When to split print?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by NewMexican, Jul 31, 2005.

  1. NewMexican

    NewMexican Member

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    I've studied split printing with Howard Bond and Les McClean. I know how, but I still can't figure out when to split print. What kind of negs benefit most from split printing?
    Charlie Murray
     
  2. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Split printing works best for negatives that are contrastier then normal.
     
  3. Shinnya

    Shinnya Advertiser Advertiser

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    Let me jump into this discussion:

    Why it is the case, I wonder...

    Warmly,
    Tsuyoshi
     
  4. lee

    lee Member

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    I use split printing for all negs in my process

    lee\c
     
  5. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Always. Why not? Saves time and paper for me. I get the base time and grade in two test strips. The ability to dodge hard or soft grades only is the other major advantage.

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  6. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    If you will think of it this way, a negative that is flat (taking it to the extreme) will not benefit from split printing since only only the high contrast (hard) filtration would be used.

    Aside from the benefits of split burning a split filtered print can be equally printed with single filtration. In saying that I realize that there will be some that disagree with my statement...I will just say that my experience substantiates my statement.

    Les Mclean has stated that his negatives are normally contrastier then normal for very good reason.
     
  7. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    As others have said, the big advantage is to be able to tailor filtration for different areas of the print to be burned in.
     
  8. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    I find that split printing works best when I want to isolate dodges or burns for only the low contrast or high contrast aspects of the print. In other words if I want to keep the tonal value of the highlights bright in a certain section of the image, without also knocking down the shadow value in that same spot, I can choose to split print the image and only dodge that section during the low contrast exposure. It also makes halos from dodging and burning a bit less evident when you divide your dodges that way.

    In general it also gives you the ability to finely tweak your contrast.
     
  9. lee

    lee Member

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    Donald,

    Just this week I was printing a neg that I had lost in the move from the house to the darkroom and it is a very flat neg. I had printed this neg before back when Oriental was in the white box with blue trim. I discovered the neg last week and started to print it this week. I ended with a Soft exposure of 20.5 seconds and a Hard exposure of 128 seconds. I was at an fstop just between 11 and 16. 210 mm G-Claron on my Durst 138 enlarger. 5x7 neg. By the way I am using a Lee filter material #120s for the hard filter which is a deep blue and the soft filter material which is a Lee #124s Dark Green. These filters are the equivalent of a Wratten #47b and a Green #58. This combination is very much equivalent to the colors of the tubes on my Aristo VCL4500 cold light on my Omega enlarger. I have not ever been comfortable with using a zero fliter and a five. I was not able to make an acceptable print using the #5 filter. This neg was so flat that in my estimation it would have required at least a grade 7. But with just the Hard filter it was just too contrasty and the midtones suffered.

    Les McLean does make contraster than normal negs that were printed on this same enlarger in my darkroom in May. But to say that just because Les makes contrasty negs that is the only time one should use split filtering with is not an accurate statement in my opinion. I have seen your negs (not all but quite a few) and your negs are very good and they probably would not benefit from split filter printing techniques. But in fact I would argue that a "new to printing" darkroom worker would also benefit from split filter printing because you don't have to worry about contrast as much as you do with single filter printing. You make a soft filter test print and select the time that gives you the tone in the highlite you want and then make another print using the time learned from the soft filter test and this time make a hard filter test on top of the soft filter time and then you select the time for the shadows. So, in two prints you now have a soft time and a hard time. On the 3rd print you will have a pretty good work print. Regardless if the neg is contrasty or not contrasty you end up with a pretty nice print pretty quickly.

    off soap box now

    lee\c
     
  10. roy

    roy Member

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    I have attended workshops given by Les and he demonstrated the technique on several negatives. Great for fine control and some use it as a standard method for printing.
     
  11. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Split Printing can be done with flat, medium normal, and contrasty negatives. I print all my work with split printing unless I am using a graded paper then I use a split developer.
    Flat negs in fact , benifit from split printing for some of the reasons stated above.
    When do you split print??? Any damm time you feel like it I would say.
    Spent all day today split printing various negatives and each image recieved a different treatment.
     
  12. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Lee
    I just went back to your post and noticed you are using Lee filters . Wow I absolutely never thought of this and just now my brain in churning.
    How about making a test print size as final. mounting the print onto thin black card stock then cutting out areas to lower /increase contrast and burning in the areas with the filters cut out and placed on the holes in the card .
    you could have multile burn areas in very concentrated areas.Maybe I have spent to long in the darkroom today, better go home and sleep on it.
     
  13. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Lee was kind enough to send me home with a below the lens filter holder and a green and blue filter last weekend. Did some prints yesterday using them and have to say, I prefer using the green/blue filters over the dichro head. First of all it was much easier to change the soft/hard filters and the results were much more to my vision...heck once the StopClock gets here, the process will be so simplified, I will probably try printing most of my negatives split print for no other reason than it will be at least as easy as running a test strip anyhow.

    I would say the green/blue filters are as good a way as any..and you may have a point Bob, using the filters over the cout out may be an excellent way to burn in areas....hmmmmmmmmmmm...might have to give it a try.
     
  14. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Well, I have to say that my life in the darkroom got just light years easier after taking Les' workshop! I gues I fall into the category of using split-grade printing AND f-stop timing as my first option for all my prints. Now, once I run a print, I may discover that the #0, #5 combo is not quite right for a particular negative, but it gives me information to start from and then I can make decisions from there.

    I can't hardly wait to get my Stop Clock Pro, either, Mike! I'm so darned excited! :D I have an analog timer, and I'm afraid I'm wearing it out with all that twisting and turning! However, my 'on-the-fly' math skills are sharp as a tack! :wink:

    But I guess in answer to the original question... split-printing always the first time for any negative is what works for me. :D
     
  15. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    My own opinion is that split grade works best with images that contain broad areas of detailed shadows as well as significant, important highlight areas. Almost like two separate images of equal importance within the same frame. To create distinct tonal separation in the shadow areas with a solid dmax while also having a proper contrast within the broad lighter areas.
    This would be an example though much deep shadow detail is lost in the scan:
     

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  16. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    The scan is very nice...I assume that the print is stunning...
     
  17. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Ok Folks , I have slept on it and here is an idea to try with the Lee filters . It is based on an old concept of pyramid or concentrict sp ring dodging.

    If you are mechanically inclined do it yourself or if you are like me 10 thumbs get some one to do it.

    Mount a bracket on the side of the enlarger head that travels up and down when you change sizes. to this bracket attach a swinging arm that will bring in the arm under the lens (lets say 12-15 inches) On this arm have an holder that you can lay a sheet of clear glass (optically clean as possible)
    Make a print any damm way you would like split, straight you name it.(We will be using VC papers to make this idea work.
    Make your print and look into all the areas of the image.
    You could cut out the filters into the shape of the area you want to dodge with a different contrast than your main filter packs. ( they come in very large sheets from Lee Filters , I think about $6 each) by selecting filters of higher or lower contrast you could Isolate small areas within the print and also use gells or other tissues to create areas of softness and sharpness in the print.
    Now if the mechanic setting this up could make the swinging arm *snap* into position you could then have two arms, one on each side of the enlarger, one for dodging and one for burning in .

    OK .. I WILL STATE HERE IF ANYONE PATENTS THIS DEVICE BEFORE I DO (ITS HOLIDAY MONDAY HERE IN CANADA) I WILL SUE YOUR ASS.
     
  18. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Hmmm...I suppose that you propose to sell this invention, on which I had filed a US patent pending eons ago by the way, for less then I had intended...I figured that it was worth at least $450.00 in quantities of three up...

    I am calling my attorney now...by the way what is your address?
     
  19. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    I split print for 8x10s and larger prints only, when I feel the straight print +D/B lacks "punch"
     
  20. kenh

    kenh Member

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    Actually you can split print everything. Many people have noted that negatives that are contrastier than normal are "good canidates" for split printing. However any negative can be split print once one understands the relationship between the two exposures.

    Many printers use the following method to find the times for split grade printing:

    1) Make a set of test strips with just the #0 filter. Find the time that provides perfect highlight detail.

    2) Expose an entire sheet with #0 filter for the time found in step 1.

    3) Make test strips on the sheet exposed in step 2 with the #5 filter to find the perfect time to generate proper shadow detail.

    Because the #5 filter exposure does not change highlights very much this method works well. More importanly it works very well when the #5 exposure is short which is what a higher than normal contrast negative will give you. Thus making the repuation that higher than normal contrast negatives are best for split grade printing.

    It should be noted that when the negative is less than normal contrast the #5 filter time is larger, and since it does affect the highlights some, tends to muddy the highlights. Printers often get discuraged at this point and give up on split grade printing with a low contrast negative.

    However once one understands how the two times interact it is possible to print low contrast negatives just as easily as high contrast negatives.

    From expermentation I have found the following rules:

    For every five seconds increase in the #5 filter subtract one second from the time used with the #0 filter in order to keep the highlight detail the same.

    For every three seconds increase in the #0 filter subtract one second from the time used with the #5 filter in order to keep the shadow detail the same.

    For example:

    Suppose the test strips for the highlights showed that the perfect time was 15 seconds. Then the entire sheet was exposed for 15 seconds with the #0 filter and test strips where perfomred with the #5 filter. It was found that proper shadow detail was generated with 20 seconds of exposure with the #5 filter. However the highlights suffered and became muddy! But using the rules above the highlights can be recovered by decreasing the #0 exposure time by 4 seconds (4=20/5). Thus an exposure of 11 seconds with the #0 filter, and 20 seconds with the #5 filter generates a nice print. (if you followed closely you would have also spotted that the #5 exposure time should have been adjusted to 18.66 seconds because decreasing the #0 time should effect the #5 time to achieve perfect shadow detail, however the difference between 18.66 seconds and 20 seconds is pretty small).

    Using these two rules it is possible to tweek the print, burn and dodge the print to obtain more control than single grade printing.

    Ken
     
  21. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    Just a followup -- the last two nights I've been up far too late doing exactly this, split printing with Lee 100 Spring Yellow and 119 Dark Blue (I wanted 795 Magical Magenta, but couldn't get it locally). I chose the yellow as having the same cutoff as the Dark Green APUG member Lee recommends, but with the red left in, originally thinking I'd have more light to focus without removing the filter -- but it turns out there's a separate benefit of having yellow and blue filters; the yellow looks transparent under safelight, while the blue is quite dark; makes them easier to tell apart than I remember the Kodak filters being 20-some years ago.

    And the results are incredible -- they're not kidding, if you have any inkling of a starting point for exposure (which you'll have, after you've used your equipment a bit) you can make a perfect straight print with just two test strips, one in yellow (or green), the other in blue over the best yellow exposure. I used to make five or six prints just trying to find the right contrast, and then have to make another test strip to get the right exposure, and then sometimes still have to adjust contrast (and exposure) again. I spent most of a year learning to scan my negatives, and one evening getting prints that looked as good as my best scans -- and better than the best prints I made in high school or college.

    And I'm doing this with a cold light, which some people consider hard to control in contrast. I'm completely sold; even if, at some point, I reconvert my enlarger back to condenser, I'll stick with split filter printing for as long as I can buy multigrade paper.

    The only down side I can see at this point is I have trouble with my easel moving when I change the filters, but that's a problem with too much easel and not enough baseboard, not anything directly related to the filters or the split filter technique...
     
  22. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I will give this a try, my Dupont filter set's #1 is light yellow, and the #10 is a very dark blue. Last time I tryed to split print I used a #2 and #8.