That's a light bulb from inside of that restaurant. How do you get rid of it? Sharpie on the negative? Or on the print? It's going to have to be blacked out somehow.
It bothers me too, but I don't like removing things digitally, after a scan. To me it defeats the purpose of shooting film.
Chris- You can spot the light bulb on the print, if you choose. I don't find it distracting, though.
BTW- I think you've done a fine job with this negative. You analyzed what bothered you and how you wanted it to look. You then worked in the right directions getting there. That's all you can do... That's all anyone can do...
I think you took Willie Jan's meaning the wrong way.
To my mind, he was just saying that the scene represented in your negative was an example of something that can be helped by printing techniques, but could be helped even more by a combination of tools, which include printing tools, but also development and other controls as well.
In other words, keep up the good work in improving all your "chops".
This is wonderful to see your progress and approach. Sometimes seeing another person's artistic thought process inspires one to question his/her own convention(s). Thanks for your openness and transparency (pun intended, well I guess this isn't a chrome but still...). I like what you're doing!
For what it's worth: when I first tried split grade, I did it like you, grade 0 first followed by grade 5. Didn't have much success. But then I went back and did it the other way around. Now don't flame me, but for me I found it a lot easier to get the contrast right that way. I do a test strip and aim for the time that gives me just black on the very darkest part of the image. Then I add in enough 00 for exposure. I flash high contrast negs with the neg still in the enlarger, no filter and a piece of white translucent plastic as a diffuser. I'm sure loads would say that's all wrong, but I find it easier than straight printing.
I've been doing only split grade printing ( to use VC paper with my very blue cold light ), and I am just a beginner, so that's what my advice is worth.... It's taken a while but unlike Fran I go with "grade 0" ( green filter ) first and then dial in the "grade 5" ( 47B blue filter ). I doubt it matters all that much.. I think the thing is to do it enough so you get a good sense of how it will come out. I've gotten the feel for where the highlights will end up going this way and feel like I've got control of the process and can get to the result I want. When I make the final print, I usually start with whatever filter happens to be in place. I like the split grade approach and it is becoming more and more intuitive. I recently discovered how much control you have over the middle tones by dodging the low contrast exposure... that was a revelation for me.
Truth is it probably makes no difference which way you start, I accept that. But for me, I find it easier to get the contrast "right" going with grade 5 first. I can see the blacks coming up and I usually select the point just before the blacks go solid. Its kinda like, "ok thats the contrast fixed, now lets get the exposure right".
Its also very useful to be able to burn in a cloudy sky with grade 5 to give a bit of definition to edges, and as you say, control the mid tones by dodging etc.
I saw a good article in Photo techniques some time back where a print was made ("scientifically") by both split and normal grade printing and tones over the print then measured. It did indeed prove that single grades will do anything that split grade does. I still find it easier to split grade though!!
I got a chuckle, because we are so similar, but backwards! I set the grade zero, and then think, "OK that's the basic exposure, now let's set the contrast right". I have not tried it your way so I cannot have any opinion about which is better. I also like a very short burn of the sky with high contrast... it brings out the edges of cloud shades, just as you say. I burn and dodge with the low contrast exposure too. I like how it is possible to pay attention to different parts of the picture and vary local contrast.
It's been 30 years since I printed before, but I do have a memory of getting frustrated juggling graded paper contrast and exposure. I like split grade printing too, even though I fell into it more out of necessity if I want to use VC paper. ( My understanding is that the normal VC filters have uneven steps and are hard to use with my enlarger. ) There's a certain kind of logic to it that I find appealing.
That's exactly what I mean.
You know, text forums are a real problem, because you can not feel the energy of the person at the other side. I my case i mend it positive. I only have put my experience of 15 years of analog work in text. Sorry if it was misspelled for you.