Taking Notes

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by oriecat, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. oriecat

    oriecat Member

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    I am horrible at taking notes. I made myself a little form to use and I never use it. I don't know if I just haven't found the right system to work for me, if I just need to be more persistent and train myself, or if it's just an inherent character flaw. What do you do? Do you have a standard form, just blank pages in a notebook, write it on the back of the prints before processing, or ??

    Thanks :smile:
     
  2. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    No big deal

    I don't keep any notes , other than when I finish printing a negative I write on a fresh sleeve the starting grade I used. I put the neg in this sleeve and move on.
    Detailed notes are good for some, but bulbs change, materials change, . I would rather know a good starting point on contrast for the negative and work from there.
    I use a three filter method for printing fibre, the 0 and 5 filter are for dodging and burning with one of the middle filters for initial exposure.

    I think that over time dodge and burn is instintive. I look at the easel during exposure for inherent flaws I would like to fix with the two other filters. Each time I print from the same negative, I try to do a better job than the first time.
    I am not advocating being sloppy , but try to feel the print on the easel and you may not to ever take notes.

    this works for me , quite possibly not for others.
     
  3. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    I'm just beginning to wrestle with this. One of my main problems is how to describe burning and dodging in a way that I can come back to it months or years later and do the same thing. I've also just started split filter printing most prints, and that adds a new wrinkle to everything.

    The snapshot of what I do now is that I use those black and white bound essay books with the empty, ruled pages. Each image I work on gets it's own page. I use the left pages as scratch while I'm working on a print, and record what I've done that day on the right-hand pages. On the back of each test print, after I've exposed it, I mark the filtration and exposure with a sharpee and wave it dry before it goes in the tray. I tried grease pencil, but that came off in the trays. If something might end up being a final print, I write in light pencil, but it's hard to see what I'm writing. While I'm refreshing the water in my print washer, I write down what I learned about how to print that image in my journal: the index number of the image, the date, what paper and developer I used, the lab's index number for the image (if that applies), enlarger elevation, which filters got what exposure, etc. Then, I draw a 2x3 grid, each with an outline of the image that I use for outlining where I dodge and burn and with which filter.

    Seems to work well enough for the time being that I'm not motivated to come up with something different. I did just make one change last night, though. I started marking burn/dodge times as a percentage rather than a number of seconds. Seems easier to revisit for other sizes.

    -KwM-
     
  4. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    No detailed notes unless there's a compelling reason to do so.

    When I file my negatives, I write the month and year, film, developer used processing temperature, time processed and the place the pictures were made or the subject.

    I have kept notes when playing around with multiple toners so I would know later what worked and what didn't.

    I can think of nothing more boring than living the movie "Groundhog Day" and repeating the same thing over and over. When I print a negative, I never print it twice the same way nor do I want to.
     
  5. Dean Williams

    Dean Williams Member

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    I keep notes on everything I print, just so when I come back to a particular neg in the future, I will have a good starting point. Using the data for a print I made a year ago rarely gets me the same print as the original because of paper lot changes, enlarger light bulb intensity, and minor technique variables such as dodging and burning. I make a note of the exposure time, aperture, enlarger head height and filtration, along with dodge, burn, and split times. Each neg # of a sleeve (that I print) will have this data sheet stored with the neg sleeve.

    It's nothing fancy. Something like this on a piece of paper:

    File 14 - page 22 - neg 9
    8 sec, f5.6, 48cm, #2.5 contrast, burn sky 2 sec, dodge lower rt. corner 3 sec
    LPD 1+2, Agfa MC RC

    That's all I need to get in the ballpark the next time I have need of a reprint for this neg.
     
  6. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    I'm another that never takes notes for my prints as I like to look at each negative before I print as if it was the first time. Of course I have the advantage that I don't have to re-print for sales and any that are intended for a "client" I know before I print for the first time. There's always an advantage to any situation even being a failure LOL

    I do record on the neg sleeves the film; rating, soup (errm Rodinal); dilution and time, but that's because I have this daft idea that my negs are the most important thing for future shoots / processing.
     
  7. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    When my brain is engaged I'll put the filter pack on the frame of the contact sheet or the back of the contact.

    This works as a good starting point.

    I print my B&W using a 0 and 5 filter (similar to Bob), but pretty much reinvent everytime print.
     
  8. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Evening,

    Printing notes on the back of the contact sheet, similar to what Dean Williams has indicated. Makes things a lot easier the next time.

    Konical
     
  9. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Notes? What notes? :wink:

    The motivation for note taking and other forms of documentation lies in having a real need for referring to them, I think. Unless one has that need, there's almost no motivation to go to the effort of writing information down, and devising a coherent system for relating that back to specific negatives. Essentially, it's a time management and systems problem. How much time do you want to spend creating documentation and creating a system to make it accessible? Very "detail oriented" people find the documentation a natural part of the process, while "free spirits" resist the idea. :wink:

    Unless I'm working on a special project of some kind, like testing film/developer combinations, I seldom take notes about exposures. I use Post-it notes to designate development adjustments (or write on the Quickload sleeve), but seldom record anything more about the exposure.

    If I need to make multiple prints of a negative, I use an overlay of tracing paper attached to the work print, marking the base exposure and filtration, paper and developer, along with outlining areas that are dodged or burned. I use + or - seconds for the overlay, and those times can be adjusted as needed between paper batches by keeping the ratios the same.
     
  10. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I have a little notebook I write things in. Basically it's for chemical and paper tracking. But I write down anything that might be of interest at the moment.

    I also keep most of my work prints. If I need a note on the print it's best to have it on the print.

    To say the least I had to train myself to do it. If I get out of the habit I'll start forgetting but since I do it all the time it just happens.
     
  11. mikeb_z5

    mikeb_z5 Member

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    I do prety much what Dean described. On the tougher prints I'll also draw up what I did on graph paper and keep that with the contact sheet/negs.

    Mike
     
  12. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Yep, I do what Dean does too. I have a log book (spiral bound quadrille grid) I keep notes in it basically because I hate re-inventing the wheel! haha It's just some part of my brain that needs to keep track of things! :D
    So I keep notes about the neg I'm printing, the type of paper, exposure, filtering and any dodging/burning.

    I tried making a form for this, too, but I found the form too structured (even for me :wink: ). I don't think it makes a hoots difference if you keep notes or not. People who track things will keep notes and those who don't won't!
     
  13. Dean Williams

    Dean Williams Member

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    In my earlier post I should have said I make notes for every finished print I make, or intend to make. After I reread it I realize it makes me look like I'm some kind of bookkeeping nut in the darkroom. If a print doesn't show good promise by the "correct exposure" stage of my enlarging scheme, I usually jot a few numbers on the back of it and throw it into the "review next month/year/decade" pile.
     
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  15. arigram

    arigram Member

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    I have made some very comprehensive forms with MS Word to aid my photography.
    I have one for developing film (the one I worked most on), one for printing, one for shooting and one for keeping info on the mixed chemicals.
    They are all in greek (apart from the chemicals and film ofcourse) so I will have to translate them. I may post them tomorrow if people are interested.
    I have been meaning to give them away to APUG members for some time, but I always revise them and make changes and so I haven't done the english ones yet.
    They have helped me enormously, especially during my first years in the darkroom when I was still a beginner (and still am).
     
  16. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Have always kept a notebook. Three ring for silver printing, bound book for alt process. A necessity for alt processes because they are sooooo many variables. I draw small sketches of the image, record aperture, lens stage height, number of standard exposures and developer info. The sketch shows the burn and dodge pattern with plus and minus standard exposures.

    Note of caution. Early on I decided to get real fancy and do all my notes in red ink. Bad idea. Sadly the ink and the safelight were about the same color....
     
  17. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    :D :D What is it they say....the best laid plans of mice & men.... haha
     
  18. eheldreth

    eheldreth Member

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    Since I'm just learning in the darkroom I have found it helpful to keep notes so I can better visualize the results of some processes. I use a simple form I made up. The form has fields at the top for all the information I keep and a few boxes at the bottom I use to depict any dodging, burning, etc... I do to the print. I will post the form when I get home this evening for anyone interested.
     
  19. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I always write the exposure formula on the back of the print. I usually have several ideas I'm testing, and I learned long ago that I can't remember which is which.

    Since I use sheet film almost exclusively and file each sheet separately, I use individual sheets of paper for notes that can be filed with the negative. If I have to do dodging or burning, I draw a small rectangle on the paper and put in +++ for burning, or ooo for dodging and put the amount of time out to the side. I use a separate little rectangle for each step. (I think I got this idea from Picker, but I don't remember for sure - I know I didn't think of it.) I've found that's close enough for me to figure out what to do when I return to a negative for reprinting. Of course, I seldom print exactly the same way again, but at least I know what I did before.
    juan
     
  20. eheldreth

    eheldreth Member

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    Here is the print log I promised. Its based on one Rolfe Horn shows on his web site . If any one has any suggestions for changes I would like to here them.
     

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  21. ooze

    ooze Member

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    I keep printing notes on a small sheet of paper, which I put into the contact prints transparent plastic sleeve. I write down the film number, frame number, print date, developer, toning (if there will be any) and put all burn and dodge info on a single sketch.

    If I can't do a burn/dodge operation with my hands, because it requires a weird shape, then I cut a scrap photo paper accordingly. I usually file this negative specific "dodge/burn tool" with the contact sheet as well.
    As you can see, I certainly feel the need to be able to replicate earlier results :smile:
     
  22. David Ruby

    David Ruby Member

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    Print Log

    Thanks eheldreth, I like that log. I also try to take pretty good notes, since I'm still learning and I like to be able to look back to see what I was doing. I think I may give your example sheet a try though, as the one I've been using lacks the manipulations areas. I got this one from a book by Shultz I think. It was and is free to copy in case anyone likes it. I like it, but I've been thinking about modifying it to add some areas like your example has.
     
  23. David Ruby

    David Ruby Member

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    Looks like the attachment didn't work last time...Ok, I uploaded it this time :smile:
     

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  24. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    This is what I use. In the boxes I draw where the burn/dodge areas are and for how much time.



    Michael
     

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  25. oriecat

    oriecat Member

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    Thanks everybody! You've given me a lot to think about and try trying, or just give up and not feel so bad about it. :wink:.
     
  26. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    Michael,

    I like the form -- the fields of "soft time" and "hard time" bring to mind visions of a split filtered justice system where prisoners are sentenced to soft time in a minimum security institution, and hard time in somewhere like Fulsom. :smile:

    -KwM-