I would certainly acknowledge that what Clay says correlates to my own experience with sheet films - it is perhaps worth noting that totally blocked highlights are much more likely to be achieved with 35 mm T-grain films than with "old" technology sheet films (not to mention the enthusiast's favorite Technical Pan).
I entirely agree, too, that apparently hopelessly dense highlights can be made to print, even if they are a long way up the CC, as long as they are not right on the top of the shoulder. In my youth I worked at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and occasionally had to print wet-plate negatives from the 1860s (any size up to 12x15"). The guys in those days used to time their exposures by the number of pots of tea drunk! Sometimes I could not see what was on a negative, even holding it up to a 2 k spotlight. In most cases, however, the negative would print reasonably with an exposure on a contact box of 5 to 10 minutes (normal neg = 15 seconds).
I think, though, one trap to avoid is to think that exposing and developing film and paper the standard way is too plebeian and that a more abstruse method is more creative. I knew someone once who had a new Leica (high-contrast lens) and shot on T-Max 400 with standard speed rating and processing (T-Max dev.). She then coped with the resulting very fancy blocked highlights by routinely using waterbath print development, which took forever, whereas a simple extra stop on the film exposure and n-1 development would not only have been far easier but technically better, too. I knew somebody else who would always use studio lighting which was too contrasty and was then forever experimenting with different film developers to knock the contrast down again - the cheap and quick answer would have been to fire the lights through a scrim and use a card reflector as a fill, but he wouldn't listen!
The characteristic curves of Tmax 100, Tmax 400, and Technical Pan as published by Kodak don't seem to indicate this condition of blocked highlights (shouldering) being attributable to the film.
Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
I could say that perhaps the processing procedures may require greater controls to assure that the negative density range does not exceed the exposure scale of the paper. That, however, would be a limitation based on the characteristic of the paper and not a characteristic of the film.
I don't find this to be the case, provided one takes the time to determine the characteristics of the materials and then works within their limitations.
Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
Originally Posted by Eric_Fr
RH Designs Flasher makes flashing paper very easy. I struggled with flashing until I purchased this useful tool about three years ago.
No need to muck about with filters with Flasher as the light source does not come from the enlarger. Flasher is a self-contained easily controllable diffused light source which can be used at a fixed height or waved about in a creative way over the paper.
All the best,
Not quite sure I understand the "vs" in the subject. I use both techniques (in my inexpert, bumbling way) but to achieve quite different things.
Split grading I use when I wish to precisely place both the highlights and shadows in a print, *just* retaining the detail in each. The print may end up hard or soft, depending on the effect I wish to achieve. In theory, the same result could be obtained by using *exactly* the right contrast grade for *exactly* the right time; split grading just makes it easier to arrive at this.
Flashing I use when the contrast recorded by the film exceeds that which can be held on the paper. By overcoming the "inertia" of the paper it allows the print to be made at a higher contrast grade without losing detail in highlights or shadows. The higher grade stops the print from appearing flat / muddy.
I've done each individually and both combined (in an utter swine of a waterfall shot, which turned out beautifully (by my inexacting standards) in the end).
That's my understanding. I welcome correction if I'm out to lunch! (Cue Les?!)
I haven't got an RH Designs flasher (I built my own driven from my enlarger timer out of an IKEA table lamp, a switchable 4-gang, a kettle plug and a lot of gaffer tape!) but have a few of their other products and would recommend *anything* they make if the budget'll stretch!
All the best,
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
In essence split grading and pre-post flashing are different and sometimes complimentary techniques. I used flashing for the first time a few years ago becasue I had to; split grading did not give me the qualities I needed in small blocked areas. Using pre flash and split grading as Les says using a harder grade, I can get all the detail and contrast I could wish for. One just has to be careful that the print does not loseits sparkel and become a little flat.
I agree with David H , I use flashing the paper as an absolute last step if required,
It seems that the only times that I am concerned with flashing is when I am going to Bleach tone the print afterwards and the slight flash will be bleached away in the very brightest of highlights. Otherwise I use split contrast printing , dodging and burning to achieve the results I am after.
In the past I have made a enlarged highlight mask and flashed through this mask. This way keeping modulation throughout the upper highlights. A lot of work for little gain.
I would like to thanks everybody for their answer.
Until now, I just used split grade printing (learn with Les book and Way beyond monochrome book) and I'm quite happy with this technique. I have improve my print a lot with the split grade technique.
My question was just to know if there is other way to improve again the print and flashing technique seems interesting.
I understand both techniques but less which one to choose when you are in front of your negative.
I use split grade technique when I have a contrasty negative because like Les explain it look like a mask when you use hard filtration and after with soft filtration you can record highlight detail.
But it seems that other use flashing in this case too :
"Flashing I use when the contrast recorded by the film exceeds that which can be held on the paper".
Other used the both methods on same print :
- Can you in this case explain in detail your process ( split grade first or pre-flash, post-flash) ?
I use masked flashing so whatever contrast I'm using for the general exposure, I go with. I think the point is to just raise the sensitivity of the paper to receive the light -- even the safelight will do that if you leave your paper out too long.