Looking for a good way to do internegs for postcards

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by kwmullet, Jan 24, 2005.

  1. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    I'm sittin' here mounting, chopping and annotating my way-late run of postcards, reflecting on what took so dang long (aside from the fact that I underprinted my first run, so I had to do an additional run). One of the things is that to print the image I picked close to the way I wanted required numerous burns and dodges, which tends to get somewhat mind-numbing and inconsistent when you're trying to fill your papersafe with exposed postcards before batch processing runs.

    To avoid such lateness again, I'm want to start working on the second-next postcard exchange (June) within a week or two. If I pick an image for this next run that likewise requires numerous burns or dodges, I'd like instead to generate an internegative that incorporates all the burns and dodges I want and just contact print all my postcards.

    I've never done internegatives before, and I'm not interested at this point in digital interneg processes, so to my mind this leaves two alternatives: printing the image to my satisfaction once, copying it photographically and contact printing that neg; or enlarging the print onto film, burning and dodging that, then (I guess) contact print that (positive?) to another sheet of film and use THAT for my contact prints.

    If I do the copy stand thing of a print, I won't be able to go any larger than 4x5, shooting with my crown graphic. Also, I suspect that if I project the neg directly onto film, I could end up with a better result than photographing a print. I'm not positive about that, though. The print on a copy stand would be made using split filtration, but since film (all film?) is likely to have a way bigger dynamic range than any paper, perhaps an internegative made by projecting onto film wouldn't need what split filtration on paper provides.

    Finally, if projecting onto film and either processing it into a direct positive(negative) or doing a subsequent film-to-film contact exposure to produce the neg is the preferred route, I'd love to use something I could process with Ansco 130, so I don't have to buy Yet Another Developer.

    As an aside, I'm looking at these postcards and thinking they'd make a dandy deliverable as either product or present in the future, but to do so, I'd have to have spot on consistency from card to card, which I'm beginning to think could be done with a divided developer & use of a contact printing interneg.

    Ideas anyone?

    -KwM-
     
  2. phfitz

    phfitz Member

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    Hi there,

    Why not a contrast mask positive sandwich. What format neg?

    Just a thought
     
  3. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    Most negs I have are 35mm. I'm still trying to nail down a problem with one or both of my grafmatics that's keeping me from really digging in and generating more 4x5s.

    Care to outline what a contrast mask positive sandwich is? If there's a previous thread, just let me know and I'll search later and post a pointer to this thread.

    -KwM-
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi there -

    how about take one of your just made post cards, and make a contact print with IT onto another piece of photo paper. you can get the paper wet to make a good contact emulsion to emulsion ..
    you will now have a "negative print" find out your exposure ( might be the same as it was to get the negative ) and have fun making postives.

    i've done this method when i was given a print and other people wanted copies of it, and i didn't have a negative, the person who made the actual print gave me her blessing to make copies since she was a few states away and i didn't really have any other options ( didn't want to make a copy negative).

    --- paper negative/ internegatives work well :smile:

    good luck

    -john
     
  5. phfitz

    phfitz Member

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    Hi,

    A 'contrast mask positive' is a contact print of the original neg. developed very lightly, 30sec., 1 min., 2 min. depending on how much masking you need. It's usually used with Cibachrome printing but works well with any printing.

    Any B&W film can be used and any shutter you can fit to your enlarger. Light meter a gray card and bracket both exposure and developement. Larger formats are easier to do, for 35mm I use a Weiss 'Super Duper' rack, it peg-registers the socket holes making it easy to register the film. Then just print the 'sandwhich' like a regular neg.

    Back to back will make it an un-sharp mask which is easier to use. Emulsion to back will also work for printing. Emulsion to emulsion works to make positive slides but it's a bear for printing.

    Hope it's a help.
     
  6. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    I'm thinking a contrast mask positive is something that has a given effect uniformly througout the image, rather than being an expressive process I can add or subtract in various spots. Also, I'm looking to do this on the cheap, investing at the most in one or two kinds of sheet film, so getting a shutter in my enlarger and a pin registration setup, while each being things that might be useful in the long future, shoot this out of my ballpark for now.

    WRT the idea of making an expressive reversed print and contact-printing it (wet contact-printing?) onto the paper used for the final postcards, I'd been under the impression that paper-to-paper contact prints aren't likely to give as good results as a film interneg. Am I mistaken?

    -KwM-
     
  7. Robert Brummitt

    Robert Brummitt Member

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    I've done internegs commercially for over 25 years. I still not sure what you're wanting to do. You have to balance the shadows and highlights with the neg film. So, You still have to dodge and burn when printing.
    If you want to skip this then do a copy neg. That's what Eugene Smith did. At lease thats what my instructors have told me. Like you he hated darkroom work.
    Anyways, he would make a master print and photograhed it. I'm sure that he made sure that the copy neg contained all the information he needed. So you too will have to do some home work to produce the results you desire.
    You'll need to find a film that very flat and controllable.
    Kodak made a film that I used but now that film maybe long pass. Ektapan Film 4162. It was a pan film that I used HC 110 for many uses. Copy, I-neg, contrast negs, and regular processing.
    If you want to contact print then look for a 8x10.
     
  8. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    I want to take the results of a single expressive enlargement with various dodges and burns and put it on something with which I can do a straight contact print.

    If, for instance, the way to do what I want is to project my neg onto a very slow film, burn and dodge as necessary, then process it and use a resulting negative for contact prints, I obviously won't have to burn and dodge for every single print -- just in the production of the internegative.

    Yes, but if I'm using an interneg that's been exposed like paper under an enlarger and dodged and burned, I presumably won't have to dodge and burn for every contact print made from that interneg. Doing straight enlargements for every single postcard, regardless of how much care I take, will result in subtle differences between cards if I have numerous burns and dodges on each card.

    Actually, I didn't mean to give the impression I hate darkroom work. I find it one of the most pleasurable things in life. If photography is my religion, then I'm not sure which is more the church: shooting or working in the darkroom, especially printing. If I didn't love working in the darkroom, I'd just plant myself in front of Photoshop and be done with it.

    I totally agree that research is called for, the first step of which is to sound out APUG for their own personal best practices.


    8x10 postcards -- now THERE'S an idea.
     
  9. Canuck

    Canuck Member

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    I may get hate mail for this :smile:D) but what about making digital negs for contact printing?
     
  10. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    Not from me... :smile:
    Also -- there's plenty of folks here who've rolled the hybrid analog/digital processes into their workflow. There's actually a topic here for such discussions. Unless you've requested otherwise, though, it's exempt from new post notification.

    For me, there's a couple of reasons. First, I find the experience of darkroom work MUCH more pleasurable than sitting at a computer [this from someone with 15+ years in IT, yet.] The most I want to do on a computer right now WRT photography is commune with other photogs on APUG & the like. Does that qualify as metaphotography? The second reason is that I get a sense that Mark Nelson's Precision Digital Negative system might be the best method around right now for doing DCNs. The fact that he's patented the process and charges various licensing fees has me in a permanent state of worry that anyone doing any kind of digital contact negs is a potential legal target or at the very least could be tied up in court for years trying to prove that either their license fees are up to date or documenting the way their own DCNs were produced is completely pure of influence from or exposure to the Precision Digital Negative process. Carried to a hopefully rediculous extreme, if commercially-produced film goes away one day in the far future, I can see the Mark's patents resulting in a compulsory tax on all images that cross the digital/analog divide.

    Anyway.. I've obviously got a bug in my bu.. uh... bonnet WRT the concept of this kind of patent. It's got me paranoid enough to avoid any kind of DCN process, even if I was inclined to get out of the darkroom and in front of Photoshop long enough to do it.

    I've been meaning for a few months to try and engage Mark into a discussion of these issues on APUG, but haven't gotten around to it yet, and I'm not really intending to sidetrack what I hope will be an otherwise productive thread with this rant -- but I had to stick a blurb in here to qualify my paranoia about doing any DCNs.

    -KwM-

     
  11. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Not to change the subject but what kind of problems are you having with the grafmatics? Most I've seen are due to bent septums.
     
  12. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    I get what looks like two substantial light leaks from the long side of the image. The leak doesn't appear to extend to the film edge, and I don't think I've ever seen the problem when shooting polaroids, which I'm thinking would rule out errant bellows or flare issues, leaving the grafmatic(s). It doesn't happen on every exposure, though, and it's not uniform fogging, leading me to believe it's probably not happening when I cycle it. I did have *some* uniform fogging, but I tightened all the screws and that took care of that issue.

    When I get around to it, I'll photograph or scan one of the negs in question by way of illustration and see if the pattern looks familiar to anyone.

    -KwM-
     
  13. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'd just make a copy neg from a master print, if you want to make lots of postcards quickly. Ansel Adams also did this for his lower cost editions, so they could be printed by his assistants without any manipulations. I'll probably do it myself, eventually, if I want to make a postcard from something I've shot on a format larger than 4x5".
     
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  15. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Although the masking process would be an interesting exercise, it would seem to me that making a copy neg of a "perfect" print on the appropriate sized film for contact printing would be the most straight-forward, production-oriented method.

    As a distinctive alternative, have you considered gravure?
     
  16. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    You need to double check the fit of the grafmatic in your camera, I've read that some models do not fit a standard 4x5 right and will not seat. Having never seen one of those I can't really tell you what to look for. I'm hard put to figure anything else that will do this. Good luck!
     
  17. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Shoot a transparency

    Shoot a color slide choosing a subject withiut excessive contrast and print it on negative film 4x5 should make a nice postcard.
     
  18. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    Gravure, also B&S BPFB-18 film


    Didn't even know what it was until I checked around. Gravure looks interesting. Have you done either copper plate gravure or polymer gravure? I don't think I've ever seen a gravure print. How do the highlight/shadow details and tone continuity compare to silver gelatin?

    While looking for gravure information, I came across a note on the main page of the Bostick & Sullivan site that they've got a new film specifically for making contact printing internegatives: BPFB-18 . Their process description at http://www.bostick-sullivan.com/main/bergger.htm looks like just what I was looking for.

    The recommend contact printing a negative onto a second piece of the same type of in-camera film, so in my case, I'd contact print my HP5+ 35mm onto another piece of HP5+ film to get an interpositive. Then, once I process the interpositive, I'd load that up in the enlarger, project it onto the BPFB-18, do whatever burning and dodging I wanted to do at that point, and develop the BPFB-18 and use that as the contact print negative for my postcards.

    A couple of things come to mind, though. Forgive the densitometric naivete, but on my original negative, the dMax is determined by the maximum density possible with my film/developer combination (HP5/Pyrocat) and the dMin is determined by base + fog, and all the tones of my original scene are compressed or expanded between the two proportional to my ability to expose and develop, right?

    Now, if I contact print an HP5 neg onto a second piece of HP5, it seems that though my dMax couldn't possibly increase, that the density of my dMin has to at least double because not only will I be contending with the B+F of my original neg, but the B+F of my interpositive as well, so even if I "underexpose" my interpositive to slide the dMin down, I'll lose density of my dMax, and if I develop longer to increase contrast, then the information in the midtones will suffer, right?

    Also, won't grain and posterization increase with each successive generation of copy, so from Negative to interpositive will degrade the image, and from interpositive to internegative will degrate it again?

    Wouldn't it be better to use as fine grain, low B+F film as possible for the interpositive?

    Hope I didn't embarass myself too much with blatant ignorance there.

    -KwM-

    [later ammendment: I just found
    this thread
    on BPFB-18 film, which mentions using lith film for the interpositive, and to make the interpositive quite low contrast. More food for thought and comment.
    ]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 24, 2005
  19. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    Sounds like a good thing to check. Maybe I could float a couple of strips of felt between the grafmatic and the back on my Crown Graphic and see if that has any effect. I get mixed up on which mechanism is called what, but I tend to use the two sliding clamps on the grafmatic, not the spring back.

    -KwM-
     
  20. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Perhaps the direct negative method has been
    mentioned. A detailed account can be read at
    www.unblinkingeye.com. Dan
     
  21. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    That would be the Graflock. I think some Grafmatics are made specifically for that and most are made to go under the spring back. See this link on the Graflex.org site: http://www.graflex.org/speed-graphic/accessories.html#Grafmatic
     
  22. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    No, I haven't tried it myself. I believe there was a thread here (or, maybe on the LF forum) about gravure a couple of weeks ago. The discussion centered around making a fair number of essentially identical prints, as I recall. The thread included several references to what appeared to be strong resources explaining the process and procedures. My impression, however, was that it's a fairly involved process, and almost an art form in itself.

    Quality-wise, well-done gravure prints I've seen nearly rival silver prints. Some very-pricey photo books have been done using gravure. I seem to recall a couple of books from Aperture that used the gravure process, with the prints mounted to the regular pages in the book.

    For the postcard exchange, I still think doing a master print of moderate size, and then a large format copy neg that could be contact printed is the most practical approach.
     
  23. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    Since the print size is so small, I'm inclined to agree that for the next postcard exchange I participate in, I'll make a print around 8-inches or so on the short dimension and copy it with the Crown Graphic. The main downside is that it limits the size and cropping of the card.

    Regardless of whether I use it for the postcard exchange or not, the internegative thing sounds like a great way to approach a larger main print exchange. The

    Gravure sounds just plain cool. I'm going to have to check with local galleries and see if I can find any examples to look at. BPFB-18 sounds like the material to use for the internegative. Since I'm likely to be shooting 35mm for a while, I'll probably look around and find a good lith sheet film with which to make a projection printed interpositive.

    If you do run across that thread you were talking about, plz post a link. Sounds like it might be a bit better than what I've found so far.

    -KwM-
     
  24. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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  25. lee

    lee Member

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    Kevin,

    Have you been checked for OCD. These are postcards for Pete's sake. Relax and just make a print and mail it to the other person. If they are not EXACTLY what you would sell in a fine print, no one will know or be rude enough to point it out.

    lee\c
     
  26. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Not quite in those terms, but that is about what I was thinking...

    I'm on my way to the darkroom now to get the postcards done at last. I have a negative that is very difficult to print, so I made a 30x40cm print, and photographed that with my Bronica. That gives me a nice 6x4.5 negative that is easy to print!

    Returning to the reproduction thingy for a while (just because it's interesting), I just read about using negatives as printing plates! Negatives developed with some staining developers have enough surface relief for this - think I'll give it a try some day...