Split Grade Printing resources on the web?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by rob champagne, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. rob champagne

    rob champagne Member

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    Can anyone point me at some split grade printing resources on the web. I've had a scout around and found Les McLeans article and a some stuff by Chris Woodhouse, but most of it is extracts from from full texts or buried in long forum threads.
    I'm familiar with the basic technique but is there a site somewhere which pulls it all together including burning and doging using split grade techniques?
     
  2. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I would point you back toward Les' work. He is a master of split grade printing. I learned a lot about it from his article, more from his book, and the rest from a day in the darkroom with him.
     
  3. galyons

    galyons Member

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    Rob,
    I consider the chapters in Les's and Chris's books the definitive tomes on the process. I have both books and they are my consistent references. But, quite frankly, the split grade process is so simple that you just need to do it. You will gain experience with your equipment, chemicals and process.

    I personally find split grade printing using RH Designs wonderful f-stop timers the most artistically intuitive printing process that I have practiced in nearly 40 years. Visualization and realization without the technical fog. I no longer worry about grades, filters, brand differences or lot changes with my papers.

    Cheers,
    Geary
     
  4. rob champagne

    rob champagne Member

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    I was taught split grade printing years ago but didn't pay much attention to it as I was quite happy with the standard Y+M techniques. Also the way I was shown was not at g00 and g5 and it used the crosshatch method which as someone pointed out in what I have read, doesn't tell you much about the whole image as the correct patch could end up anywhere on the image. So I have ignored it. I just thought I maight try the G00 and G5 method and see how it turns out for me so I started searching for info. There is basic info but I'm surprised there is not anything in more depth on the web. But as you say, its not going to be that difficult.
     
  5. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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  6. Sino

    Sino Member

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    Toffle, that post by Les was really helpful -- it reminded me what I did wrong when split printing; I was paying too much attention to the first exposure [00 grade], when all I needed was some highlight separation.

    Cheers for that!

    -Sino.
     
  7. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    To reinforce Sino's point, one of the strongest points that Les makes is to select the first strip from the soft grade filter test that shows detail in the highlights. If you choose too long an exposure your highlights will not be bright. The midtones and shadows get "filled in" with the hard exposure. And Rob, your point about the crosshatch method is correct. I usually use a half sheet for each test, making sure that the important highlights and shadows are included in the respective test strips.
     
  8. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Subscriber

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    There are some schools of thought that advocate split printing at G2 and G5 rather than G0 and G5. the reason being that G0 can muddy the highlights in some images. I've not tried this to back that up, but have used the G0 and G5 successfully.

    Does the cross hatch method involve a set of strips at G0 going from say right to left, and then G5 from top to bottom on the same sheet rather than a seperate sheet for each grade?
     
  9. rob champagne

    rob champagne Member

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    Well nothing is set in stone and as Les says, a harder negative works better in split grade printing. That will help to negate muddy highlights from using G0. But you can always use any combination of grades if you like.
    One of the reasons I want to try this is that I'm just setting up a condenser head on my Modular 70 and that means using Ilford filters. Split grade means I won't have to worry about intermediate grades or calibrating different filtration setting for different papers.
     
  10. rob champagne

    rob champagne Member

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    Yes the crosshatch method as I was shown it uses a whole sheet of paper with one grade printed left to right and another printed top to bottom.
    But that takes no account of where the primary shadows are or where the primary highlights are so I found it practically worthless. You really want a set strips across your primary highlights and primary shadows. A cross hatch across each of those areas might be better, but how a print looks in the end is a combination of contrasts across the whole image which gives it its overall look so focussing on only one area of a print is not going to give you full feedback on how it will really look when fully printed.
     
  11. Gary Holliday

    Gary Holliday Member

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  12. rob champagne

    rob champagne Member

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    Yes thats the Chris Woodhouse article I was referring to.
     
  13. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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  15. rob champagne

    rob champagne Member

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    funnili enough I have that book and just read the section on split printing. Nothing in there to add to what I already know so it does seem like a very simple technique. I will give it a go.

    Thanks all...
     
  16. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    alright. that was easy.

    Split contrast printing is easy in that it simplifies a number of variables and helps to quickly determine contrast grade and general exposure. However, because of that, I am able to think of and execute much more complicated printing sequences that I would have otherwise. This allows for fine tweaks which generate better prints. For example, after a regular test strip, I might decide to pre-flash the paper, do the base yellow exposure with three separate burns, then do the magenta exposure while dodging one area and then burning somewhere else. I would never have figured that out with straight-up printing. Of course, I would never have done that without an RH Designs Stopclock timer either. If you start split contrast printing, you will soon want one of them (or perhaps the F-Stop Timer). Being able to do more detailed (and tedious) printing sequences also makes me more appreciative of a well exposed and developed sheet of film:smile:.
     
  17. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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  18. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Can anyone tell me what the name of the Les McLean book is I want to get a copy and Chris Woodhouse's book also?

    Thanks Rob for bringing up the topic, I'm going to give it a go for some of my negatives and who knows what else if I'm hooked.

    Hope the old dog can learn some new tricks!

    Curt
     
  19. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Jerold, I think I asked you before, loss of brain cells lately, but which model timer do you have?

    Thanks,
    Curt
     
  20. rob champagne

    rob champagne Member

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  21. rob champagne

    rob champagne Member

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    I have an older RH stopclock timer which does 1/4 stop increments. But I don't print using fstop technique. In the short term you can use percentages instead of 1/nth stops. The following is a little chart of FStop print time factors.

    View attachment 11437
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2008
  22. galyons

    galyons Member

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    Curt,
    Les's book is Creative Black & White Photography. Chris Woodhouse and Ralph Lambrecht's book is Way Beyond Monochrome.
    Cheers,
    Geary

     
  23. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Thank you Geary I appreciate it.

    Curt
     
  24. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Curt, there was a description of the variations of RH Timers by Richard Ross in this thread a few months ago - http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/51153-enlarger-timer-rh-designs.html

    I have recently bough a Stopclock Pro after everybody at an APUG get together in the UK strongly recommended it - actualy everyone but Richard Ross - he is too nice a guy to push his own stuff

    Actualy when I bought it I was a little sceptical about the benifits but having used it I have been won over and am very impressed.

    With 2 seperate timer channels the Stopclock Pro was designed for split grade printing - one for Filter 0 and the other for Filter 5

    Its also very user freindly and very intuative to use

    The RH Designs web site is full of useful stuff about the products and he is a realy nice bloke if you want to contact him directly

    Martin
     
  25. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    Rob I've read several posts on the web, some books too but seeing Les do it in person made it easier to absorb. The web and the books arent really as good at showing the subtle differences as you operate the controls.

    I would respectfully suggest that you seek out one of Les's workshops. We have one in Dublin which you are welcome to attend. Heres a link to it;

    http://www.fpworkshops.com/?p=32

    Fintan
     
  26. rob champagne

    rob champagne Member

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    I would respectfully suggest I will have the technique nailed before November.