like to know as well. What actual changes did you make in getting from version 2 in the first post to version 3 in post 15?

    I know I can learn a lot from having the before and after changes specified and I may not be alone.

    Incidentally which village was this? It looks a bit like the Hardingstone area but I may be wrong.

    Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  20. Shaggysk8

    Shaggysk8 Member

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    Ok well, the first one was grade 2, 33 secs and 30 secs of burning on the sky. The second one is grade 2.5 45 secs on the sky then 33 secs all over then 25 secs on the lower grass and 25 secs on the tree to the right.
    Now the 3rd one is grade 2.5 for 60 secs on the sky and top part of trees then grade 3.5 for 33 secs all over then burning in the trees and grass for another 45 secs.

    And yes it is lower Hardingstone, i didn't think anyone would know!
     
  21. tim k

    tim k Member

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    Good post.
     
  22. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    The latest version is definitely an improvement. Since you are asking for "advice". I would try dodging the rock wall in the foreground a little. Along with that I would increase the contrast of the buildings on the left and the rock wall. The image is pretty much divided in half with the upper half (sky) pulling my eye toward it. I think these changes will add more balance to the image. Worth a try?
     
  23. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Thanks for that. Hardingstone isn't that far from me and there a nice short circular walk there which I enjoy and I thought that I recognised it.

    Back to what you did. In summary it sounds as if you dodged everything below the top part of the trees while you gave the sky 60 sec at G2.5. Then you gave the whole print 33secs at G3.5 so the sky had a total of 93 secs of which 60 was G2.5 and 33 was G3.5. I may have got this wrong as the sky in version 3 looks much as it did in version 2. I had assumed that the sky was given only G2.5 in version 3 and not an additional exposure of 33 secs at G3.5

    Finally you shaded the sky and burned in the trees and grass at G3.5 for an additional 45 secs

    So the sky had two different exposures at two different grades of G2.5 and G3.5. The houses section had one exposure of 33 secs at one grade G3.5 and the grass and trees were additionally burned in for 45 secs at G3.5, giving them about 1,5 times the exposure for the house.


    The next point is somewhat irrelevant to your print dodging and burning as it has worked well for you but I was surprised at two things.

    1. The total exposure time required unless this was a very big print.

    2. The relatively subtle effect of what seem to quite long burns


    Just as a matter of interest what aperture did you use and what was the print size?

    My Durst M605 with only a 75W bulb would turn my prints almost black at these exposures even at 8x10:D

    Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  24. Shaggysk8

    Shaggysk8 Member

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    Yes that is all correct, I am not sure what bulb I have in my enlarger I have never looked, I use f11 I like long exposures I am never in a rush and it gives me time to sit, although this is my first bit of the dodge and burn and they are only 8x10 prints so not to big, when i also do some of the added exposure i move about a lot just in a nice slow motion rather than a consistant burn so that might be the reason for not a massive difference.
     
  25. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Much better! The picture is more three dimensional now, and feels more natural to look at.

    Continue to think about what you do critically, experiment, try new things, go crazy and push the limits and go beyond to see what happens.

    With the long exposure times you have, you may be entering the realm of reciprocity failure of your paper, which is why you don't see much difference. Try opening up to f/8. Your print will still be sharp.

    You are well on your way.

    - Thomas

     
  26. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    You may already be doing this, but in case you didn't know, a test print trimmed along the top of the trees makes an excellent dodging tool when you are trying to burn in sky.