Flashing the paper is not difficult and as mentioned making a sheet as a test strip of the paper you intend to use would be necessary. It should be completely processed, washed and dry and kept as a reference. If there is no detail in the negative flashing will not produce any. I don't know what equipment or what your metering technique is but if available a spot meter is helpful. Also there is a filter type viewer (sort of a brownish color) that will eliminate colors so you can see the relative values of the scene and decide whither or not you want a filter. If it was a bald sky the only way to add them would be to build a library of cloud negatives and print them in ala Jerry Ueslmann. If the grass was dry and somewhat yellow that would cause it to be "lighter" in the print. Learning to split print with contrast filters or a variable contrast light source can help in many difficult situations.
A frequent APUG contributor Ralph Lambert has written an excellent reference book "Beyond Monochrome" that would be worthwhile getting.
Helps quite a bit as highlights don't block up in the same way.
For those scenes, the neg may well have been under-exposed, or been allowed to gain too much contrast in development. Flashing will make it easier for you to get a tone in the area of the sky, but if the sky is plain on the negs then of course there won't be any detail to see in the sky areas. It could well also help in detail of the smaller branches against the sky and with any minor flare effects there.
A suggestion for a test strip for the flashing - cover a part of the long side of the strip, then you will have a reference of paper-white to compare to each exposure step.
marciofs, have a look at www.lesmcleanphotography.com. This is the website of the excellent photographer and darkroom worker, Les McLean. Under articles he has a page on flashing and fogging which has an example of what flashing can do. His example is very similar to your print.
He also has a book called Creative Black and White Photography which I would recommend you buy. Copies are available from Amazon or Allibris Books. The book is very good value and contains a lot of useful information on taking photographs, processing the film and making prints.
Yes it is in English but I think you will be able to read and understand it.
Thank you all for the links and book indication. And for all the suggestion.
I actually use to agitate to get contrasty results. But now I see it is better think on contrast when printing.
But thes scene was challenging.
I always think about Jerry Ueslmann works, to have a library of clouds and add it to the sky when needed. It's is super cool. But It seems to really difficult work to do.
I may try one day rsrs. :)
Sooner or later you will see, dodging and burning (and flashing) are more or less inevitable, wonderful tools and not difficult to use them in most cases either.
However, for these images I'd first try a soft-working developer, followed by a normal- or hard-working one. Since you live in Germany I'd advise you to make use of the excellent Tetenal developers: 2 minutes in working strength Centrabrom followed by 15-30 sec in Eukobrom or Dokumol. You could substitute these developers for any soft and normal/hard combinations; you could even mix the two developers into one, but this way you'll lose much of the available control. In the first, soft working developer a beautifully tonal, soft image will appear with calm highlights and significant shadow detail (if the negative contains it), then, in the harder working developer the shadows will gain punch: they will be anchored down to higher levels of density.
Super-easy and it should be great fun if you've never tried it.
Originally Posted by noacronym