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  1. #21
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    Getting blacks on a print is only a function of printing. To get more black, give more exposure to the print. Make sure you are developing prints with fresh developer for 3 minutes.

    Adjust the grade of paper to get the highlights you want.

    After you have the blacks and highlights you want you need to ask - "Am I getting the deep shadow detail I want". If not, then give more exposure to the negative.

    If your highlights look blah, and you can't correct this with paper grade then try increasing the film development time. If your highlights are solid white then decrease development.
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  2. #22
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Very good advice by both Ralph Lambrecht and Nicholas Lindan.

    You can get almost any contrast you want with Delta 400 & D76. You really need to work your materials to get what you want from them. It really is about the process.
    Agitation affects contrast, time affects it indirectly. More agitation (such as every 30s as opposed to every minute) will increase contrast, but you need to shorten the time so that you don't over develop.

    But you should start with your paper. I've been lucky to have been advised by some outstanding people, and their advice to me is to first figure out what paper you want to print on and what developer to use for that purpose. Make this your standard.
    Then you choose a film, and expose and process it according to your paper's characteristics.
    You want to get your paper selection down first before you do anything else - it's the print that ultimately matters.

    - Thomas
    "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

  3. #23
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Lindan View Post
    Getting blacks on a print is only a function of printing. To get more black, give more exposure to the print. Make sure you are developing prints with fresh developer for 3 minutes.

    Adjust the grade of paper to get the highlights you want.

    After you have the blacks and highlights you want you need to ask - "Am I getting the deep shadow detail I want". If not, then give more exposure to the negative.

    If your highlights look blah, and you can't correct this with paper grade then try increasing the film development time. If your highlights are solid white then decrease development.


    In the darkroom, I'm not a friend of the expose-for-the-shadows method and much prefer to expose for the highlights and adjust the shadows with contrast as AA taught us. The reason is simply that the human eye can differentiate highlights about 5-times better than shadows. One can easily see a 1/24 stop difference in the highlights, which is not so easy in the shadows. This means, selecting the right exposure is more reliable from the highlight end. One possible exception is the printing of low-key images. I don't know where this reversed workflow comes from. Does it have to do with darkroom meters, because they are more sensitive to the brighter negative shadows? I don't know, but I'm glad that my RHDesigns equipment supports the regular workflow. Tougher on the meter, but better for me.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  4. #24
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht View Post
    expose for the highlights and adjust the shadows with contrast as AA taught us. The reason is simply that the human eye can differentiate highlights about 5-times better than shadows.
    You are quite right, of course.

    I was responding to the OP's complaint of a lack of blacks -- you can always get a deep black.

    A simple complaint can have a complex cause or a very simple cause - I tend to suspect simple causes first, only when they are ruled out is it time to look deeper. Without more information in this case it is hard to pinpoint what is happening.

    I am guessing at what may be going wrong as I haven't had a look at the negative and work prints. I would normally respond to a lack of blacks as a printing issue, though a very low contrast negative can also be the problem - but then the negative should look quite wrong, and I would expect this to be the primary complaint.

    With VC paper there isn't any reason not be able to produce a print that goes from black to white (assuming you want to). Sometimes one gets lost in the highlights and looses track of the other end of the tonal scale, and an excercise of 'turn it on its head and see what happens' can bring things back to reality and show what to do in the shadows.

    The other obvious reason for lack of black is there is no way to get to black given the grade of paper that optimizes the highlight/midtone contrast. The answer then is to burn in the shadows.

    Once the general scheme of things has been settled - paper contrast, dodging/burning, rough paper exposure - then the final exposure determination should be based on highlights, as you have stated.
    Last edited by Nicholas Lindan; 05-26-2009 at 03:45 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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  5. #25
    Stephen Benskin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht View Post
    The reason is simply that the human eye can differentiate highlights about 5-times better than shadows.
    It's also why Loyd Jones proposed the fractional gradient method for speed determination instead of a fixed density point. The separation of tones in the shadows are the decisive factor in determining image quality. A fixed point of density doesn't speak to the local gradient.

    According to Jones, "From the standpoint of tone reproduction theory there seems to be no justification for the adoption of any value of density as a significant criterion of the speed of a photographic negative material. The primary function of the negative material is to record brightness (luminance) differences existing in the scene. Density, per se, has no significance as an indication of the ability of the photographic material to perform this function."

  6. #26
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Lindan View Post
    You are quite right, of course.

    I was responding to the OP's complaint of a lack of blacks -- you can always get a deep black.

    A simple complaint can have a complex cause or a very simple cause - I tend to suspect simple causes first, only when they are ruled out is it time to look deeper. Without more information in this case it is hard to pinpoint what is happening.

    I am guessing at what may be going wrong as I haven't had a look at the negative and work prints. I would normally respond to a lack of blacks as a printing issue, though a very low contrast negative can also be the problem - but then the negative should look quite wrong, and I would expect this to be the primary complaint.

    With VC paper there isn't any reason not be able to produce a print that goes from black to white (assuming you want to). Sometimes one gets lost in the highlights and looses track of the other end of the tonal scale, and an excercise of 'turn it on its head and see what happens' can bring things back to reality and show what to do in the shadows.

    The other obvious reason for lack of black is there is no way to get to black given the grade of paper that optimizes the highlight/midtone contrast. The answer then is to burn in the shadows.

    Once the general scheme of things has been settled - paper contrast, dodging/burning, rough paper exposure - then the final exposure determination should be based on highlights, as you have stated.
    Got it, thanks for the clarification.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  7. #27

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    to Synj00
    it took me long to realise the interaction of the factors determining the result. The factors I find essential to get such results as you want :
    1 light conditions at the moment of exposure. Without a contrasty motive you won't get what you want.
    2 the lens used for the exposure has an enormous influence. You have'nt told us what is your equipment, but assume you are on 35mm and sometimes use a zoom, f.ex. 28-105. When I used such a combination I came to the same conclusion as you : disappointing! There are huge differences in the quality of lenses; You may very well see it for yourself by making two identical exposures, one with you zoom 28-105 put at 50mm, and the next with the best fixed 50mm you have. Make sure ligh conditions are identical and that the film and paper processes are also the same. You will most likely see the difference immediately.
    Of course it is true that the darkroom processes have a decisive importance. There is nothing better than reading what clever people before us found in that respect. I've got two books which I consult often; one is by Benny Thornton "The Edge of Darkness"; the other is by Ralph W. Lamprecht and Chris Woodhouse "Way Beyond Monochrome". They are in my opinion 'must haves' in any analog photographer's equipment
    peter

  8. #28

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    I'll look out for those at the library. Thanks everyone for the responses. I hope to get back here soon with some results to share! Been doing this for a few years and there is still an adventure in every roll!

  9. #29
    Vincent Brady's Avatar
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    Just to add one other thing. I use Delta 400 all the time but I develop it in ID11 stock solution as recommended by Ilford and I am very happy with the results.

    Cheers
    TEX

  10. #30
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    It's also why Loyd Jones proposed the fractional gradient method for speed determination instead of a fixed density point. The separation of tones in the shadows are the decisive factor in determining image quality. A fixed point of density doesn't speak to the local gradient.

    According to Jones, "From the standpoint of tone reproduction theory there seems to be no justification for the adoption of any value of density as a significant criterion of the speed of a photographic negative material. The primary function of the negative material is to record brightness (luminance) differences existing in the scene. Density, per se, has no significance as an indication of the ability of the photographic material to perform this function."
    do you have more reading in this direction?
    f/22 and be there.

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