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  1. #1

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    Printing a (very) thin negative?

    I'm trying to print a very thin negative on a large paper (30x40 cm). I thought using split grade printing would ease the process but my initial attemps were not very successful - I found no highlights but shadows everywhere.

    I'm printing with geometrical time scales and went down to quarter exposure steps but still...No midtones.

    How should I go on? What is a good way of tackling a thin negative?

    I have access to dektol and also some selenium toner, but not very much more than that.

  2. #2
    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    Not knowing what the subject is, I would print with just a gr. 5 filter and see what you get. Then if you need some brightening up in areas, try to get some ferri for local bleaching on the print.

    Jon
    Mendocino Coast Black and White Photography: www.jonshiu.com

  3. #3

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    Do a low contrast test strip/print first before messing around with split grade printing. You want to see what information you have in the negative first.

  4. #4
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    If it is important to you, which suggests it is, if you wish to print at that size, perhaps you should think about chromium or physical intensification.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  5. #5
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Intensification is a really good idea, and can be done with something as simple as selenium toner, but there are other ways, like cliveh alludes to.

    When I print thin negatives, I always start with the Grade 5 / maximum magenta. It works well for me. Split grade printing usually adds very little with very thin negatives. You basically don't have enough contrast in the negative to benefit from the Grade 00/0/1 or whatever filter you prefer.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  6. #6

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    If you decide to intensify the negative be careful of the method you choose, Some methods are archival others are not.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  7. #7
    jp498's Avatar
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    grade 5, dodge where you can. FB paper will make the dark tones and blacks look a little more impressive since you'll have plenty.

  8. #8
    John Austin's Avatar
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    I recommend Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner, unfortunately no longer made, but there is quite a bit about - Use 1:2 water for about ten minutes with regular agitation at 20 - 25 degrees C

    If the situation gets desperate don't go for Monkhoven's intensifier, there are too few silver gelatine photographers

  9. #9
    keithwms's Avatar
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    If the neg is really thin, then what about making an interpositive on film first. You can play more curve and compensation tricks with film and film developers than with paper. What you want to do is take all that detail compressed in the shadows and spread it over the linear portion of the interpositive. Then you'd make a dupe neg.

    Just a thought.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

    [APUG Portfolio] [APUG Blog] [Website]

  10. #10
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post
    If the neg is really thin, then what about making an interpositive on film first. You can play more curve and compensation tricks with film and film developers than with paper. What you want to do is take all that detail compressed in the shadows and spread it over the linear portion of the interpositive. Then you'd make a dupe neg.

    Just a thought.
    Orthochromatic film and develop by inspection too.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

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