Other Printing Methods??

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Bighead, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. Bighead

    Bighead Member

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    This is probably a mistake to ask such a broad question but here goes:

    I use a (the) printing method in which I test strip a highlight area (0 filter) and test strip the shadow areas (5 filter) with VC paper... Once I pick which times, I print both "0" time and "5" time... I learned this from my instructor (and friend) who I respect and I really have received good results from this method.

    Is this a standard method? Does anyone think there is any drawbacks from this method? Can I gain anything from printing with other methods?

    Got any links to discussions about other methods?

    I ask only because after cruising this sight for a month now, I have come to the conclusion that I should never get comfortable with what I am doing...

    If it matters, I use Ilford VC FB normal tone... I use beseler Condenser enlargers (23cIII's at school, CII at home)... I can't imagine buying graded paper but I am open for advise..
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    What you're doing is called spilt filtering. Do a search and I bet a few discussions pop up.

    Downsides? It doesn't work with graded paper-). Some people think it's slower but personally I find it quicker.
     
  3. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    I've used the split filtering meathod for a little while now, (thanks to a certain APUGger's book). Not all pictures require this method. Some prints can do with a single filter, say a 2 1/2 or a 3.

    But, "if it works..."
     
  4. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council

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    I believe the book rogueish refers to is Les McLeans "Creative Black and White Photography" which is a wonderful addition to anyones library.

    I have found the procedure works best for me when once I've established the "0" filter to determine the "5" time ON TOP OF the "0", not separately from it. This saves me time and materials. When evaluating the second test strip you are looking at what will become a work print, having used just two test strips.

    Your first work print may tell you your original assumptions were all wrong. But time and experience will get you through that.
     
  5. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Also known as split grade printing...

    As suggested, one slightly different method is to make the grade 5 test strip exposures on top of the grade 0 exposure that you already decided on from the highlight test strip.

    Bob.
     
  6. Bighead

    Bighead Member

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    Okay, for the people in the back with the cheap seats.... All things being equal: I lay two test strips down, do my multiple exposures on the '0' filter.... Remove one, then do the same multiple exposures using '5' filter, on the remaining test strip...

    Why is that? The added '0' time on an actual print will change the '5' time, which is not represented on a normal (normal, as in the standard process) '5' test strip??

    interesting, I have been doing that already, sorta... I only use one test strip for both the 0 and 5 filter... I have marks on my easels, to make sure that my graduations are in the same place (roughly) and I compensate by reducing the 0 time about 10-15%... Its guesswork, of course, and as stated above, its for a working print... I've had good results with it..
     
  7. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council

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    From the back row in the cheap seats, I can assure you all thing are not equal.

    Good luck.
     
  8. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council

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    Hi Mr/Mrs/Ms Bighead,

    Different printing methods? I use what I call "Base Reference Point" printing, to find the best overall contrast for work prints. It may exist by another name for all I know...its just what has evolved in my darkroom.

    I did test strips at various contrast settings to find the time it took to have the negatives clear edge (or an unexposed frame) to print as "black", or the last step where there was a noticable darkening. Then I took 10% off that time to allow for selenium toning. (Exposing for a true max-black would seriously over expose the print).

    In a perfect world, at normal contrast settings, at the base reference point print exposure, with your standard print processing, the shadows and high tones should be where you wanted them. If you use the Zone System, Zones I through to IX should print as expected.

    If the print is off in either direction (too flat or too contrasty), you can try again at a different contrast setting with its base reference point exposure. Once the print has the "right" overall contrast, then begins the fine tuning towards a fine print.

    This works for me because my light source indicates when it is stabilized, and I time development using an emergence area multiplied by a factor (this compensates for temperature differences and the early stages of developer fatigue). Because everything hinges from a known reference point, I can use this method to compare different papers and developers in a fast, efficiant way.

    Murray
     
  9. MaxF

    MaxF Member

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    Split Grade printing...

    A technique I invented 13+ years ago. I lectured throughout the UK on this technique and prepared several articles for IlfordUK, Amateur and Pro Photographer magazines. My Digital Darkroom book has a chapter on traditional print where I highlight split grade printing.

    If enough people are interested I will post a PDF om my website for download..

    Max Ferguson

    check my site www.maxferguson.biz
     
  10. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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  11. Saganich

    Saganich Subscriber

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    In my limited experience I've found this to be usefull with high and low contrast negs. For low contrast I test first at 5 then test 0 over the 5. for high contrast I test 0 first then test 5 over the 0. It helps to have a timer with two channels. With well exposed negs I haven't seen an advanage and I think your better off managing slight contrast variations with chemistry.

    chris
     
  12. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Here's a novel method which produces some of the world's finest prints. Read On Printing here:

    http://www.michaelandpaula.com/mp/index_skip.html

    I'm sorry I can't link to the article directly. Their site uses those accursed frames; you therefore can't bookmark anything deeper than the main page. Click on Writings at the bottom of the page and then scroll down a little. You'll see the "On Printing-and why..." article.

    I use both a metronome and outflanking to contact print on Azo developed in Amidol and for enlargements made on a Saunders enlarger with VC paper. The principles are the same in both cases and allow me to zero in quickly on the best possible print that a negative is capable of producing. I use very few sheets of paper to achieve the results I want. I haven't made a test strip in years.
     
  13. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council

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    Thanks, that was an interesting read.

    I'm big on using a metronome too. My enlarger light source gets turned on with a foot switch, so both hands are free and ready to go when the light comes on. Handy.

    I think l like the 'outflanking' idea. It's funny how different photographers come to a solution for the same problem. Ansel, who used test strips, advocated making another test strip if the last step of the first test strip looked right...how could you be sure the next step wasn't better unless you made it? David Kachel says to 'always go too far'. His reasoning is that to know a prints exposure or contrast is right you always have to go too far, like focusing a lens...you have to go out of focus on either side of what you're focusing on in order to *know* it's in focus.

    Michael goes at the same problem from the outside, then works in. In my head that makes a heck-of-a-lot of sense. I'll see if it makes as much sense in the darkroom!

    Murray
     
  14. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    I determine both contrast and print development time this way, too. For me, it is the key to fine printing.
     
  15. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    hi bighead
    I use split printing in a slightly different way.
    I prefer to find a mid balance for skin tone or mid values. I slightly decrease the exposure time and I then do a grade 5. step off to bring in the blacks. I have used the 0 and 5 method for years and I prefer a three filter method rather than 2, I use the 0 and 5 for increasing/decreasing contrast as I wish and use the middle filter for a base.
    This method is very easy and with a condensor enlarger with the flip top lid for the filters very simple practice