Switch to English Language Passer en langue française Omschakelen naar Nederlandse Taal Wechseln Sie zu deutschen Sprache Passa alla lingua italiana
Members: 70,502   Posts: 1,543,379   Online: 750
      
Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 21
  1. #11
    markbarendt's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Ignacio, CO, USA
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    5,732
    Blog Entries
    3
    Images
    19
    Part of this may be a difference between luminance and brightness.

    Luminance is a measurable physical property.

    Brightness is a psychological thing.

    I am constantly surprised by darker prints that look brighter.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  2. #12
    brian steinberger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Shooter
    Med. Format RF
    Posts
    2,331
    Blog Entries
    1
    Images
    100
    I've been struggling with this alot lately. I make prints that I feel are great and then I'll look at them once dry or in different light and think "these are too bright" or "these are too contrasty." Lighting is everything when viewing a fine print. I was always under the belief that every print has to have a maximum black and just barley off base white (Ansel Adams). But I've made some prints where the highlight is a bit lower than base white and the print just seems to glow, much like what Mark is talking about above. So I think there is a fine line between a fine print and a near miss. And I believe it's in the highlights and how they are handled during printing. It is something I will continue to work on.

  3. #13
    Bill Burk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Shooter
    4x5 Format
    Posts
    3,272
    Images
    46
    Hi tkamiya,

    Still struggling? In my case, I laid out the series and saw from the variations that I was happiest with the prints somewhere in-between.


    We always hear quotes from famous teachers and references. Here's one that is not that well-known (I find no glaring fault in the publication), that directly relates to your question:

    In photofacts number 24 Print Faults and how to correct them by Fountain Press 1951 there is a chapter on The Dark Print.

    It lists the following causes of dark prints:

    Over-exposure
    Changing paper
    Voltage fluctuation
    Drying changes
    Over-development

    Paraphrasing the two topics that aren't self-explanatory:
    -Changing paper, from one grade or brand to another requires a new test.
    -Over-development won't be an issue if you always do FULL development.

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Montreal, Canada
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    4,721
    We're a little off tkamiya's original topic which was more about how we perceive print values in the context of an image. But to address the evaluation of prints as raised by Brian, I'd offer the following.

    Regularity counts for a lot when judging your prints during a printing session, because prints can often look so different under different lighting etc. It's not enough to have excellent technique. Because I don't get to print every day (and there can sometimes be periods of weeks or even months of no printing), I don't make final decisions in a single session. I stop when I think I've got it pretty much right, make a few versions, wash, dry and then live with them for a while. If I don't do that, I find myself spending too much time staring at my microwaved work prints, moving from room to room to look at them under different light levels etc.

    Refraining from final decisions in a single printing session is particularly helpful with complicated, labourious prints, in which case by the end of a printing session I'm sometimes too immersed in the complexity to make an ideal overall evaluation. Sometimes even coming back the next day makes a difference. Things that aren't quite right will tend to jump out at you more easily. Or sometimes I'll realize the print is just too dark, contrast needs adjustment etc. It's a chance to really evaluate the direction you took and whether or not the original desired outcome has been realized.

    I've also found this technique makes my printing sessions more fun because my stress level is lower if I know I don't have to have it all perfect by the end of the session. Otherwise I tend to get pretty stressed out when printing.

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Oregon and Austria
    Shooter
    4x5 Format
    Posts
    833
    Interesting thread with a lot of food for thought.

    Here are some of my ideas, in no particular order:

    First, how much detail we see in shadows and the quality of the shadow edges often gives us a perceptual cue as to the "original" lighting situation. Our eyes lose the ability to see detail as it gets darker. In darker situations, shadows are empty to our eyes. In prints with high contrast taken in bright, harsh lighting situations, the shadows go dark and detail-less in the print, or at least the detail is in the very lowest values. This cues our brains to think that the "original" lighting was dark. Ever notice that even in harsh sunlight, you can see easily into the shadows? But that in softly-lit dark situations (read low-contrast) you can't?

    Remember those old black-and-white TV shows from the 50s and 60s? When they wanted a "night scene," they simply put on a red filter and underexposed. The shadows went black, the highlights were darker than usual, but still fairly bright, but we all bought it that it was "night" and that the characters were sneaking around in the dark.

    I think that opening up the shadows, by changing paper contrast or by dodging/burning/changing exposure can make a huge difference in the perception of what we think is the "original" lighting situation. Some hard shadows are needed, but they need to be open and detailed enough that our brain doesn't think "oh, it's nighttime." This might be the answer to the OPs original problem.

    The opposite is often true with photos on orthochromatic materials. Shadows are often very soft and luminous on prints made from ortho film, and the skies are usually white. Our brain says, "bright overcast with low contrast and open shadows" even if the original lighting was clear blue skies and direct sunlight.

    It all lies in the interplay between shadowed and lit areas and the way our brains interpret the relationships of tonalities and amount of detail.

    As for prints needing a maximum black, or that all highlights should be printed just below paper-base white, etc. These are just guidelines for beginners. Highlights belong where they work best; i.e., where the balance of brilliance and detail is right for the subject. Placing these is totally subjective and often material-dependent (some papers separate more than others in the toe). Display lighting plays a huge role, as does the relationship between tonalities in the print. We need a well-developed aesthetic sense as printers to make the highlights feel like we want them to.

    Sometimes I print to pure paper white (a "no-no" in some circles), and sometimes my highest value is a richly-detailed Zone VIII. And, I have tons of prints that I purposely print without a maximum black, or even very close. Dense blacks in a print look solid; lifting them a little gives them an openness even if there is no detail present, which is often the difference between a print that sings and one that doesn't.

    At university, along with my other studies, I took courses in optics and visual perception. These were "eye-opening" to say the least. How we perceive values in adjacent areas of different tonalities is fascinating. The same gray feels very different next to a lighter value than a darker one. Zone V can look really bright when surrounded by blacks, but really drab and dark when it's in a field of whites. This gets very subtle and complex very quickly when there are a lot of tonalities in a print. A feeling for how tonalities expressively interrelate takes a while to develop (at least it did for me) and should be applied at the visualization stage, when deciding Zone placements and development schemes.

    When printing, we need to balance all these different perceptual and subjective things when making decisions about contrast, print manipulations, etc. It is complex enough that one cannot make rules to follow; it is really an art, and precisely here lies the art of printing in my estimation.

    Print evaluation is difficult unless one knows exactly what lighting the print will be displayed under. I evaluate my prints in everything from direct sunlight to rather dim incandescent lighting and try to strike a compromise that works in various lighting conditions. But, shadows that look open and luminous in sunlight can often look dark and featureless in dimmer artificial light (the same phenomenon that I mentioned at the beginning). There's nothing to do about this but print for an ideal lighting situation. I try to print for rather bright gallery lighting, but I know that when someone buys a print and then displays it in a dark corner of their living room, it's just not going to look as good. I try to bring this to the purchaser's attention when I can.

    For me, there is always a point when printing when I have several prints of different exposure/contrast/manipulations tacked up on the viewing board and I say to myself, "any of those do the job for me, depending on my mood and the display lighting." At this point, I stop refining; one can get to obsessive about getting the "perfect" print and really get lost in the law of diminishing returns. No two performances of a piece of music are exactly the same, so why should my performances of a negative be? As long as they are pleasing and expressive and communicate the visual and artistic goals I have, then small variances, or even different basic interpretations are possible. Loud or soft, fast or slow, bright or dark, contrasty or soft? The main thing is that the print works within itself... for me.

    I'll quit now, this is getting so long no one will bother to read it.

    Best,

    Doremus

    www.DoremusScudder.com

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Central Florida, USA
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    3,920
    Michael,

    I have the same routine. When I make prints, I make a few with different exposures. I keep ones that are too light and too dark as well as the one I *think* it's right and wait until the next day to evaluate. I had SO MANY times what I thought as prints that are too light, too dark, too contrasty, too (anything) was the one I liked and ended up framing. This is beyond dry-down.... My prints seem to change a bit from what I feel as dry to few days later when it's really dry. Plus, my perceptions change. The worst thing for me is to pursue perfection on the first day. I end up going through so many sheets of paper and liking the first one. I go from room to room, outside, inside, take it to work sometimes, put it in my standard mat, etc, etc, etc. I also tend to get better ideas about additional adjustments or removing or lightening over-adjustments few days later as well. I have to convince myself to stop on the first day. I'm glad I'm not the only one doing this.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  7. #17

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Central Florida, USA
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    3,920
    Doremus,

    You might be right on on your suggestion of opening up deep shadows. In this particular print (that I'm having problems with), there are deep, featureless shadows in the key area. Yes, it was a brightly lit scene. I dodged it somewhat but I'm going to do some more and see how it works out. I am working with matte surface paper (FB) so "deep black" isn't that deep. Nevertheless, there isn't sufficient details there. That might very well be the problem.

    I would very much like to take classes on visual perception if such thing is offered.....

    Thank you for your detailed response.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  8. #18
    ROL
    ROL is offline
    ROL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    California
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    794
    While there is much to be said about good (fine) printing technique, and usually not enough IMO – not enough seems to ever be said about the ability (or talent ) in finding good light and composition to support good printing technique.

    ...and that much said without SHOUTING .

  9. #19

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Central Florida, USA
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    3,920
    I experimented with something today.

    I took the same print but one that was printed a little lighter (overall exposure was a little less), cut it up into pieces and selenium toned it to different degrees.

    The end result was that highlight part stayed the same or slightly increased and Dmax increased - visibly on the one I toned for 8 minutes. Which made the light print darker and contrast higher perhaps by about 1/4 grade worth. That part now looks brighter although the max density is the same as the original print. I can also see more detail in the shadow area because of this increased contrast.

    The changes are rather subtle but I see a clear change.... if that makes any sense.

    My next step is to reprint this, tone it, and see how it will actually work on overall image.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Central Florida, USA
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    3,920
    That was interesting....

    I took the same image, printed it with base exposure 2 seconds shorter, then toned it in selenium toner diluted 1:40 for 2 minutes. The result is, shadow being just a tad darker and removal of greenish cast. Highlight stayed the same.

    The difference is such that if I concentrate on the change themselves, I have to have the prints side-by-side and even then, it's hard to tell. (green cast being gone is more noticeable)

    The contrast has increased a little, perhaps 1/4 grade worth - if that.

    However, if I step back and look at the entire print, this new print leaves me with an impression that the scene was bright mid day scene where as the old one tells me it was an evening scene. I'm amazed how much the print changed when not much actually has....
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast


 

APUG PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Contact Us  |  Support Us!  |  Advertise  |  Site Terms  |  Archive  —   Search  |  Mobile Device Access  |  RSS  |  Facebook  |  Linkedin