print highlights and borders

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by rogueish, Nov 26, 2004.

  1. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    As a (night class) student, I've had a couple of instructors say, one should NOT have highlights or whites that blend into the border (if you have a border). whites should always be burned in to a light grey (gray?) so as the border is always distinguishable from the print.
    I do this in class as the instructor wants it that way (gotta keep those marks up :wink: ya know), and that there is an exception to every "rule". So I put it to you APUG people: what is your preference? Edge of the border always discernible or can "whites" flow into the border?

    perhaps I should take a class in spelling
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2004
  2. sparx

    sparx Member

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    I prefer to have discernible borders. If i have a totally white background i will usually pre-flash the paper first.
     
  3. papagene

    papagene Membership Council

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    I do what is right for a particular image, not some pre-conceived idea. If an image calls for a blinding white, whether it's the sky, a reflection or a light source and it's falls on the edge, that's what gets produced.
    That's my feeling - others may disagree, and that's OK.

    gene
     
  4. Francesco

    Francesco Member

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    I am with Gene on this issue. Sometimes white must be white and burning it in to delineate borders might just make that area look mushy and bland. The negative will dictate how it should be printed.
     
  5. donbga

    donbga Member

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    I've done it, but only once, with mixed feelings on my part but it worked effectively because it helped to visually describe to the viewer a sense of space, which in this case was the inside of a cave.

    One of the things I did though was to make this part of the print very light grey instead of pure white. This wasn't just a blank area but had detail; I needed to give the viewer a sense of the light source in the cave. If I could locate the print or negative easily I would scan it to show you what I'm talking of.

    Generally though I don't think it is a good idea to lead the viewers eye out of the frame with with white space.

    Don Bryant
     
  6. roy

    roy Subscriber

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  7. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    The instructor is always right . . . inside the classroom. Outside those 4 walls, however, I'm with the others who suggest doing "what's right" for the specific image. Muddying down a highlight for border separation doesn't make sense to me. Once the print is in a mat, the border won't show anyway.

    The other alternative, of course, is to be a "troublemaker" in class, and make all your borders black. :wink:
     
  8. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    FWIW I print as I see fit depending upon what it is I'm trying to achieve. Personally, I don't like 'grey' skies just to create a definite border. If the sky blends into the border, so be it.

    Kent
     
  9. oriecat

    oriecat Member

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    Just print them all full frame with the black edge around it. :wink:
     
  10. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I guess your instructor would fail Brett Weston on this image.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    My personal rule is that the only things that should be rendered paper-white are speculars and light sources. Broad highlights like Snow and Skies should have at least a minimal tone to them but even these can flow into border or matt.

    I agree with Oriecat that a Black line separating the image from the border, or matt, or mount keeps the print from flowing into its surroundings. I like to use a Black core matt board for this purpose.
     
  12. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    Thanks all!
    Just wanted a little feedback. As I am not (yet) matting my prints borders are seen. In the future, who knows?
    I do prefer my skies (or snow) that cover large areas to have at least a little tone (but thats me).
    I'd try Oriecat's suggestion but my neg carrier isn't full frame. May have to remedy that one day. No hurry though.
    And Mr.Barker, good humour as usual! I think I will do full black borders on all my prints next class. Just to see what he says...
     
  13. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Just out of curiosity, how des your instructor feel about the other end - blacks?. Is it necessary, as well, to have *no* completely black area, with all blacks no more than very dark gray, with *some* detail?
     
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  15. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    If I remember correctly he said "not all prints will have true white or true black. Most will but not all". (the ones I have seen without black look like they have contrast issues :wink: , but thats me)"BUT, black MUST be black, not really dark gray".
    He is of the opinion that prints with white going into the border making the edge of said border "disappear" then it needs to be burned in just enough to make the edge. Perhaps he is this way as we will not be matting anything in this class, so all prints are judged/marked "as is".
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2004
  16. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree -- I Print everything with the verification border

    I also agree that wihin the classroom the teach is correct and out side that you are the judge of right or wrong.
     
  17. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    I have lost my "fear" of paper white and totally black after getting a spotmeter. Since many of the scenes I shoot have SBR from 10 to 14, the prints simply look more "right" when printed with white highlights and black blacks! Even looking at the scene it is very difficult to see detail in glaring white and pitch black shadows, so why shouldn't I print it that way?
     
  18. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    mrcallow, please excuse a stupid question, but what is a 'verification border'?

    Thank you,

    Kent
     
  19. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    I can't speak for mrcallow, but I'd assume the term originated with SCOFF (the School of Full Framers), who like to file the aperture on their film carriers to show some of the edge of the film - as "verification" that the image is full frame.
     
  20. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member

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    Rbaker got it right, although I have not heard of SCOFF. There are a variety of reasons for printing some of the mask. One is to show the viewer that they are looking at all of what you saw in the view finder when you shot it.

    It also is a make no excuse way of shooting. If you print with the verification border you truly have to take responsibility for every square mm of the frame. If you print in colour than your neg has to be pretty close to perfectly exposed otherwise you will get 'bleed' from the Dmin on overexposed film and dingy blacks from under exposed film.

    I like to think of it as the antithesis of digital (there is no 'we'll remove the warts with PS or we'll crop that out if traditional') as well as another way to further integrate the entire process.
     
  21. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I started out shooting slides and perhaps because of that, when I moved to B&W, I took great pains to compose to the format that I was shooting. Since then I've come to the conclusion that not everything works well within an arbitrary frame aspect, and now I compose to the subject rather than the camera. If I lose a little negative to improve the composition, so be it. I just can't get away with buying pre-cut matts anymore. :sad:
     
  22. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    Similar to Neil I really don't like the 35mm ratio so I tend to compose my pictures for printing more often than not to the 8"x10" format. As for borders as already said in the classroom give the teachers what they want to top up your marks, but outside do anything you want. Even if that means printing the same picture twice, once for the classroom and once for yourself :wink:
     
  23. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    so do you stuff up a print (balance, tonal representation of specific objects) just to have non white edges... seems weird to me. Maybe you should never compose such a shot in the first place! I personally hate obvious edge burns, etc Maybe print borderless...
     
  24. mark

    mark Member

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    Honestly, I can see the prof's point. Even if he did not make it very clear. This might clear it up

    When printing (enlarging) you have to hold the paper down and this is where you get the borders. Let's say that you are taking a picture of the hood of a black and white car. The top half of the frame will be white and the bottom will be black. On the bottom half of the final image there is a clear and distinct border on the top where you made sure to keep that new car white there is no border. This creates an issue where the prints seems unbalanced and people start looking for the border that has disappeared half way up the frame. The same issue arises if you are printing the same picture with black borders. If you are printing full frame with the film edge (which I just think looks cool) the problem is solved. If you are trimming the prints then trim the border and no one cares. If you have to have borders, your prof feels you need to print in a manner that would not leave the viewer looking for a border. You need a line of somesort to keep the viewer in the picture. Those border lines are just as important as the window on a mat. If you are dry mounting the print then the small edge created by the edge of the paper on top of the matt creates the line. The viewer sees them and is thus kept inside the picture instead of wondering off. Now there is the case of the Brett Weston print Eric posted. In this case the stark whites do not dominate any one edge of the print so the viewer percieves the border as continuing because they see it picked up by the black that is very close to the white and which dominates the scene.

    This is the explanation given by the prof of the last photo class I took. It made sense to me then as it does now. Of course there are times when this does not apply and as he said, at the time, there is no reason to make the grey so blatant that it kills the white. Just do it enough to make the paper maybe .5 zones above paper white. It will be there and people will respond to it.

    Hope this helps
     
  25. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    Ralph and mrcallow,

    Thanks for the answers to my question. I appreciate it!

    Kent
     
  26. lee

    lee Member

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    a couple of things here, Rule 1 is the teacher is correct Rule 2 is see Rule 1. the other thing is to pay attention to the edges of the negative when making the initial shot. I think he/she is wanting you to do that for now. One other thing that you can do is to cut a mat board just smaller than the print and use the scrap board to create your own border. Put the paper in the easel and lay the scrap on top of the paper and flush up against one corner. Now make a gross over-exposure (like f5.6 at 60 seconds). This will introduce a black line on two sides of the printing paper. Move the scrap to the opposite corner (diagonal) and repete the exposure. Now remove the scrap and make your print. Viola, you have a black line around the print. It should drive your instructor somewhat crazy. :smile: The weight of the black line can be changed by how you big or small you cut the mat hole.

    lee\c