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  1. #11
    fotch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick View Post
    Something to keep in mind here. It's the light that is always going to be diffused. So...

    When you create the diffusion effect by placing the diffusing medium over the camera lens when creating the negative, you are causing the highlights (denser areas of the negative) to be softened.

    When you try doing the same by placing the diffusing medium over the enlarging lens, you are now causing the shadows (denser areas of the print) to be softened.

    Most viewers find the former effect to be often quite pleasing, but the latter effect to be somewhat strange.

    Ken
    Ken
    Quite interesting, I never thought of it that way however, I see your point.

    Any suggestions or just do it when taking the picture with the camera?
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  2. #12
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fotch View Post
    Quite interesting, I never thought of it that way however, I see your point.

    Any suggestions or just do it when taking the picture with the camera?
    Well, I suppose it's all in the eye of the beholder.

    Highlights bleeding into shadows (the "glowing" effect) is what most people associate with diffusion. Shadows bleeding out into the highlights is... I dunno... kinda spooky?

    I've always thought diffusing the negative to be more appropriate for backlit blondes with Farrah Fawcett haircuts on early Spring mornings. And diffused prints more appropriate for dark, brooding, Gotham City Batman-style portraits. But as always, YMMV. (Yikes! Mine certainly just did.)

    To get the normally desired glowing effect, one would do it when taking the picture with the camera. I've heard that a very thin smear of petroleum jelly on a UV filter works wonders. And can be easily removed with a simple water rinse.

    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  3. #13
    Schlapp's Avatar
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    I have tried and used to good effect, slit contrast printing. I diffuse with tissue paper over the print at grade 00 and then take the tissue away and print at 5. Gives a lovely effect - especially when sepia toned. see here

  4. #14

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    Here's a simple, adjustable and inexpensive diffuser that takes minutes to make. It's reusable and will probably never wear out. Take two pieces of 1/4th inch glass and bevel or tape the edges (bleeding fingers don't help the prints). Put a small amount of baby oil between them and smush them around to spread the oil. Focus the negative sharply and hold the diffuser under the lens moving or smushing until you get the desired degree of diffusion. You can also add or remove some of the oil as needed. Make a test print as usual to get the exposure time and see the diffusion effect. Once you have what you want it is repeatable as long as you don't move the pieces of glass around. There is no altering of the negative or lens and with a little practice you can diffuse only a section of a print as well.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/

  5. #15

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    When I was a callow youth and used to print portraits in the darkroom ( and lots of them I seem to remember ) we used to have the 'wrinkle glass' by the portrait enlarger....a piece of thin optical glass about 2.5" square with cloth tape on one edge so you did'nt cut yourself :

    Now the technique :

    1) Take middle finger
    2) Rub up side of your nose
    3) Rub finger on glass
    4) Expose; Whilst moving the 'wrinkle' glass in a circular motion for 50% of the
    exposure about 3" from the lens:
    5) Result : Less wrinkley

    6) For very wrinkley or zitty : Rub up each of nose instead of one side and repeat...

    Works a treat :

    And as you know darkroom cleanliness is paramount so : at the end of the week we used
    to dip the 'wrinkle' glass in the fix tank, swill it around in the wash tank dry it on our lab
    coat sleeve and put it back....job done, I'm sure Ansel Adams did the same....

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :

  6. #16
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Plastic sandwich bag moving a few inches over the paper.

  7. #17
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Am I the only one to notice the difference between shadows bleeding out into highlights (enlarger diffusion) versus highlights bleeding out into shadows (camera diffusion)? The two effects are very different. The former effect just jumps out to my eyes. And although YMMV, I find the enlarger diffusion effect to be... unsettling. Again, YMMV.

    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  8. #18
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick View Post
    Am I the only one to notice the difference between shadows bleeding out into highlights (enlarger diffusion) versus highlights bleeding out into shadows (camera diffusion)? The two effects are very different. The former effect just jumps out to my eyes. And although YMMV, I find the enlarger diffusion effect to be... unsettling. Again, YMMV.

    Ken
    Yes, perhaps a little unsettling. Probably the reason why there is no 'vintage enlarger lens' market

    The reason I choose to show that particular image is that I thought the black bleeding outward worked well, though I agree the effect is probably only suited to select subject matter.

    One thing about the effect is that it is somewhat unique to the darkroom experience. It is not something the typical digicam user can reproduce.

  9. #19

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    get a box camera
    and use its lens as an enlarger lens.
    works well as a diffusing lens ...
    you can make waterhouse stops too
    have fun !
    john
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  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddie View Post
    I have a few negatives which I'd like to give a more "ethereal" look. I've tried a few through tissue paper (so-so results) and vellum (terrible). I'd prefer an option that can be laid directly over the paper (or slightly raised above it), but I'm open to any ideas. Thanks.
    Eddie, if you haven't already, let me suggest you take a look at Lee Frost's book, Simple Art of Black and White Photography. It has several suggested techniques and some very effective examples.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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