Your Thoughts? 1st time trying split grade...

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by ChristopherCoy, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    Yesterday I starting printing this image. Its a good negative, perhaps slightly under exposed. I missed the focus on this one slightly, as the tuft of fur sticking out of the neck on the left is more in focus than the eyes. This is the very first roll that I put through the Yashica 635, and this was about the 4th photo I had taken on a roll of TMAX100 - 120. The exposure was around 1/60th at 5.6 if I remember correctly.

    I did my normal filter 2 exposure and came up with this. I think this is like 15 secs. Its muddy, gray, and just kinda blah.

    CatOrig.jpg


    And then I tried to do a split grade print using the method I found on youtube.
    http://youtu.be/5XgmJk2Fmpw
    Valerie suggested I read Les Mclean's article online, and so I did. I found it much less confusing than the youtube video.

    I used Les' method, and I ended up with this. This is a 'soft' exposure of 8 seconds with filter 0, and a hard exposure of 6 seconds with filter 5. It also has and extra 10 seconds of vignetting on the edges.

    CatSG.jpg


    So far, this is what I've learned. There is a noticeable difference in the right (cats left) eye, the split grade version is opened up and not so 'dead'. The highlights on the legs are cleaner and not so muddy. The shadow on the back is opened WAY up, which is nice because the cat is actually orange and white. And the grain in the wood on the floor is not so flat.

    comparison.jpg


    I'd like to know what you're opinion of my progress is, and also any suggestions that you think may make this print better?

    These are straight scans of my PRINTS at 96 dpi, not negative scans. I did absolutely NOTHING to them except convert them from .tiff to .jpg files.
     
  2. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    Moniters are always a question, but I suggest you continue to shorten your soft time, until you feel that you are seeing a clear paper white somewhere. Keep your grade 5 exposure and by shortening the grade 0 you will increase contrast. It is well to go beyond what you might in the end, choose; particularily when starting out.
     
  3. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    yeah. these scanned a little darker then they appear in person. I'll try shortening the soft time.
     
  4. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Unless you are burning and dodging during each of the soft and hard exposures, split grade printing is no different than using a single intermediate grade filter.
     
  5. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Ignore the contrast and experiment with exposure time.
     
  6. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    That's true. It does have one benefit though if you are using filters rather than a colour head in that you only need two of them. The disadvantage is the potential for movement whilst changing filters.


    Steve.
     
  7. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    The original grade 2 print is quite dark. I would be making lighter test strips from that before I went to split grade.
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    With the exception of very contrasty negatives, I generally expect the "0" exposure to be less than the "5" exposure.

    Try lightening the "2" exposure until the highlights are right. You may or may not want to add "5" exposure to that.
     
  9. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    I'm about to head back into the dark room and try this very thing. I got a very informative PM that has me excited!
     
  10. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    Less exposure and more contrast. Adjust the exposure first, then put the dark areas back to dark by increasing the contrast overall (with appropriate exposure compensation). Why do you think you need to use split-grade printing? It doesn't really look as though any area will benefit much, unless you lighten the print so much that you want to burn in 'hard' for some detail on the white fur. It isn't a contrasty neg.
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Hey - you responded before I had a chance to fix my post :smile:
     
  12. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    If I lighten the 2 exposure, I'm back at like an 8 second exposure.... and thats at F11.
     
  13. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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  15. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    Eight seconds wouldn't be a problem, after all there are no areas which you need to dodge. After you get the light areas right, increase the grade a bit to get the dark areas of the background sorted out and adjust the time to keep the fur white with details.

    Did you see Mr.Carnie's very interesting thread, above this sub-forum, as a sticky. . .

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum41/89122-tips-darkroom.html
     
  16. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    You've had lots of advice to make it even better so the only thing I will say is: Your split grade attempt is a quantum leap forward. Well done

    pentaxuser
     
  17. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    This bears repeating: Split grade printing adds nothing but needless complexity versus a single exposure with an intermediate filter, unless separate burning and dodging manipulations are done during each of the soft and hard grade exposures.
     
  18. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    I disagree. It may add complexity... FOR YOU... but it has helped me understand and better achieve proper contrast. I'm really enjoying it.
     
  19. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    Ok. So this is where I am now.

    4secs with the 00 filter, 6 secs with the 5 filter, and then 4 secs added to the edges for vignette. I also had to dodge the cats left eye during the #5 filter to keep it from going 'dead'.

    CatSG2.jpg
     
  20. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    Grade 3, plus your burning-in then ?
     
  21. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    Are you trying to say that what I did basically averages out to grade 3 at 10secs?

    Sheesh... Y'all are confusing me. Is spilt grade vs single grade comparable to the RAW vs JPG argument???
     
  22. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Christopher,

    Michael is trying to tell you something important about split grade printing. If you ask for advice on printing, Michael really knows what he's talking about, and I suggest you try to listen closer to what he's telling you.
     
  23. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Christopher:

    The great strength of split grade printing is that it permits you to use different contrast grades on different parts of the print.

    That being said, you can use it to effectively replace single exposures at an intermediate contrast level with two exposures at two different contrast levels - if you want to.

    That approach does allow very fine adjustments of contrast.

    It just might, however, be better to learn first how to use single contrast filters.

    Or maybe you are just born to channel Les MacLean :wink:

    With respect to your cat, the cat's fur would be where I would focus your attention, because fine adjustments will probably show their worth there.
     
  24. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    I'm listening, otherwise I wouldn't be here. But when I'm doing one thing and being told another, without thorough explanation it's confusing.
     
  25. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    Thomas- While I'd agree that Christopher should listen to all advice, there are many of us that disagree with Michael's statement. My experience with the Heiland Splitgrade System has certainly changed my view on this topic.
     
  26. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    This quote from Steve Anchell in The Variable Contrast Printing Manual , I think, sums up:

    "Split printing cannot create any contrast that the paper cannot produce with proper single filter techniques. What it can do is enable the printer to maintain precise contrtol over the final image by observing and making incremental separate adjustments to the shadows and highlights. As a printing method, it is not inherently better or worse than using a single filter for overall contrast."

    That said, I don't prefer the split printing method, I establish the global or overall contrast with one filtration setting, most always the settings on my LPL equivalent to a contrast grade between 2 and 3. I then may proceed to use other filtration settings when burning-in is desired.