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  1. #1
    PeterB's Avatar
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    How do I increase local contrast in my shadows when printing?

    Hi there,
    I was printing up a photo tonight, from a roll of 35mm HIE and I have a dark windmill set against a blue sky. Because I had an R72 (89b) IR Filter on, the blue sky is very dark - which is quite typical of IR shots.

    The film has already been developed and I am now printing using Ilford MG IV RC pearl paper. Even if I use a grade 5 filter, I can't seen to get sufficient contrast between the dark sky and the windmill blades. I can scan the print in tomorrow if it helps with suggestions, but without changing paper brands or doing (selenium) toning, is there anything else I could try to get an increase in local contrast to make the windmill blades stand out more against the sky?

    regards
    Peter

  2. #2
    gnashings's Avatar
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    Is the detail there on the negative?

    Either way, I can only think of dodging the blades out - either manually or by employing a mask of some sort.

    Also, I find that extremely high contrast filters can often cause a loss of shadow detail, if there is not a sufficient difference in the values on the negative.

    Peter.

  3. #3

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    If you spilt filter you'll be able to target the contrast. Higher for the areas you want higher. Lower for the rest. It still won't increase the contrast beyond what the paper can give you but it'll let you increase contrast by burning in the area you want with the high filter.

  4. #4

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    If you have a steady hand and magnifier you could place a peice of clear film stock on top of the negative and then use a fine point on a soft pencil lead to dodoge out the blades. Use the emulsion side of the cleared film as it will provide a little tooth for the lead. The problem with 35mm and this method is that the degree of enlargement will show any individual pencil lines. So it needs to be very soft lead, and then follow with a trimmed cotton swab or a rounded wooden dowel or any piece of wood to let you smooth your marks.

    If you are enlarging 8x10 or larger you should be able to cut out a dodging tool and attach it to a fine wire and be able to dodge the area. it takes practice, but I can be done.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
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  5. #5
    david b's Avatar
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    How about a bit of very warm water?

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by david b
    How about a bit of very warm water?

    Warm water? What?


    I suggest trying split contrast printing. By using the 5 filter, you are actually making it even worse! Try printing it softer so you can see what is there first. Before printing thought, you need to look at your negative and see if there is anything even there that CAN be printed!

  7. #7

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    I shoot black and white, it is a good practice not to use to strong a filter, for the reason that you are stating, this could be true in color photography too. If you cut your filter strength in about half that should take care of your problem in printing in the future.

  8. #8
    david b's Avatar
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    When I have an area that I have burned in and it still doesn't "pop", I take a little bit of warm water and a cotton swab or paper towel and I rub the area with it. Workes every time.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by david b
    When I have an area that I have burned in and it still doesn't "pop", I take a little bit of warm water and a cotton swab or paper towel and I rub the area with it. Workes every time.
    As I understand it, the problem is dark windmill blades against a dark sky. Given that with HIE the sky is almost black then the blades needs to be lightened in tone.

    How does warm water affect the contrast? I have heard of a careful use of pot ferri - the so called liquid sunshine - having the effect of lightening things but never warm water.

    Pentaxuser

  10. #10

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    You apparently filtered your lens at the time of exposure...if you have similar negative density from the windmill blades that the sky has then there is no way to separate that at the printing stage. Learn a lesson from this and go on.

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