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  1. #1

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    tricky dodge to do - advice needed

    ok so im working on a print at the moment and i have got everything exactly how i want it to look apart form one bit. unfortunately its the most critical bit. basically i have a short s shaped bent tree surrounded by landscape. unfortunately the tree is a little dull and i need to dodge it. but i cant think how to do it without effecting the rest of the shot. heres a very rough sketch as im currently at work and cant scan my print:

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    so basically - how can i get my tree to have a higher value without the dodge/burn tools effecting the other areas of my shot?

  2. #2
    Chris Lange's Avatar
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    I would make a full size print without the dodge, on cheap RC paper, use scissors or a razor blade to cut out the tree, and use the cut outs as a guide to cut some mat board or thin cardboard to use as a mask you can hold. feather it during exposure so you don't get a harsh outline, obviously.

    poor man's mask.
    See my work at my website CHRISTOPHER LANGE PHOTOGRAPHY

    or my snaps at my blog MINIMUM DENSITY
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  3. #3

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    Make a custom dodge tool shaped like your tree. Take a test print, cut out the tree, tape it to a piece of cardboard, and cut out your tool. Attach some coat hanger wire or thinner wire and tape it to the tool. Wiggle it over the tree in the print while you're exposing your paper.

    Edit: Chris beat me too it!

  4. #4

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    great idea. never occurred to me to cut the tree out and use it to dodge - genius. im used to using dodge and burn toold but this one had my mind melting a little. thanks a lot for your help!

  5. #5
    MattKing's Avatar
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    An unsharp mask would be the ideal tool.

    But if you aren't set up for that, the suggestions above are what I would try.

    In addition, I sometimes find it easier to burn the rest of the print instead of dodging the tree.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  6. #6

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    but if im burning the rest of the print im still going to have to cover the tree somehow. only problem i can see now is that as ill be holding the cut out tree so close to the print the wire i attach to it may effect the outlying areas of the print.

  7. #7
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilfbiffherb View Post
    but if im burning the rest of the print im still going to have to cover the tree somehow. only problem i can see now is that as ill be holding the cut out tree so close to the print the wire i attach to it may effect the outlying areas of the print.
    With respect to the custom dodging tool, it can help if you create it using a smaller print than the one you are trying to make.

    For example, if your goal is to make an 8x10 print, use the tree from a 4x5 print to make your dodging tool. You then use the tool about half way between the lens and the paper.

    And with respect to burning vs. dodging, I find it useful to try to blend in several small burns along the edge of the detail you are trying to hold back (the tree) rather than trying to do single burns. In essence I build the exposure outside the tree out of several layers.

    It is more complex, takes longer and requires some practice, but it gives you great control.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  8. #8

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    Masking can be useful for things like this, but best to keep it simple with dodging and burning if possible.

    Shaped cut-outs can sometimes be more trouble than they are worth. This tree does not look like it should be that difficult to dodge with a small dodging tool throughout the base exposure. You can "travel" slowly along the shape of the tree, adjusting the shape of the tool's shadow as you go. This can work very well unless the tree needs so much dodging that the entire tree needs to be covered for the length of the base exposure. In that case a tree-shaped cutout can work. But here is how to make a good cutout:

    With your image focused on the easel, put something a few inches thick on the easel and then put a piece of cardboard on top of that to draw the shape on. The purpose here is to have the cutout tree be smaller than it is in the print. This way, when you are holding the cardboard tree shape a few inches above the easel while burning, its shadow will be the right size, and will also have diffused edge ("penumbra"). This will make it much easier to dodge the tree without leaving a halo around it. If your cutout was the size of the tree on the easel, you'd have to hold it right at the easel plane while dodging. No good.

    The height at which you should draw your shape (and dodge during the exposure) depends on the complexity of the shape, and the print size/magnification.

    Another thing that can help when dodging with the tree cut-out: Rather than only moving it around in the horizontal plane, try also raising and lowering the cut-out while dodging.

    Depending on how light or dark the areas around the tree are, split grade filtering can also be a useful technique.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Michael R 1974; 07-24-2012 at 11:34 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #9
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    I agree with Michael, cut-out dodgers often aren't worth the bother.

    But, if you are going to do it:

    You should dodge 'inside' the tree. The dodger needs to be cut down from the tree so that the wiggled dodger doesn't go outside of the tree boundaries - think 'thick snake'. A dark inside edge to the tree will look far more natural than a halo. It is, of course, impossible to make an exact dodge with a cardboard cut-out.

    If you really need an exact dodge then the best method is to use photoshop.

    In the old days this problem was solved by making two prints at very large size - one for the tree and one for the background. The tree is then cut out from it's print and glued onto the background print. Retouch fluid and gesso are used to hide the cut & paste line. A copy negative is then made for producing the final print. See "Lootens on Enlarging and Print Quality". (Gee, it does sound like a photoshop procedure, doesn't it?)
    Last edited by Nicholas Lindan; 07-24-2012 at 02:09 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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  10. #10
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    Masking can be useful for things like this, but best to keep it simple with dodging and burning if possible.
    Well said.

    “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

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