Long burn in - technique to avoid halos/burns

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by hoffy, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Howdy,

    I was trying my best today to make the most out of a seaside photo taken at dusk, which required quite a long burn compared to the rest of the picture. The base print exposure was 26 secs. The sky required an additional 26 secs to give it just a touch of density.

    For me, this is quite a big jump in difference between the base and the burn. The first one had really serious halo's, which I suspect was from not moving the mask enough (I had also burnt in the sky for 40 secs, which was a tad too much). The second one was substantially better, but there was a touch of darkening along one edge.

    Can anyone give me a run through on the best technique to avoid such issues?

    Cheers

    (PS. I'll scan them in and post once they are dry)
     
  2. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    If you make your own burning cards, make sure they are nice and thick and have shaped holes that you like to use for that area of the print.

    I like my cards with a white surface on top so I can see the projected negative and use that to aim the burning opening to that area precisely.

    To get a over all even burn you have to work the burn in a pattern and use the same speed when going over that pattern. Right to left, then back left to right, then up and down, down then up. Until you have cross hatched the area you need to burn. Obviously smaller burns don't require this much diligence, but going over a larger swath of space like sky does.

    You can also try split grade printing to bring out details you have been trying to bring out with burning. It may help with decreasing the amount you need to burn in.
     
  3. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    I think I have just had a light globe moment. I think I have been doing this wrong!

    OK, the mask that I made, followed the contours of the land and sea based items, blocking them out, which then left me trying to burn in the sky in one motion. This is too much to get right in one shot!
     
  4. John Austin

    John Austin Member

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    Also, regarding NoS's comment - I prefer to cut my cards from old Agfa orange coloured packets as I have a dread of highlight degradation due to light reflected from a big card up to the ceiling and back - I plan to paint my darkroom dry bench area orange, but I have been planning that since 1994
     
  5. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    Flashing the paper can be a good option for prints such as the one you describe. A bit complicated for me to explain here, but search the site & you will find some good tutorials.
     
  6. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Yea white probably isnt the best choice, but its easy to get a hold of matboard. There is also black, but thats a tricky one. The ones with black on one side and white on the other are nice too.

    Flat yellow like they have on some easels, and speed easels would work nicely as well. But honestly when burning with a stopped down lens to try and get maximum working time, the amount of reflected light is so low.
     
  7. John Austin

    John Austin Member

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    You are probably right and I might have paranoia about highlight fog - I use Agfa orange and while it is easy to do the tests I will continue to use the old Agfa packets - Which I back with black paper on the underside, the orange is on the top to make the image visible on the board - After that I crook my neck to see where it is doing the deed on the paper
     
  8. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Does plan old grey card board suffice? OK, thats what I use and there is enough for me to see the image
     
  9. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    That should work fine. I often use a a sheet of paper I've fully exposed and developed so that no extra light is transmited though the burning mask. These are generated from accidents like forgetting to stop the lens down, or exposing with the head in white mode...

    I've never noticed a problem with other reflections, though I've never tried to test for this rigorously, maybe ignorance is bliss.

    If you're using a largish sheet for the mask, then it's shadow is protecting the paper from most stray light.
     
  10. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    Are you doing your burn with OO grade filter?
     
  11. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    +1 for flashing. It can help a lot in situations such as you describe.
     
  12. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Yes, flashing is by far the easiest and most efficient method for printing this type of negative.
    There are two major approaches.
    1. Pre-flash the paper with a very dim light and no negative. It can be done under the enlarger, or with a 5 watt bulb some distance from the paper. The purpose is to put enough light on the paper so that it is just below the threshold. In other words, if developed at this point the paper would remain white, but if exposed to any additional light a slight grey will appear. A simple step test is all that is required. Make note of the light source strength and distance from the paper. Expose in 2 second increments up to about 30 seconds. It is important to remember exactly the maximum exposure. after processing and drying, find the portion which is just darker the white. Count backward from the maximum exposure to determine the exposure of this section. With a fresh piece of paper give it the computed exposure then expose it to the negative for your pre-determined exposure time. you highlights should just begin to have texture.

    2. Flashing with the negative still in the enlarger requires some good diffusion material like the old Kodak Diffusion material, or several layers of vellum. The use of this method does take longer to explain than I wish to take here, but it is my preferred method.
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    A trick I like to use is to do a print on a smaller size of paper (5x7 for an 8x10 or 11x14 enlargement), trim that smaller print along the demarcation line and then use that trimmed print ar your burning tool.

    It helps to stiffen the trimmed print with a piece of cardboard.
     
  14. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Cheers for all the advice. The only time I tried to flash a sheet resulted in a very muddy print. Obviously I had over exposed the paper during the flash. I had contemplated it for this print, but I was being a tad lazy, as I didn't want to take the neg out of the enlarger. I will give it a try again next session with some properly flashed paper.

    Cheers
     
  15. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Perhaps look at your original exposure and development.
     
  16. ROL

    ROL Member

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    1) I find when making natural light fine art prints, skies almost always need to be burned in to suggest the color appropriate to the natural situation as determined by your visualization of the scene. Twice or thrice base exposure is normal.

    2) Keep the burn card constantly moving and far enough from the paper to create a wide penumbra.

    3) Some situations involving man-made structures with straight lines forming boundaries (buildings jutting skyward) with areas to be burned, narrow projections like singular trees, and the like may be impossible to burn to desired tones without masking. However, cutting outlines of failed prints to burn (projection masking?) with has never worked better for me than technique 1.

    4) Dodging and burning is part of the "art" of print making, and can (should) take time to master.

    5) see Making a Fine Art Print. Note there is a slight "burn line" at the mountain/sky interface. It is nearly unnoticeable on the actual 8x10 print required for computer scannning, but emphasized by scanned digital representation. It is a natural occurrence of the sky that it is lighter at the landscape bound horizon. Still, the larger actual fine art prints of this scene show no obvious burn line, because they are printed on larger paper sizes, allowing more room for burning and more diffusion of the burn car's penumbra.

    6) Try shooting with some blue–absorbing filtration, perhaps to as far as a deep yellow, in order to get a head start on the skies before the printing stage. Orange and red filters tend to wipe out natural scene tonalities in favor of overly dramatic, unnatural, and sophomoric (IMO) representations.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2012
  17. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    OK, as I said on page 1, I'd scan in once they had dried. Image 1 is the mask that I used. I also had a square piece of card held underneath for the long burn in, which was removed when I did part 2 (main exposure of the land/Obelisk and a small burn of the sea. Image 2 is obviously the bad burn in. I held the mask up to high in the picture and didn't move it.

    Image 3 is not as bad, but I can see a slight halo around the left side of the Obelisk and darkening on the right.

    Without any burning in, based on the base exposure of 26 secs, there was zero detail in the sky (I never actually did a base print, only test strips of the sky....I'm a tight wad, OK)

    Cheers

    DodgeMaskObelisk.jpg BadBurnObeliskDusk.jpg BetterBurnObeliskDusk.jpg
     
  18. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Image 3 is not as bad, but I can see a slight halo around the left side of the Obelisk and darkening on the right.


    Well you could have fooled me. This looks damn near perfect. Projection into the sky is a devil's own job to deal with.

    pentaxuser
     
  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Good job - I would try adding a very little overall diffusion to the obelisk and the cliff
     
  20. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Since you have the mask, might as well add some menacing clouds to really up the atmosphere! Half the work is done for the photomontage just find a nice image of dark clouds from your collection. :smile:
     
  21. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Hah! Sorry, I'm a "if its not there in the first place...." kind of guy :wink: