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  1. #1
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Dodging & Burning In

    Dodging & Burning In – I know this is sometimes necessary when producing a print. However, if you photograph something with the correct lighting ratio for the film you are using and get the exposure and development right, this is often not necessary. I also think that some of the maps shown by printers who do extensive dodging and burning are really trying to show they have some special skill which should be emulated by others. Almost comparable with Photoshop manipulation and devoid of original integrity related to original capture.

    “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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    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    I have never made a print in my entire career that was not dodged or burned , it is a necessity IMO.

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    I rarely dodge and burn, and try to avoid it. As Per showed me, you can warm a print with your fingers and locally accelerate development while it is developing, and you can also bleach very selectively down to the last fiber of the paper. If I do need to d&b, it's done with shadows of fingers and pencils and such under the enlarger, and the aim is to keep it very subtle. If it's not subtle then you can get that HDR halo effect.

    Properly done, d&b can be a very effective tool, of course. And there are masters of the technique. But I think one has to try to do everything possible to get what you want "in camera" ...and go from there. What I do not care for is d&b overused to manufacture drama where it wasn't. E.g. crazy clouds and glowing faces in shadows. I try to respect the light that was there and simply don't take a shot if the light isn't close to right.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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    I don't think I've ever made a print that I thought worthy of framing that doesn't need at least a bit of simple dodging and burning. I'm not familiar with Per's technique of selective warming though. Of course it's really nice to start with a negative that doesn't need much, but on my negatives there's always something that needs lightening or darkening. I'm not good enough at it to do the complicated stuff I've seen "mapped" in books etc.
    If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
    Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284

  5. #5
    Hexavalent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    ... if you photograph something with the correct lighting ratio for the film you are using and get the exposure and development right, this is often not necessary...
    True enough.

    There are also many occasions when dodging/burning are required to produce a print that conveys a range/ratio of tones.
    Imogen Cunningham apparently kept 'maps' of her very involved burns/dodges. Something tells me that she wasn't compensating for bad lighting/processing.
    - Ian

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    Hexavalent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post
    As Per showed me, you can warm a print with your fingers and locally accelerate development while it is developing,...
    Conversely, an ice-cube in a plastic bag can be used to control run-away shadows.
    - Ian

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    As I understand it film can record ten stops of brightness range whilst paper can only record about five so unless your subject is very low in contrast dodging and burning is essential if you want to print all the tones. A print with no dodging and burning tends to be flat with low contrast, it all depends on what you want. I am sure more technical experts on the forum can put it better than this.

    Tony

  8. #8
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brook Hill View Post
    As I understand it film can record ten stops of brightness range whilst paper can only record about five so unless your subject is very low in contrast dodging and burning is essential if you want to print all the tones. A print with no dodging and burning tends to be flat with low contrast, it all depends on what you want. I am sure more technical experts on the forum can put it better than this.

    Tony
    You can match your film to whatever range you desire (Zone System, Beyond the Zone System), and the use of multigrade paper and contrast filters can usually ensure good white and black points and contrast if normal graded paper isn't matched to the neg.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  9. #9
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hexavalent View Post
    True enough.

    There are also many occasions when dodging/burning are required to produce a print that conveys a range/ratio of tones.
    Imogen Cunningham apparently kept 'maps' of her very involved burns/dodges. Something tells me that she wasn't compensating for bad lighting/processing.
    Hexavalent, I do understand what you mean. However, it seems to me strange that someone would want to do this, perhaps analogous to someone taking an image off the internet and then manipulating it into something different, rather like music sampling and mixing. I guess it has its place, but a complete anathema to me.

    “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

  10. #10
    Hexavalent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    Hexavalent, I do understand what you mean. However, it seems to me strange that someone would want to do this, perhaps analogous to someone taking an image off the internet and then manipulating it into something different, rather like music sampling and mixing. I guess it has its place, but a complete anathema to me.
    Perhaps an analogy: The spoken word carries meaning, but 'inflection' can greatly influence its interpretation. We use bold and italics (and now emoticons) in the written word to 'nuance' intent/meaning. I see the use of (limited) burn/dodge in much the same way.

    Grabbing somebody else's image and contorting it, particularly without permission and full disclosure is theft.
    - Ian

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