I am horrible at taking notes. I made myself a little form to use and I never use it. I don't know if I just haven't found the right system to work for me, if I just need to be more persistent and train myself, or if it's just an inherent character flaw. What do you do? Do you have a standard form, just blank pages in a notebook, write it on the back of the prints before processing, or ??
No big deal
I don't keep any notes , other than when I finish printing a negative I write on a fresh sleeve the starting grade I used. I put the neg in this sleeve and move on.
Detailed notes are good for some, but bulbs change, materials change, . I would rather know a good starting point on contrast for the negative and work from there.
I use a three filter method for printing fibre, the 0 and 5 filter are for dodging and burning with one of the middle filters for initial exposure.
I think that over time dodge and burn is instintive. I look at the easel during exposure for inherent flaws I would like to fix with the two other filters. Each time I print from the same negative, I try to do a better job than the first time.
I am not advocating being sloppy , but try to feel the print on the easel and you may not to ever take notes.
this works for me , quite possibly not for others.
I'm just beginning to wrestle with this. One of my main problems is how to describe burning and dodging in a way that I can come back to it months or years later and do the same thing. I've also just started split filter printing most prints, and that adds a new wrinkle to everything.
The snapshot of what I do now is that I use those black and white bound essay books with the empty, ruled pages. Each image I work on gets it's own page. I use the left pages as scratch while I'm working on a print, and record what I've done that day on the right-hand pages. On the back of each test print, after I've exposed it, I mark the filtration and exposure with a sharpee and wave it dry before it goes in the tray. I tried grease pencil, but that came off in the trays. If something might end up being a final print, I write in light pencil, but it's hard to see what I'm writing. While I'm refreshing the water in my print washer, I write down what I learned about how to print that image in my journal: the index number of the image, the date, what paper and developer I used, the lab's index number for the image (if that applies), enlarger elevation, which filters got what exposure, etc. Then, I draw a 2x3 grid, each with an outline of the image that I use for outlining where I dodge and burn and with which filter.
Seems to work well enough for the time being that I'm not motivated to come up with something different. I did just make one change last night, though. I started marking burn/dodge times as a percentage rather than a number of seconds. Seems easier to revisit for other sizes.
No detailed notes unless there's a compelling reason to do so.
When I file my negatives, I write the month and year, film, developer used processing temperature, time processed and the place the pictures were made or the subject.
I have kept notes when playing around with multiple toners so I would know later what worked and what didn't.
I can think of nothing more boring than living the movie "Groundhog Day" and repeating the same thing over and over. When I print a negative, I never print it twice the same way nor do I want to.
I keep notes on everything I print, just so when I come back to a particular neg in the future, I will have a good starting point. Using the data for a print I made a year ago rarely gets me the same print as the original because of paper lot changes, enlarger light bulb intensity, and minor technique variables such as dodging and burning. I make a note of the exposure time, aperture, enlarger head height and filtration, along with dodge, burn, and split times. Each neg # of a sleeve (that I print) will have this data sheet stored with the neg sleeve.
It's nothing fancy. Something like this on a piece of paper:
File 14 - page 22 - neg 9
8 sec, f5.6, 48cm, #2.5 contrast, burn sky 2 sec, dodge lower rt. corner 3 sec
LPD 1+2, Agfa MC RC
That's all I need to get in the ballpark the next time I have need of a reprint for this neg.
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I'm another that never takes notes for my prints as I like to look at each negative before I print as if it was the first time. Of course I have the advantage that I don't have to re-print for sales and any that are intended for a "client" I know before I print for the first time. There's always an advantage to any situation even being a failure LOL
I do record on the neg sleeves the film; rating, soup (errm Rodinal); dilution and time, but that's because I have this daft idea that my negs are the most important thing for future shoots / processing.
When my brain is engaged I'll put the filter pack on the frame of the contact sheet or the back of the contact.
This works as a good starting point.
I print my B&W using a 0 and 5 filter (similar to Bob), but pretty much reinvent everytime print.
Printing notes on the back of the contact sheet, similar to what Dean Williams has indicated. Makes things a lot easier the next time.
Notes? What notes? ;)
The motivation for note taking and other forms of documentation lies in having a real need for referring to them, I think. Unless one has that need, there's almost no motivation to go to the effort of writing information down, and devising a coherent system for relating that back to specific negatives. Essentially, it's a time management and systems problem. How much time do you want to spend creating documentation and creating a system to make it accessible? Very "detail oriented" people find the documentation a natural part of the process, while "free spirits" resist the idea.
Unless I'm working on a special project of some kind, like testing film/developer combinations, I seldom take notes about exposures. I use Post-it notes to designate development adjustments (or write on the Quickload sleeve), but seldom record anything more about the exposure.
If I need to make multiple prints of a negative, I use an overlay of tracing paper attached to the work print, marking the base exposure and filtration, paper and developer, along with outlining areas that are dodged or burned. I use + or - seconds for the overlay, and those times can be adjusted as needed between paper batches by keeping the ratios the same.
[COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]
Rio Rancho, NM
I have a little notebook I write things in. Basically it's for chemical and paper tracking. But I write down anything that might be of interest at the moment.
I also keep most of my work prints. If I need a note on the print it's best to have it on the print.
To say the least I had to train myself to do it. If I get out of the habit I'll start forgetting but since I do it all the time it just happens.