What tool do you use to burn?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by ToddB, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. ToddB

    ToddB Member

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    Hey guys,

    I have a awesome image I'm trying to print and it given me fits in some of the more dence areas.. I was wondering what people use to burn? hand, hole punched out of cardboard..ect?

    ToddB
     
  2. dasBlute

    dasBlute Subscriber

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    Usually hands are good enough, but for more precision, I use dark red construction paper. Sometimes, it's just a simple hole, when it's more complicated, I place a box on the easel, project the image, put the paper on top, and trace the outline of the burn area with a pen. The cutout is made/used about 6" above the paper meaning the burn edges will be soft but fairly accurate. The use red paper because it doesn't bounce so much light around and so I can see the image while burning [I don't need to peek underneath].

    -Tim
     
  3. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I have in the past used my hands mainly, for a straight line such as a horizon, I use a sheet of paper held between the lens and board, and for smaller shapes I use another piece of paper with the approximate shape of the object or area I am burning in marked out then cut out with a craft knife.

    If there is a horizon with a complicated line between the sky and the ground, I lower the head so that it is approx 8-9 inches above the board and draw an approximate outline of the the blurred image on a sheet of paper placed on the baseboard and then cut it out with the craft knife. It does not have to be that accurate. I then return the head to the original position, re focus and make the exposure for the lighter negative areas. When I am making the exposure with the shaped edge, I hold the paper mask approx 8-9 inches below the lens and this approximates the shape which I am trying to burn in.

    Simple but quite effective.
     
  4. Mark_S

    Mark_S Member

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    I am very similar to Tim - 90% of the time it is my hands, or a simple piece of paper with a hole cut in it. For some more complex things, I will take a piece of paper, draw the shape of the image to be burned, and cut that out of the paper - then hold that above the print during burning.

    The other thing that I do for dodging that may be helpful - especially when dodging something small like the eyes in a portrait is to take a piece of wire, and shape piece of plasticine on the end of it.
     
  5. ToddB

    ToddB Member

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    Thanks for the tips guys. I found a piece of black gator board lying in the shop here at work. Just cut a small square out in the center.

    ToddB
     
  6. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Two pieces of black board...one with a hole off-center. The second (hole-less) board is used if I need to get the holed-board down close to the paper and need to protect the rest of the paper form light.
     
  7. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Cardboard sheets of various shapes and/or with various shapes/sizes of holes. I often hold two cards at the same time. One with the shapes or holes, and a second card to help refine shapes, use as a "shutter" for the first card etc. Whatever you need to get the job done, just make it.

    The carboards I use are white on one side and black on the other. White faces up to help see, black faces down to prevent reflection/flare.
     
  8. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I use a match to burn!:laugh:

    Jeff
     
  9. Double Negative

    Double Negative Member

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    I usually cut a hole in a piece of cardboard (back of notepad, manila folder, etc.).
     
  10. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    For something really complex, a reduced size print with appropriately cut holes makes a useful burning tool.
     
  11. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I have a large sheet of matboard that's white on one side and black on the other. I have a couple of different pieces from it with a hole in each, usually sorta closer to one end and side since I rarely need to burn a spot right in the middle. I have other pieces I can adjust the hole size with as well. The pieces that got cut out got taped to coat hangar remains for dodging. The larger pieces are also what I use when making test strips to cover what isn't getting exposed.
     
  12. Double Negative

    Double Negative Member

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    Absolutely! In fact, you can project the image onto cardboard/whatever and trace the outline of your shape or area - then cut it out.
     
  13. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    i made myself a burning tool out of red card board, which allows me to vary hole size and shapebut soetimes a custom tool is required for more intricat shapes.only one rule applies to all burning efforts.keep it moving or you will see tell_tale signs of the burn and that is ugly.
     
  14. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I have a stack of styrofoam plates that I rip apart and punch holes in as needed.
     
  15. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    I've used a piece of cardboard; used the edges, and had a hole cut in it for smaller areas.
     
  16. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    tape some white paper on one side cut out the hole. this will allow you to see where you are burning.
     
  17. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    For large area burning I use a single piece of flexible black paper. Since it's flexible I can bend it, and when I subsequently tilt the paper so it isn't parallel with the paper surface, it forms all kinds of different shapes.

    I almost never find the need to burn in small areas, but when I do I use a combination of my hands and a piece of board with one small and one large hole cut in it. I've used them maybe a dozen times in all these years.
     
  18. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    I keep a stack of dud prints next to the enlarger. I use my hands, when that works. I grab a print (or 2 or more) for edge burning, or making a V shape, or punching a hole in, or tracing a horizon...... Oddly, I never seem to run out of dud prints :D
     
  19. ROL

    ROL Member

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    I use cheap, stiff, wood pulp mat board (the best and only use for this type of board, IMO), white on one side (toward enlarger), black on other (toward print), of all sizes, some with cut holes of various sizes and type to fit each job. Some have holes taped with painters or gaffers tape with which to fine tune their "design". BTW, I use the same board, taped pieces to light wire, to construct dodging wands, as needed. In either case, proper technique requires that you hold the cards far enough away from the print that its penumbra will not result in a hard edge burning line, and keep them moving. Even I find it somewhat stunning how low–tech my required "tools" are for burning and dodging fine art prints.
     
  20. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

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    All of the above are great suggestions. I have a few additional suggestions I can offer. First, whatever burning tool you use (applies to dodging as well), practice, practice, practice without paper until you are proficient at burning the areas you want at the amount of time you want. Second, I find a foot switch to be invaluable. Third, wherever possible, burn a larger area all at once. When I started out, I constructed a bunch of opaque cards with different sized shapes cut out of the middle (e.g., holes, ovals, squares, rectangles, triangles). I was spending too much time moving the card back and forth, to and fro, up and down all the while trying to get the right amount of additional exposure to a large area. Now, I will use my hand, a combination of opaque materials, and even a cutout of the shape so that I can burn a larger area all at once. If a large area needs more burning at one end, I burn the entire area for the common amount of time and use a different burning tool on the area that needs more exposure still. This change in burning practices made a huge improvement in both efficiency and results. I still use the original burning tools, but only for situations where the tool is appropriate (e.g., burning in a street lamp's light in a night shot).
     
  21. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    For really complex burns I have a frame about 16x20 openning with a mesh of fine wires crossing the openning so support burn masks.

    I take a smaller sized working print and cut it along the line /area that needs the burn, tape it to the wires, mask the areas of the frame it does not cover, and use this as my burner.

    Held higher up in the light path it can give almost a perfect fit for complex burns.

    The other thing that really helps with burns is a timer that can be actuated by a foot switch.

    Soemtimes I make a rubylith overlay so that I can confirm the coverage of the mask in the light path, slide it aside to expose.
    With this I turn the seconds chirper on on the timer and count the burn time in my head during a longer overall exposure to allow the mask to be lined up.
     
  22. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I have sheets of black construction paper with a pair of scissors or and Exacto knife at the ready. I also use my hands. That's my favorite burning and dodging too. I like to turn on the enlarger first for a practice run. Get the muscle memory going.
     
  23. fotch

    fotch Member

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    90%, hands. Cardboard cut out with jagged edges for others, usually shaped for an area.