Some words about "more contrast" (which is needed).
If you want to have a real black in the image - and mostly you want - you have to give so much light that the film base gets this black. You cannot take lesser exposition. If you negative is underexposed the highlights are not white using "normal" contrast (whatever normal means).
If you raise the contrast the highlights get brighter. You and in an image which has sharply marked textures, what you may be not want always. But you have no other chance to get real black and real white form an underexposed image.
May be you can sacrifice the very deepest black and accept a very dark grey instead. May be you gain something by dodging and burning. But the main principle is: Underexposed negatives require much contrast in the positive process.
Thanks everyone. I reprinted it with a dialed-in grade 3 filtration and got better results. I dodged the reporter's face a second or two and it looks okay but still a little too manipulated for my liking. I thought split grade printing was something else, but after reading up, it doesn't sound much harder than what I'm doing already-- just some extra steps. I can run 00 or 0 for the highlights, but where should I start with the shadows? High (grade 5) or low (grade 2 or 3)?
> thought split grade printing was something else
It lead to same results as normal filtering. It is simply another approach.
I'm away from home so I can't upload anything right now (the print was drying last night). But I tried split grade printing on this negative. After several tests, I decided on four seconds at grade 00, and six seconds at grade 5. This gave me better details in the highlights but did very little to bring out the shadows. The reporter's face is the one area in the print that I was trying to recover. I dodged that area almost the entire time of the grade 00 exposure. This helped, but not much. Any dodging during the grade 5 exposure made the area look washed out.
My conclusion is that split grade printing does more for recovering highlights than shadows, and is probably more useful on high key or overexposed frames.
You need to increase contrast so a grade 3 or possibly higher. And also you will need to reduce print time other wise the shadows will block up in the print. However, that will cause the highlights (woman in white) to be too white so will need to burn down her outfit a little too.
Note that if you go to grade 4 and higher with ilford filters, the print time required doubles. i.e. if you go above grade 3.5 then double the print time. (this is for ilford filters and not dichroic filters)
Also forget about the kodak gray card. It will not help you. You are trying to make a good print of that subject and not a good print of a gray card. i.e. use your intuition and not a crutch.
You're on the right start with the split grade, but may need to persist. Try burning in the highlights with 00 after a lesser exposure with that same filter, just enough to put something in the shadows, rather than dodging during the longer exposure. Then try a test with #5 to find out the amount of exposure you need to just barely get a black (maybe even without a 00 exposure first). Then try that combo. You are right, with a thin neg, dodging with #5 will be touchy. And in the end, the neg may not have enough guts in the shadows to make a good low end image in the print. Sometimes the #5 only exposure tells you something about the separation that is even possible in the shadows.
Thanks everyone. I think it might be a lost cause using basic, traditional printing methods. Looking today, the split grade print looks flat also. The scan below was with a dialed in grade 3 filtration. The reporter's face was dodged a bit.
Not a crutch. I only use it as a scanning aid to gauge brightness and set white balance. I don't use it to make prints.
Originally Posted by litody
you need a shorter print time. Look at the face of the boy on the right. It is over printed.
Originally Posted by bvy
print time is critical. always has been and always will be. getting the balance between contrast and print time is everything.
The problem you have is that everything on the negative is under exposed which in this case means the scale between black and what you want white in the print is too short for the paper. The only way you can expand that is to increase print contrast. But that requires adjusting print time too and in this case you need to shorten print time to get his face the right tone. But that will makes the whites too white so you will have to burn them in.
One technique is to flash the paper using just white light for a short time. This effectively fogs the paper but only to the point where an extra photon of light will start to show a hint of tone.
If you have a diffusion sheet in your filter set, place it under the lens and expose at f16 for 2 seconds prior to making your main exposure at grade 3. You may need to experiment with time for this but get it right and you won't need to do any burning or dodging of faces or whites providing your main exposure time is good.
in this copy of your image I increased contrast = higher grade. I increased brightness = shorter print time. And I used levels to reduce the highest white output level = equivalent of print flashing (sort of but not quite).