Help with burning in skies above treeline?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Removed Account, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. Removed Account

    Removed Account Member

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    I have a gorgeous negative, one that I really feel is worth spending a bunch of paper on, but it is proving very difficult to print. I have flashed the paper and tried burning in the sky with a hole-in-a-card but still very little of what is in the negative shows up in the print. I am split grading the main exposure (18 seconds at grade 00 and 21 seconds at grade 5). I am going to try cutting out a cardboard mask that matches the treeline but I am wondering how to get around the problem of irregular tree shapes with fine detail as well as avoiding the creation of an obvious line from the mask? It will probably need at least twice the overall exposure so I am thinking that I will do half with the mask directly on the print and half moving it around to avoid the obvious band. Any other suggestions?

    - Justin
     
  2. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    Crop the sucker out! Okay, you thought of that :wink:

    Masking that kind of thing is bloody hard, unless you don't mind the obvious halo that is usually introduced. Do the trees need detail or is a silhouette okay? In some cases just burning about halfway down into the trees works out okay (either the gradation in darkness of the trees isn't too important or noticable, or the trees are silhouetted anyway).... anyway I usually prefer to have the masking "marks" on the tree side of things rather than in the sky as the darker band along the treeline is usually less noticable than a bright halo in the sky. Good luck.
     
  3. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I would make a masking tool with an uneven edge and keep it moving while I burn in the entire sky area of the print. It may or may not work for you.
     
  4. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    It would help if you are able to post a scan.
     
  5. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

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    If you are flashing just to the point of the paper's threshold and then burning another 100% the base exposure then there is probably nothing else you can do to effect a tonality short of a different process which can accept more contrast.
     
  6. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Justin,

    I have found that a very accurate dodging tool can be made by scanning a print, printing it out half size (I use a laser printer and tack glue the photo to a piece of construction paper), and carefully cutting out the desired area with a razor knife. A ratty little edge helps.

    Neal Wydra
     
  7. RobC

    RobC Member

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    What is the detail in the sky? Clouds? Or is it that you just want a darker sky?

    If its clouds, then burn at grade 5. But finding the time for the burn is critical as it will need to be right on the transition from the toe to straight part of curve of the paper and at grade 5 that will be a very narrow expsoure band. So once you have found the ball park exposure for the burn, make test strips at very short time increments to find the right point.

    Using a gradient from top to bottom will be practically impossible if the above is required. It sounds like your neg is over developed and you may just have to put it down to experience.

    And if you are flashing and then doing a full stop extra exposure over the same area, then the flash is pointless.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 27, 2007
  8. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    If the trees are much darker than the sky, you can burn in with a Grade 0 filter, which will have much less effect on the dark values in the trees than the lighter areas in the skies. Then to add some punch to the clouds, do a short Grade 5 burn in the sky area (staying away from the trees) to punch down some darker tones in the sky itself. This will probably involve a few test strips and test prints to fine tune.

    Now if the trees themselves have lighter toned values similar to the sky, well, maybe check out the hybrid forum.... ;^)
     
  9. MP_Wayne

    MP_Wayne Member

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    One other possible course of action is to flash only the sky portion of the paper. Try pre-, post- or even both. The benefit is that you protect your tree area from dulling down from the flashing, yet you may get what you are after in the sky.

    My two-bits - I got it to work on one of my similarly challenging negs.
     
  10. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    An old school tech is use graded paper, dark red matt acatate the same size as your final print, place the acatate in the easal, project onto the acatate and draw the outline of the trees, cut out the mat from the acatate, print your base exosure for the for ground, use a red filter over the enlarger lens to position the mat, the make a test strip for the sky and then the final exposure.
     
  11. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Sounds like what you need is a contrast mask for the non-sky parts, to add a bit of neutral density to everything else. You need to create what they call an "unsharp mask" to overlay on your negative in the carrier. There are some good resources out there on the internet as to how to do this. Howard Bond is the guru of this technique - look up his writings.
     
  12. Removed Account

    Removed Account Member

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    I'll check out the unsharp masking and try flashing just the sky. Also, I should have been more specific in that I was only burning in the sky for 18 seconds at grade 00 (it was getting to be about midnight and I wanted to shut 'er down) so I will give it the full 100% of 18 sec. at 00 and 21 at 5. Thanks a bunch guys! If I can get myself to a scanner today I'll post one.

    - Justin
     
  13. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    That sounds interesting. I've used a technique on a difficult negative that is almost the reverse. I used an overlay of clear acetate, and used Red and orange pens to colour the areas that I wanted to hold back. In fact I used several layers to both build up density and avoid hard edges. Each layer was lifted out of the way after the appropriate exposure.
     
  14. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Lootens has a discussion using New Coccine, using red and orange pens seems easier than using Coccine. I have a copy of Bigger and Better The Book of Enlarging from 1952 which has chapter on using the Emmermann Process, I tried it and it does work, with the right paper, but is too messy for my small darkroom.
     
  15. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    By the way, the pens I used were the type designed to write on overhead projection slides, they use spirit rather than water based inks.