Yep sure do It sounded reasonably straight forward for at least some experimenting. Think I'll stick to straight split filter printing or straight with dodge and burn only or occasionally a water bath. All 3 methods I use now depending on my mood and patience
Originally Posted by oriecat
I believe you're correct. As a long-time practitioner of both split filter and divided development, the two techniques are separate, though obviously related in one's own practice. Your choice of developers, for example, will influence the contrast you build into the print under the enlarger, but there's no necessary connection between the two.
I have not read the article yet as I am in the US and it takes a little bit to get here but I am a little confused here. Is the article talking about split filter printing or using two developers to control the contrast of graded papers? If we are talking about split filter printing then the developers really don't come into play as I see it.
A more effective (IMHO) method of divided development for contrast control is NOT to use a full one-solution developer like Dektol in one tray and another full one-solution developer like Selectol in a second. Rather, divide the developer itself into two solutions--developing agents (Metol, Phenidone, HQ, ascorbic acid, whatever) ONLY in Bath #1. In Bath #2, ONLY activator (plain carbonate is fine). If you have room in your sink, make up two Bath #1's--one with a "harder" developer formula (mixed as above) like D-72 (Dektol) and one with a "softer" formula (like Selectol). Then, depending on the effect you want, use EITHER the soft developer OR the hard Developer for a given print, BUT NOT BOTH. Then on to Bath 2 (the activator).
I have used a lot of print developers with this technique. Now if the author is writing about controlling the contrast via different developers then the way I have done it is to use a soft working developer (like Selectol Soft) and regular working developer (like Dektol). The print is partially developed in the Selectol Soft for a portion of the time and then in the Dektol for the remainder of the time. I am not sure this technique would be of any benefit with variable contrast papers.
With this method, the print needs to be in Bath A no longer than about 20 seconds, but even if you leave it in for three minutes, no image will appear. Also no temperature controls are necessary. By separating developing agents from activator, you effectively eliminate time/temp considerations.
In Bath B, the image appears very rapidly (or more slowly if your solution is quite cold, e.g. 50-60 F.) and develops to completion, but no further. You can leave it in all day, but it won't get darker. Only the amount of agents soaked up in Bath B can be activated. It is possible to pull it too soon and end up with weak blacks. I usually find that at room temp, Bath B takes about 45 seconds or so to get to completion. As the carbonate becomes exhausted, it may take a few seconds longer.
Another advantage to this technique is that you can keep re-using Bath A over and over again, because it doesn't become contaminated or exhausted. It just gets physically used up as a certain amount is absorbed by the paper stock. I mix it a half gallon at a time and usually don't have to mix any more for about six months. Just pour it back into the jug when finished. Bath B does become exhausted, and I mix a fresh tray for each darkroom session, the lazy man's way--pour a half gallon of water into the tray, throw in 1/2 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda or pH Plus (carbonate), and rock the tray a few times to agitate. Then, while I'm setting up the rest of my trays, selecting my negs, etc., the carbonate dissolves, so that by the time I'm ready to print, Bath B is ready too.
With graded papers, the use of EITHER a soft OR a hard Bath A will give you intermediate grades. I.E., a #2 paper run through the soft Bath A will result in a print with about a 1 1/2 grade contrast. Run through a hard Bath A, it will result in a 2 1/2 grade contrast.
It works perfectly well with variable contrast papers too, which is what I use exclusively now. With variable contrast, the split filter printing and true divided developer technique I've described, make getting excellent work prints on the first try almost sinfully easy.
Larry, Very good description , your post makes a lot of sense and very worthy of trying. I am going to give your technique a try
As I am a new member I have not yet read your note on split printing though when I find it I surely will. I how ever do my split printing with a Dichroic head. That way I don't have to open and close to put filters in. I can adjust the yellow and magenta filteration to what ever I want and even work with both at the same time. The results are great and less problem if not no problem at all with dust. Have you tried this or has abody else out there tried split printing this way.
Originally Posted by Pats
Yes, I also use a dichroic head. Although, I don't combine the magenta and yellow filtrations in a single exposure. I give two exposures: one at full magenta and the other at full yellow (doesn't matter in which order). This, IMHO, improves local contrast and makes the tones "sing" in a way that a single exposure combining magenta and yellow does not.
Make a test print with each color, giving 3-second increments in strips across the length of the paper, keeping the same f-stop, and find the best strip for each color. E.g., on the magenta test print, the best strip is 8 seconds at f/11. The best strip on the yellow test print is 5 sec. at f/11. This combination--two exposures, one at full magenta for 8 seconds and one at full yellow for five seconds will be your basic starting exposure for any negative on that particular brand of paper. Fine tuning starts from there, but that first work print will get you very close.
To increase or decrease density, burn or dodge BOTH exposures. E.g. If I want to burn in the sky, but not change the contrast, and my basic exposure is 8 sec. M and 6 sec. Y, I will burn the sky for, say, 3 sec. during the M exposure and 2 sec. during the Y exposure, trying to preserve the proportionality of the original exposure (doesn't have to be exact).
If you want to change the contrast of a particular part of the subject, then burn or dodge with EITHER the M or Y exposures, but not both.
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I have worked both with diffusion head and condenser, I prefer opening the flip top on the condenser enlarger. Now I am really fast with this even when using three different filters. I find the dichroic or chromega way very slow and adusting for magenta dichroic density changes a pain in the a...
Although I know it works well and I guess it is all relative to what equipment you work with and are familiar with.
I use a middle filter technique making the initial print slightly lighter and flatter than required. I have a 00 and 5 filter near by. depending upon the look of the final print I usually give a grade 5 blast for contrast and good blacks and if required a burn with the 00 to bring in touchy highlight areas.
I like this method tremendously , even over the 0 and 5 technique talked about extensively.
As well I use 00 and 5 dodging filters for the initial exposure for local contrast adjustment
Also dodge back and burn with 5 filter for local contrast boost.
Hope this isn,t confusing.
Both methods are great, I just happen to like condenser light and the three filter method
I've been working with Bob's technique and can tell you it works. Working from the middle grays and augmenting the highlights and shadows gives (me at least) a far greater range of densities, contrast and accuance than I found with printing highlights and shadows and trying to bring them together in the middle.
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
I'm using either a Beseler 23C Dichro or Omega Chromega. Both are color heads. I don't do volume printing, usually one or 2 or 3 one-of-a-kind, so the additional labor of three exposures to make a 'straight' print doesn't bother me. And i can SEE the difference.
Okay I don't have a condenser enlarger. So how would you suggest I get the best print on multi grade fibre paper using a colour head enlarger.
This may be a stupid question but are you doing 3 exposures with the colour. Again sorry if it is a stupid question but I am trying to understand what you are telling me.
Ok , here is how I would do it
Assuming 180 magenta is full contrast
assuming lets say 80 yellow is lowest contrast.
Lets say you print an negative straight and the balance is Cyan -0
Yellow -0 and a slightly flat and light print is 25magenta.
I would then decide do the highlights need burning in?
I would then decide how black or better yet how much contrast do I want with the print.
Once I have a final visual in my mind I make a print with the 25 magenta
I would then put in full magenta 180 and do a step off .
I would process this print and pick the magenta blast that best suits the overall contrast I was looking for in the final print.
I would then make this print exactly the same as above but do not step off the magenta 180 but apply to the whole image
I would then dial out the 180magenta to 0 , and dial in 80yellow.
I would then burn in distracting highlights to my liking.
Remember to always keep two of the three filters at zero .
Pats, this is a lot of work , and that is why I use the flip top condensor,
Over a period of time you will be able to determine the black exposure as a percentage of your main exposure.This will come with printing a few hundred images.
Good luck , if you like this method and are having trouble just fire off another ques.