Split-grade headache

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Blighty, May 10, 2011.

  1. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    Fellow Apuggers, I'm a dyed in the wool split-grade printer. Usually, but not exclusively, I'll determine the G.00 exposure first and build the shadows in later. Sometimes, when dealing with a low contrast image, I'll figure the G.5 exposure first and build the highlights last. Today, I printed a very low contrast image. The G.5 exposure was set at 20.1 secs but subsequent testing showed a G.00 exposure of just 4 seconds . Luckily, my Stopclock pro is accurate enough for this not to be a problem. My point (eventually) is, when making your exposures in this way, make sure you give yourself a long enough G.5 exposure to give yourself a long enough soft exposure. Regards, B.
     
  2. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Why not stop the lens down one more stop?
     
  3. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    That seems right. With Ilford MG I get a ratio of blue to green of 4.25 at ISO(R) 70 which is similar to what you have posted. Now, on the other end, the ratios are more skewed. For example to get an ISO(R) of 160 my ratio of blue to green is 0.0625
     
  4. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I think that is what the OP is all about.
     
  5. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    I have this same problem with a few of my prints that are backlighted. I am about to make a post about it. I guess I need to stop the lens down and re-do it. My last 0 exposure time was 2 seconds!!!
     
  6. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Unless you're dodging during the grade 00 exposure to increase contrast in certain areas of the print it may just be easier to go with something like grade 4 exclusively for the exposure. Every image demands a different approach of course.
     
  7. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    What do I do in this case.

    My times were 2-4 seconds on 0 and 25-35 seconds on a 5. I am still not happy with these prints, but had to go to bed last night (was printing until 12 midnight). Should I try to stop the lens down and re-do test strips or how can I get my highlights/upper-midtones lighter? I'm not happy with the skintones, they still seem dark to me. I also would like a TAD more contrast overall.

    Please excuse these crappy super-quick scans. The second one you can see my TERRIBLE attempt at dodging the face area. Not working here... losing too much contrast! I cannot dodge the grade 5 exposure (this was at 5 seconds). This is also the image with the 2 second 0 exposure ...
     

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  8. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    Hi Brian; I use both methods but as a rule I tend to aim for an exposure around 20 sec for the soft exposure. With the majority of my negs falling in the G.2~G.3 range this provides conveniently short times for the hard exposures. Automatically giving a 20 sec (ish) exposure on G.5 was my mistake. Regards, B.
     
  9. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I always do the G 00 exposure first, particularly with lo con as it does build shadows. When I work the other way around I find myself adding to blacks I'm happy with. YMMV.
     
  10. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    From extremely low contrast negatives you have little to gain from the low contrast exposure. Like Brian suggests, going directly for a high contrast filter and printing the picture with just one filter is usually a better solution. Or, you might try to make your 'low' contrast filter a Grade 2.5 or 3, and use Grade 5 as your high contrast filter. Look at some alternatives, try a few things.

    And, while on the subject, don't think that split grade printing is limited to just one low contrast and one high contrast filter. Most my prints will print without the need for split grade printing at around Grade 3 for 35mm. But sometimes I need some extra contrast in the highlights, (like a sky with clouds), and will then burn that in with a Grade 5. Or similarly, if I need extra weight to the shadows, I'll do the same.

    There are two really big reasons to take advantage of split grade printing:
    1. If you have a very high contrast negative, it may be your only way to obtain a complete range of tones.
    2. If you want to dodge and burn areas of your prints at different filtration.

    - Thomas