Good darkroom work revealed

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Bruce Robbins, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. Bruce Robbins

    Bruce Robbins Member

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    Here's an interesting post by Turkish photographer, Omar Ozenir, explaining the flashing technique of controlling highlighs in a print.

    A Coffeehouse in Cunda

    Omar was a visitor to my blog and I followed him back to his own website, so to speak. His features posts explaining different darkroom techniques with some great illustrative pics but is in his native language.

    I asked him if he could translate some posts into Englsh and I've just published the first of what I hope will become a monthly series. If you like printing under the enlarger or want to learm, it's well worth a look.

    My blog, btw, is completely non-commercial. I started it to try to do my bit to spread the word about film and darkroom work. If you like it, please tell your mates. If you don't then keep it to yourself. :smile:
     
  2. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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    That's very useful and nicely explained!

    Marc!
     
  3. Dave Martiny

    Dave Martiny Member

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    Bruce, thanks for getting Omar to render his article in English, it was excellent.

    Was that his English, or did someone else do the translation? If his English is that good, I'd like to encourage him to do a version of his website in English as well. I'd love to read the technical comments on his prints.

    This was my first visit to your own website/blog, and it is excellent as well. Your photos are inspiring, and fall in line with what I strive for in my own work.

    Thanks again and keep it up --

    Dave
     
  4. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Brilliant. I didn't quite 'get' the technique before, and now I do. What more can you say?
     
  5. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Always great to have a clear illustrated article about darkroom technique! Thanks.
     
  6. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

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  7. heterolysis

    heterolysis Member

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    Having just developed four rolls at box speed and finding they were three stops out, I'll have to try this out in order to get some detail from the horribly dense negatives!
     
  8. Bruce Robbins

    Bruce Robbins Member

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    Thanks to everyone

    I'm very pleased to say that this exercise has been a great success. The reaction we've had from everyone has been overwhelmingly positive so I'm sure we'll be repeating it again. The plan seems to be for monthly posts of Omar's darkroom work and I'll post a message here when the next one is ready to go. In the meantime, there will be plenty of others posts about film and darkroom stuff so please feel encouraged to pop by The Online Darkroom on a regular basis. And thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread.
     
  9. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council

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    Thanks for posting this resource.

    What I've found very handy, perhaps not your intention, but in the Reading Negatives page I am able to click on your Properly Exposed/Properly Developed negative and it appears by itself on the screen with enough white screen to lay my 4X5 negative of question adjacent to it and visually compare. Then confirm my suspicions with the Over/Under references.

    I like it.
     
  10. dasBlute

    dasBlute Subscriber

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    thanks so much for sharing this, b&w is loved the world over,
    and we are the benefactors...

    -Tim
     
  11. batwister

    batwister Member

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    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2012
  12. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Hot damn, this is exactly what I needed right now. I have a negative driving me crazy!
     
  13. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I agree. Most articles seem to concentrate on adding tone to blown highlights. Even Les McLean, well known to many on APUG does this in his book but in fact he also has a great article on his website which reveals just what is possible in terms of recovering detail.

    I think this aspect of flashing is much under-rated

    pentaxuser
     
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  15. batwister

    batwister Member

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    Great pointer this link. Look forward to revisiting some negs over the weekend. Also makes me look at some of Robert Adams' delicate prints in a new light.
     
  16. Bruce Robbins

    Bruce Robbins Member

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    Well, that certainly made a difference! Remember that you can cut a hole in a large card and just flash the area with the light tones in the same way you'd use it to burn in an area. That way the tones in the rest of the scene will be unchanged.
     
  17. batwister

    batwister Member

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    Thanks Bruce, this is what I attempted. It's still a difficult image, with the highlights between branches looking obviously blown - despite now having tone. The negative received N-1 dev. but I went a little overboard with exposure due to the majority of the scene being in shade. Rarely make images in that kind of situation actually, so I knew what I was getting into before pressing the shutter! N-2 would have made sense, but with flashing it's certainly printable.
     
  18. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    A well written article explaining an oft overlooked technique.

    One point that I would like to make is that there is no need to remove the negative - it just makes everything more laborious.

    The simple trick is to get a piece of of semi opaque perspex and hold it under the lens to make your flashing exposure.

    This has the following advantages:

    You can compose and focus your image as normal and do a test strip. If you then determine that you need to use pre-flashing to render the highlights, you can leave everything set up and just do a test strip for the correct pre-flashing time with the perspex under the lens. No need to remove the negative/alter enlarger position/change aperture.

    It also means that your pre-flashing time will be longer so you can do it more accurately.

    Hope this is of help and enjoy your printing.

    Best,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
     
  19. baachitraka

    baachitraka Member

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    Nice for relative new darkroomlizards like me...
     
  20. SMBooth

    SMBooth Member

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    Ok going to sound stupid but what the difference between preflashing then exposing to just exposing for a longer time? Especially considering the above post which says you can do preflashing with negative in place.
     
  21. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    In the recent post David Allen suggested using a white piece of plastic between the lens and paper. This makes it an overall exposure.
     
  22. Craig Swensson

    Craig Swensson Member

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    subscribed to thread and website saved to fav.thank you
     
  23. Bruce Robbins

    Bruce Robbins Member

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    That's a good question. All papers require a little bit of exposure before they will start to record any tones at all. This exposure just takes the paper to the point where tones start to appear. (The effects of flashing are more evident in highlights than shadows.) Where there are very bright highlights the negative is so "dense" that not enough light gets through onto the paper to push it up beyond this threshold level, leaving those areas blank in the print. Pre-flashing lifts the whole sheet (if it's all exposed to the flashing light - you can pre-flash selected areas) up to that level so that all tones record with any subsequent exposure.

    If you don't pre-flash but expose for a longer time then you end up with a print that is too dark. Imagine that you've made a print where all the tones, except for the brightest highlights, look perfect. The brightest highlights were too dense on the negative to reach the threshold level and are a blank white in the developed print. If you give these highlights enough exposure so that you get a tone on the paper, all the other tones that were perfect also get this additional exposure and become too dark.

    I suspect you were asking about giving extra exposure by just burning in the very light area rather than exposing the whole sheet? This is possible but there's always the chance that the burning in will be evident in the final print as a "halo" unless done very skillfully. You can mitigate this possibility by burning in at a low contrast grade if you're using variable contrast paper. Not all areas that require burning in are OK with the low-contrast look, however. Burning in at a normal or higher contrast grade is much more obvious and has to be done very well if there's to be no tell-tale halo. In batwister's print above, it would be quite straightforward to burn in at a soft grade. Since distant scenes are often of lower contrast because of atmospheric haze, this would look OK in batwister's print. If you saw Omar's pic, even though a low contrast look would be OK for the blank areas of the print, you can see how much more difficult it would be to burn in the windows. That would require some accurate masking. Definitely easier just to flash the paper.
     
  24. Arctic amateur

    Arctic amateur Member

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    Does the order of events matter? Would you get the same result if you first pre-flashed and then exposed as if you first exposed and then post-flashed?
     
  25. SMBooth

    SMBooth Member

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  26. Bruce Robbins

    Bruce Robbins Member

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    Order of events doesn't matter. It's probably easier, though, to pre-flash and then make the print. The other thing with pre-flashing is that if you always do it the same way then the necessary pre-flash exposure will be the same for that grade and type of paper. For instance, if you put the enlarger head at the top of the column and stick with, say, f16, with no negative in the carrier, you'll only need to work out the flashing exposure once.