PMK Negs & Split Contrast Printing

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Bruce Osgood, Dec 7, 2004.

  1. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Split Contrast printing is a technique I really believe in and use exclusively with standard developed negatives, but I am having a terrible time with my first PMK negs.

    Does anybody here use Split Contrast and PMK negs successfully?
     
  2. lee

    lee Member

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    I do it all the time. What is the issue?

    lee\c
     
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  3. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    As well , print pyro negs all the time with split filter method , don,t see any problems with it.
     
  4. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    My highlights are mudding up with grade 5 filter (Chromega color Head). A straight print at G3 produces a "nice" print but not the qualities I'm used to form split contrasting (Seagull VC-FB). To get good blacks I'm opening the lens 2 stops + an increase in exposure time.
     
  5. lee

    lee Member

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    Bruce,

    try this: Make a test print on a full sheet of paper using the magenta printer (filter) and pick the place where black just starts to get really black. Now make an exposure using the magenta printers time just discovered. Leave the paper in place and make another test print over the top of the magenta printer using the yellow printer. Pick a time that is good for the highlight. Now make a print using both the times and both the filters and process as usual. I have found that a lot of people when starting out select too dark an exposure for one or the other or both exposure. Something else to consider is LEAVE THE LENS STOPPED DOWN DURING THE PRINTING. The other possiblity is maybe you are exposing the film too long. Rating the film to low. I generally use Ilford's HP5+ with PMK and I rate the film at the box film.

    lee\c
     
  6. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Quick ques
    When using the chromega colour head.

    1. Are you using white light and putting a grade 5 and grade 0 under the lens?
    2. If not and you are using the magenta dial and the yellow dial for #5 and #0. how did you determine these contrast values? are you sure you are high enough on the magenta for grade 5 and high enough on the yellow for grade 0??
     
  7. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    What do you get with a "normal" grade 2 print? Did you do film speed and development tests before trying to print an image?
     
  8. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    It would seem that a couple of areas of potential cause exist.

    If there is not enough density range in the camera negative then all the split grade printing in the world will not accomplish much. Les McLean has reported this. I have found this to be true in my experience too. For a diffusion light source I would have my density range up near 1.35. That is density range (high density minus low density) not Zone VIII density above FB+fog.

    That being said, the stain color from PMK developer will work against highlight tonal separation on VC materials. This has been substantiated by sensitometric testing by Howard Bond as published in the latest Photo Techniques magazine.
     
  9. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Bob, I'm using 0 filter at White Light and then M170 at High Light (flip the lever to introduce dial-in filtration)

    I determined the 0 exposure by step wedge to establish least amount of time to get something more than paper base. Expose second sheet at the 0 filter time and proceed with M-170 making step tablet on top of first. Then I decide what I think is the right combined exposure and print it. Then comes the tweaking, B & D, developing embellishments, etc.
     
  10. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Oh yes, one more thing.

    I am over exposing the film. BPH 200 @ 125. Just working from past experience of over exposing film. Camera exposure determined by grey card and developed 12 minutes @ 20c.
     
  11. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I have found that BPF 200 has a very limited ability to build density range (it shoulders rather abruptly). This is further complicated when the film is not accurately rated.
     
  12. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    Bruce,

    From your description it seems to me that your negatives do not have enough contrast, or you are giving too much soft filtration exposure. The highlights are more affected by the soft exposure than the grade 5. When I teach split filter printing the first prints made by students are usually muddy and the reason is almost always too much soft exposure.

    I have little experience with staining developers but I have made the odd print from students negatives when doing workshops and recall that I used grade 5 only with a little post flash to deal with the highlights. I'll be in a better position to make more meaningful comments in the next few weeks as I'm currently working with Prescysol and intend to get into split filter printing with it.
     
  13. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Bruce

    Your description makes sense to me , here are some thoughts.

    I have always considered white light on the chromega to represent grade 1 1/2. as well I use condensor enlarger for split printing and I have used the 00 and 5 method for years.. Lately I have switched to another method for split printing and this is how it goes if I was using the same enlarger you use.

    1. I first find a good balance and density for a print with drydown taken into account.
    2. Lets say it is 80mag 10 secs,
    3. I then flatten the scene and lighten slightly 70mag 9 sec( 10 magenta is 10densitys therefore I would compensate for this ) 70mag 8 seconds.
    4. Now I would put in maximum contrast 180mag and give a slight exposure(process the print and determing if the overall contrast is good) This blast mainly affects the blacks

    If you are still with me I have used the lower contrast to bring in the upper midtones and highlights nicely without burning and used the blast to increase the blacks.

    Now I would consider the overall print and use the 180mag and 80yellow to change local contrast with burns in conjuncton with dodges.

    so I use two filters to determine a good overall balance (drydown considered) and I use the two extreme filters to enhance the look of the print
    Bruce I know if you give this a try it will work, takes a bit of practice but now this is my prefered method of split printing..
    One middle filter for the main exposure and the two extreme filters for effect.
    hope it works for you
     
  14. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Bob,

    Your approach makes sense to me and I had thought along these lines but never pursued it.

    Your point #3 is confusing to me though. Do you mean magenta to flatten the scene or did you mean Yellow? I don't understand how 70 mag @ 7 sec on top of 80 mag @ 10 seconds would flatten it? Then followed by a blast of 180? I'm understanding you to say you are using 3 magenta filters, I don't think I am right.

    I think this is what confuses me more: "Now I would consider the overall print and use the 180mag and 80yellow to change local contrast with burns in conjunction with dodges."

    I don't mean to sound challenging but I would like to understand what you are doing because I like the idea of dealing individually with mid tone and soft/highlights and hard/shadows.
     
  15. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Bruce

    your comments do not sound challanging /

    Point #3 is as follows: The first goal I have is to determine a good starting density and contrast. ie 80 magenta 10 seconds.
    Through trial and error I have found that if I use this pack and then start using the other two filters my print always is too contrasty and dark when dry therefore at this stage I back off the contrast slightly-less magenta and back off the density.( the extra exposures I give bring back the original contrast and density I was looking for in the first steps.
    You know when you make prints for sepia toning , you would make the prints slightly darker for the effect of the bleach and tone!! same kind of thinking.

    Now that I have a print that has the contrast and density that I like , I then start looking at the image for areas I would locally try to improve.
    Some times I will use a dodging tool with grade 5 cut out shape to locally dodge and increase contrast in areas that I feel is important to the image.
    As well I will burn in areas with either the 5 or 00 filter areas that I think are needing improvement.

    So : dodging with a filter selective shawdow areas can locally change the look of the print
    As well burning in with a filter selective areas can improve the look

    There fore at my enlarging table I always have three filters .
    initial exposure filter - lets say grade 2
    additional exposure filters - Grade 5 and Grade 00

    as well and assortment of dodging wires with diffusion, graded filters , for different local area changes.

    Bruce , remember I am using a condensor enlarger -omega to do this so changing these filters on the fly is quite easy.
    I understand using the Chromega would be more challanging but not impossible as I have done it on the two different enlargers.

    A small magnalight would be useful for you to quickly adjust the filter settings as well I use glass carriers for all my work. I cannot think how you would be able to do this method with out the negative flat between glass.

    I hope my description clarifys my previous posts
    good luck
     
  16. JackRosa

    JackRosa Member

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    Bruce: If you are rating HP5+ at 125, 200, or even 250 and developing for 12-13 minutes at 70 degrees F, your (fb+f) density may be such that you need to significantly increase your enlarger exposure. I find that my HP5+ rated at 250 and developed in PMK for 13 minutes at 70 dgereed F required doubkle the enlarger exposure, as compared with HP5+ at the same rating but developed in Rodinal 1:25.

    Densitomere readings tell me that (fb+f) with Rodinal 1:25 is around 0.15 whereas (fb+f) with PMK is above 0.3 !
     
  17. JackRosa

    JackRosa Member

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    PMK's stain acts as a contrast-reducing agent when the negative is printed on VC paper. In effect, the yellow/greenish stain acts as yellow filtration. The stain is greater in the highlights. If you are split-filter printing with PMK-developed negatives, you may want to use a lower yellow filtration for your 'soft' exposure - use 50Y instead of 170Y.
     
  18. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Jack,
    I'm using BPF 200 @ 125 and I think here-in lies the problem. I'm going to re shoot today at 200 per Donald Millers finding, process at 'normal' (12 min @ 20c) and print following Bob Carnies' lines of reasoning.

    Thanks to everyone who replied.