How would you treat this printing problem?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Erik L, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. Erik L

    Erik L Subscriber

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    Hi folks, I am looking for some advice from the expert printers that frequent this great resource APUG. I am playing with this print and can get it about how I want it but I still can't get any detail in the clouds without making the sky way to dark or making obvious unnatural looking burns. Is it doable in a way that I am not familiar with (hopefully) or am I out of luck. I am split printing with 00 and 5 filters and burning sky in a lot(00). My problem is the blown clouds that I can't recover in a natural looking way. Any suggestions? Please forgive the poor scan, but I think you can understand what I am talking about.
    I am grateful for any help!
    regards
    Erik
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2008
  2. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    when you do make the sky unnaturally dark with the burning is there detail in the clouds then? Maybe that there is no detail in the neg to bring out.
     
  3. Erik L

    Erik L Subscriber

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    Yeah Bob, I can get detail in the clouds but not in a convincing manner. It's either a way too dark sky or if I try to burn just the clouds it looks really obvious. It could be my poor technique in burning but I can't make it look good to my eyes.
    thanks
    Erik
     
  4. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Not being an expert printer by any means I can only offer a suggestion.

    You might explore dodging the sky in your 00 exposure and then burning with the grade 5. Just how much I would not offer a suggestion but it is worth an exploratory test.
     
  5. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Try burning in with the 5 filter and use a very small hole in your burning card. You don't want any spill into the sky. Burn just enough to start getting detail in the clouds and no more.
     
  6. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Excuse me, I meant to say CLOUDS not sky.
     
  7. Erik L

    Erik L Subscriber

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    Thanks guys, I wouldn't have thought to use the 5 filter to burn the clouds, I'll give it a shot and see what happens:smile:
    erik
     
  8. Gay Larson

    Gay Larson Member

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    have you considered flashing the paper first?
     
  9. Erik L

    Erik L Subscriber

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    Gay, Thanks - I have not done any flashing. I guess I have to learn how now:smile:
     
  10. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    make a mask. scan the photo or use a smaller print if you have one... cut out the clouds and burn them in with it.. just enough to make a difference.
     
  11. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    otoh - maybe white clouds look good...! Who says you need detail everywhere...?
     
  12. Chris Breitenstein

    Chris Breitenstein Member

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    Flash the paper. You will need to test for time. If you can see detail in the clouds when the image is being projected through the enlarger this technique will work brilliantly. be sure you remove the neg from the enlarger first (if you are going to flash with the enlarger); you can also use the room lights. testing in order to determine how long to flash for is rather fastidious, but nailing the technique WILL yield texture in blocked highlights.

    Paper, and film, needs to receive a certain amount of exposure before it will reduce. Obviously. Flashing the paper brings it up to that point. It does lower the contrast of the photograph, and darken values. But if the flash exposure is correct, the effect on the other print values will be minuscule.

    Start by stopping down all the way. Leave your filter in the enlarger. Take your neg out. Make a test strip starting with the shortest possible increments of time, this will vary according to the timer you use, leave a portion of the test strip unexposed. Process as usual. when assessing the test strip you are looking for the first hints of exposure; use the base white portion for comparison. after locating the first visible exposure, determin its exposure time and subtract 1 exposure increment. There you have your flashing time!

    you may need to open the f/ if your first test yields nothing, or increase you exposure. keep the increments VERY SMALL, between 1/10-1/2 a second, control is the idea.

    Best of luck.

    Yours;
     
  13. Erik L

    Erik L Subscriber

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    Great help folks!
    sparky, the white clouds kind of look like the paper base which I don't really care for so I'm trying for a little tone if You know what I mean.
    Chris, thanks much for the instructions, I just did the flashing test as you described and will give it another shot tomorrow. My fixer exhausted
    and I don't feel like mixing anymore up tonight:smile:
    Many thanks
    Erik
     
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  15. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    g'day Erik

    i'd treat it ...

    as more than just a printing problem

    for me the composition doesn't work, fixing the sky will do little to fix the image

    i'd reshoot using a different perspective and using some technique (red filter?) to enhance the sky and clouds

    Ray
     
  16. Chris Breitenstein

    Chris Breitenstein Member

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    Throw the baby out with the bath water ehh.
     
  17. Erik L

    Erik L Subscriber

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    Well Ray, If I stuck to my good compositions I wouldn't have anything to print:smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2008
  18. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    well Erik, maybe that's the area you need to learn and practice

    Ray
     
  19. Erik L

    Erik L Subscriber

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    Yes Ray, I need practice with everything I know, you gotta start somewhere:smile:
     
  20. cazenll

    cazenll Subscriber

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    Erik,
    To flash the paper, make your normal exposure, then remove the negative, stop the lens all the way down and expose for enough time to give the blown out areas just a little gray.

    To determine the time for flashing:
    1. leave the film holder in with no film
    2. mark a strip of paper with one inch increments (10 inches long will give 10 segments)
    3. place paper under enlarger and covering all but one segment and expose for 1 sec.
    4. moving the cover do this for the other nine segments. The last segment should be exposed for 10 sec.
    5. develop and look for the first segment that shows some gray. This is your flash time for that paper at that enlarger distance.

    You might also want to use burning techniques so as to not flash the entire piece of paper when flashing.

    Good luck

    Louis
     
  21. Dietmar Wolf

    Dietmar Wolf Member

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    The white clouds make the picture! Dont burn them. You can burn the edges a bit more, though.
     
  22. Trevor Crone

    Trevor Crone Member

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    Erik,

    If you want MHO I would do very little to this image. The white clouds help give the image its luminosity, by toning them down you may deminish this quality in the image. If the clouds looked much larger in the frame, here they look quite small, then I could understand some tonality in them. But at the end of the day only you can decide.

    Let us know what you think when you've finalised your print.

    Regards,
    Trevor.
     
  23. Stoo Batchelor

    Stoo Batchelor Member

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    Hi

    I can only agree 100% with Trever. The print doesn't need it. When printing, I always ask myself what I would actually be seeing while in the scene with the naked eye? This photograph looks like one of them mad sunshine days, where quite rightly, and successfully, you have hidden the sun from sight of the camera lens. If you was to look at them clouds with the naked eye I would doubt very much, even with any amount of squinting, that you could actually see any detail in them clouds.

    Personally, I feel that you are ready to make a final print and shut the door of the darkroom.

    Best of luck

    Stoo
     
  24. sun of sand

    sun of sand Member

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    I think the photo would be better if those upper left weeds weren't there. Because they are there I'd crop the photo
    I'm thinking make it either a pano with upper cut off just above halved cloud formation on right edge of frame
    OR
    square format with same upper limit but cropped in from left to where you only see a chunk of that deep shadow in bottom left corner.

    The clouds are wimpy. The lower ones nearer horizon are better
    I'd flash the clouds that are left and burn with low grade filter
    I'd try diffusing em a little to see what that does
    try darkening the sky/lightening it up to see which looks best ..make it even as possible
    increase contrast of foreground
    Burn in -I call it a burn- with a high filter that central clump of growth to lighten/increase contrast/showcase it somewhat
    darken the hills in distance and lighten its highlights -increase contrast-
    Lighten up the basin area a little to separate from distant hills and foreground


    I think a square format with fairly high contrast would help


    That's what I'd probably do
     
  25. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    I think it's a pretty good shot as it is but, if you're determined to put a little definition in the clouds, you could try burning the sky in with a G.00 filter and then (with some farmers) selectively bleach back the clouds. This will affect the lighter tones first increase the local contrast. I would suggest trying the other methods suggested first though. B.
     
  26. Erik L

    Erik L Subscriber

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    Thanks everyone, I'll digest and practice a little of all you have suggested and see how it works for me
    Thanks again
    regards
    Erik