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  1. #71

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    Putting rapid decision making in practice, so far, I have 5 sheets in trash and I did that in last 45 minutes!
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  2. #72
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Trash bin will be your friend.

    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    Putting rapid decision making in practice, so far, I have 5 sheets in trash and I did that in last 45 minutes!

  3. #73
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    Putting rapid decision making in practice, so far, I have 5 sheets in trash and I did that in last 45 minutes!
    Well, if it's not a step in the right direction, at least it doesn't sound like a step backwards...

    Have you come up in your mind with a concept of "least noticeable difference"?

    At Grade 2, I call it 1/3 stop exposure. Sure if I were to critically examine, I may see a difference closer than that. But in terms of self-direction - that's where I say "I want that" versus the step next to it.

    I am afraid at Grade 4 it is more like 1/6 stop or possibly less. So that's why I like to aim for Grade 2.

    Lootens gave a good tip: Make test strips significantly darker and lighter than you want. Include a two minute test exposure when your chosen time might be 30 seconds. Then you can be sure that you gave yourself all the possibilities to choose from.

    I particularly like Ralph's suggestion to move the paper as you make test strips so you can see how the times affect important image areas (instead of the easier "move the cardboard" type test strip where only one strip covers the subject and it's probably wrong).

  4. #74

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    Bill,

    No... It bothers me if the exposure was 1/3 stop off in critical areas. especially in skin tone in portrait. In some areas, it just doesn't matter....

    I tend to print with grade 2 to 3 most of the time, depending on paper. I tend NOT to like images with too much contrast and in-your-face kind of bold printing. My images tend to be soft and gentle and that starts form the subjects I pick.

    I actually have Ralph's local area test strip maker but I don't use it. I find I can get close enough without it and by the time I'm looking at density in relation to near by areas and/or evaluating the print as a whole, it really doesn't help me.

    Last night's rapid decision making session was somewhat of a success. I got two good prints out of it that aren't 100% right but within the margin of very good enough. That's without toning but I can only take one step at a time. I produced the same amount of trash but did so in shorter time. Which I guess is an improvement.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  5. #75

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    Here's a question....

    In this rapid decision making stuff, problem I encounters are delicate highlights. The kind that's barely there. These gentle highlights disappears completely when the paper isn't dry. I can't tell the difference between paper base white and light exposure. If I exposed it to a point it's there, it's often too dark. It also changes appearance when it's completely dry and pressed. Hair dryer doesn't dry well enough to make the final call.

    How do you masters deal with this?
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  6. #76
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I'm hardly a master, but I sometimes use bleach after I am done printing to adjust small things that bug me.
    Check out YouTube, and search for 'Bruce Barnbaum Bleaching'. I have a piece of plexi glass that I lean at a 45 degree angle, to which a wet print sticks. I keep running water around (ready to be applied to the print at any time via a hose), and a tray of fixer. I gently work the areas that need bleaching with a fine paint brush, and after a few small adjustments rinse the entire print and fix again to make the action permanent. It's kind of like reverse spotting.
    It takes a lot of guesswork and some frustration out of the printing, and allows you to make small adjustments after the print is fixed.

    Often times, however, like Bob says, I try not to sweat the very minute details too much. In reality, however, that just means that we're different, and since you say you're bothered with very small differences in, for example, skin tone, you are likely more critical about the printing results than most - in which case you have to accept that your success rate in the darkroom will be perceived lower, and re-work ratio much higher. More critical = more work to get to the end result of a print that satisfies your senses. All this that you're going through may simply be a side-effect of being highly critical of your own output and you have to either learn to live with it, or relax your standards. In the end, as you practice, you will become a better printer. At the same time, you may or may not become more critical, because the more you know the more you notice.
    I think there is a slight distinction to be made here - like a type A and B scenario. A focus on the pictures almost entirely and don't worry so much about how they're printed, and B are the opposite. Of course there are those who care about both, as each of us have a component of each baked into our personality. The rare combination is to be a great photographer, making great photographs, is great at editing, and then knows how to really make it happen at the printing stage.

    Finally, if you haven't already, I recommend looking up Gene Nocon's f-stop printing. Perhaps not incredibly revolutionary, but it does teach us a lot about print interpretation, and had people like Yousuf Karsh asking what Gene's secret was. Now that is something to be flattered by, since Karsh and his printer were hardly slouches, but critical of their work.
    "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

  7. #77
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Highlight detail is critical to nail,,, a simple method that I use and know Les McLean uses as well is a slight flash to establish tone to separate from paper white... but also most important is to burn in with a grade 5... yes counterintuitive but a great tool.

    In any highlight region there are less bright tones that with the grade 5 and a burn you start darkening detail that is not white, which in effect has the ability to fool the eye into thinking there is detail... I see so many people burning in with 00 until the highlights look like mud.
    I do the exact opposite and use the 5 filter to define detail within the highlights and our eyes will fill in the rest.. a little flash may also make a tone which is great.
    here in Canada I print a lot of snow scenes.. due to our northern position and a grade 5 burn is necessary to make snow alive in the print

    Our eyes are amazing at filling in gaps if you give them just enough information.

    Beach scenes with white sand would be another sample of a type of image that needs grade 5 burn... Just for you southerners eh.
    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    Here's a question....

    In this rapid decision making stuff, problem I encounters are delicate highlights. The kind that's barely there. These gentle highlights disappears completely when the paper isn't dry. I can't tell the difference between paper base white and light exposure. If I exposed it to a point it's there, it's often too dark. It also changes appearance when it's completely dry and pressed. Hair dryer doesn't dry well enough to make the final call.

    How do you masters deal with this?

  8. #78

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    Bob,

    Thanks a lot. That 00 and 5 *thing* always confused me when it comes to using it to burn in.

    Grade 00 will cause shadow to build up density slowly where highlight builds up the same as #2, correct? Grade 5 will cause shadow to build up density much faster where highlight again builds up the same as #2.

    So if I burn with 00, the whole area will build up the density with detail becoming less and less.
    If I burn with 5, the shadow ill build up much faster so the difference between highlight and shadow become more and more.

    Did I get that right?

    Thomas:
    Yes, I know about bleaching but I'd like to get my printing as close as I can to what I want first. Thanks though.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  9. #79
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Yes you did grasshopper.

    You can get detail with the lower filter but after a while it will just start looking like mud.
    This is where the current VC Papers and Graded of Past differ. When there was only graded paper getting good highlight detail was always a lot of burning in and you always would see a softening/ muddying up of the highlights because of fixed grade issues.
    I love graded paper , don't get me wrong, but this is a real dealbreaker improvement with the new papers.

    by using the 5 you will create local contrast and sharper looking highlights as you describe.
    I suggest burning with both depending upon your needs,
    I look for slight difference between the white under the easel blades and lets say a white sky, the moment I see the line of the blades is when wet I stop. Same goes for snow.

    I burn in with 5 on all prints, not all prints get a burn in with the lower filter.

    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    Bob,

    Thanks a lot. That 00 and 5 *thing* always confused me when it comes to using it to burn in.

    Grade 00 will cause shadow to build up density slowly where highlight builds up the same as #2, correct? Grade 5 will cause shadow to build up density much faster where highlight again builds up the same as #2.

    So if I burn with 00, the whole area will build up the density with detail becoming less and less.
    If I burn with 5, the shadow ill build up much faster so the difference between highlight and shadow become more and more.

    Did I get that right?

    Thomas:
    Yes, I know about bleaching but I'd like to get my printing as close as I can to what I want first. Thanks though.

  10. #80

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    Wipe on.... wipe off...
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?



 

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