> you need a shorter print time
You cannot take a shorter time. In the example image you still have no real black. If you give even less light the shadows get more (light) grey.
I recommend increasing the contrast to grade 4 or even 5. Then you have both: Fine shadows and bright highlights. The upper half of the image needs partial dodging then, especially the faces.
I recommend further not starting with splitgrade. This makes things more complicated as needed. The results are comparable, so I recommend normal filtering in the beginning.
I made some examples in an electronical way:
1st step: Use hight contrast, so you can give enough light to get a real black AND remain the highlights:
2nd step: dodge the persons in the background. Here the borders between dodged / nondodged areas ar obvious beacaus iused irfaview. If you take a dodging tool the result is much better:
There are remaining problems with the "women in white" which may be mildend with some burning:
Thank you. I'm intrigued by the idea of "dialed in" filtering using the dichroic head, combined with a grade 5 filter. Will this really increase contrast beyond grade 5 (this came up in the other thread)? Would the shadows in this image be helped by doing such?
Also, I use Ilford (PQ) paper developer. I wonder if a different dilution or different developer all together wouldn't help.
There is a two bath process using Selectol soft and then hard developer but I don't know how much difference it would make.
If it's any consolation I thought your second version nearly had it right. OK the man in the background was a little dark and could have been dodged or possibly lightened with highly dilute bleach on a cotton bud and water played on it.
All these things sound easy but take practice and time to get right.
> Will this really increase contrast beyond grade 5
You don't reach grade 5 with dichroitic filters. I guess maximal filtering PLUS grade 5 filter + longer development gets one grade more than dichroitc filter alone. But this depends strongly on the paper. FOMA ist softer than MCC, for instance.
This not correct for all enlargers. Some can do it easily such as my Durst L1200 and others can't such as some LPL units. And paper needs to be new on any enlarger. Year old paper can easily lose a grade of contrast, especially if not kept well. i.e. too hot or in darkroom with all those fumes floating around.
Originally Posted by piu58
i don't think this print needs anything special, just the standard procedure:
1. Set your enlarger to a normal filtration(grade 2).
2. Add just the exposure to get a hint of tonality in the highlights(zoneVIII-IX).
3. Increase contrast to get true black in deep shadows(under the table?).
4. Adjust exposure due to contrast increase.
To be honest if I shot this image I would say it falls to the category of trash bin images. No offense please!
Sometimes the conditions are so difficult that you can't get away with a decent picture. I would just learn for the future (be it dynamic range of the film or contrast taming development techniques) and go shoot some more.
While I agree with your point, I wouldn't be so quick to toss this image into the bin for two reasons.
Originally Posted by koja
First, working with less-than-ideal images is instructive. You learn the limits of the camera, the film and darkroom printing. Understanding this makes it easier for you to make a better image next time. Basically, we learn from our mistakes.
Second, negative that we think are trash on one day can be made into good pictures on another day, in other ways.
Many years ago, I took a photo on the subway platform at Kendall Station in Boston (Cambridge) Mass.
It was dark. The shutter speed was low. The aperture was wide open. The picture was dark and blurry. When I took the photo, I gave it a quick look and thought, "Trash."
Twenty years later, I was going through my old negatives and I happened to look at this image again. It caught my eye so I scanned it and looked at it on the computer screen.
Turns out... If I changed the way I look at the picture, I was able to make something out of it! If I had trashed that picture, I never would have had the opportunity to make a good image out of it.
So, the way I see it, go ahead and work on the image you have. See what you can do with it. Maybe you'll make something good out of it. Maybe you won't but you will have learned something in the process. Then, put it in a notebook and file it away. Maybe, years from now, you'll look at that picture with a fresh eye and see something you missed before.
The key word is FILTER. That is what filters do, they filter out light and if all the green light has been filtered out by one filter, adding a second filter to try and filter out some more green light will make zero difference except increase print time due to added filter density.
Originally Posted by piu58
The question is whether all the green light has been filtered out by one dichroic filter. Possibly not but it really depends on your particular enlarger so adding a second filter may have an effect but not nearly as much as you might at first think.
Ralph gives what I strongly suspect is a comprehensive answer in five short easy to understand lines. This might just explain why his book is so good.