I am not certain: on page 5 of Nicholas's paper he refers to both MGIV and Polymax. However, even though the last page of his paper specifically calls out MGIV MG RC, the gamma curves on page 6, generalised for 3-emulsion VC papers, show a double-dip in contrast when extreme 00 grade is used. I do not know if Nicholas intended this graph to be generalised, or how he has arrived at that model, but my experience, with MGIV WT, rather than MGIV MG RC, agrees with his findings, as it does with Bob's experience. All of that could be a coincidence, and I would welcome your more detailed analysis, very much.
Originally Posted by ic-racer
I appreciate, ic-racer, your challenging my thinking, however, as I fully agree with your point, and I think my earlier post did so too, I do not think there was an incorrect logic in my words. May I respectfully ask that you review my post #44 on this thread, and if you have the time, also post #49 of this LFPF thread, in which I explained my thinking in more detail.
Originally Posted by ic-racer
Indeed, I fully agree with you that once grade 1, or a higher filtration, in any colour system and by any means, split or not, has been applied, the curve straightens considerably, and this issue only affects the extreme grades of 00 and 0, and, as I mentioned in my earlier posts, not the final result that would have been achieved with an additional exposure—such as grade 5 added in a split-grade scenario. The point which I was trying to elaborate, perhaps ineffectively, was about a seemingly illogical progression of that problematic mid-tone, when it has been first laid using 00 alone, as observed by the worker, who later moves on to using a higher grade—for example: if you had printed a test sheet, as done in split-printing, using 00 alone, and another one, using grade 1, and if you happened to be lucky to have a picture rich in that problematic mid-tone, you would find that it did not differ, as you had expected, between sheet 00 and sheet 1, while the remainder of the print changed. In extreme, for a very soft, high-key print, it could be interpreted as the look that Bob has described.
Thank you, very much indeed, for helping me understand this issue in more detail, and I would be very grateful if you could let me know if you think my logic continues to disagree with yours, as I greatly appreciate your experience.
One of the first tests I make my associates here do is take a basically normal neg with a very known neutral grey area and make a print at a middle filter like a #2
Then spend an afternoon matching that print or more importantly making the known neutral grey area match with each filter, including the 1/2 grades.
from 00 to 5.
by doing this you get a practical laymans visual version rather than a scientifice plotted graph version of what each filter does.
You can also do this to to match a dichroic head to the Ilford filters if you have two types of enlargers at your disposal.
by doing this you will get a handle of density , and how it is affected by the filters.
Also you will actually see what each filter can add to the equation.
Immediately if you are using Ilford Warmtone you will see that if you are relying on the 00 or 0 filter for the highlights you are leaving a lot of wonderful tonality on the table.
Unfortunately I cannot write out exactly how it all comes together as each negative has its on lighting vocabulary that is critical to how you start and what filter to start with... Christopher .. you are getting a lot of good advice here from a lot of people , I think myself included.
Unfortunately with all good advice we are not in your darkroom while you are trying to figure it out so take a lot of all the advice with a grain of salt.
You need to figure it out yourself,,, lighting ratio,, development procedures for different lighting ratios, then a printing workflow that you repeat time after time.
If the print looks good , compared to what you see of other printers you respect , then its good.
If you gave the same negative to 10 different people responding here, and asked them to print it to their best ability's, you will find most likely 10 very different versions.. ALL GOOD, It would be up to you to then decide which version is the best... now try telling the others you think their prints are of less quality and a storm will brew.
At the first APUG conference we had a show of over 18 well know printmakers who presented their best work .. to most peoples surprise not one artists work stood out from the rest. We had AZO , PT PD , Carbon, Silver, Bromoils , Dag's, Lith Prints , InkJet, prints on the wall and this was an eye opener for me... I for one came away from that experience understanding a bit more about perceived quality..
Another way to look at his print quality thing is to visit a collector/archive that has world class prints from past masters and current workers.
Look at the work , rather than read about the work.. you may conclude that a lot of discussion is just bullshit.
Paul Paletti Gallery in Louisville Kentucky has a very lovely collection of current and past workers, just walking through his space is an eye opener because you will see original prints in such a variety that you cannot but think that a lot of what we write about the past workers is crap.
Why do I say this?? Amongst Paul's collection I still think the two best prints IMHO were one by Brett Weston ( pretty obvious choice) but the print
that moved me the most by leaps and bounds was a Gary Winogrand (World's Fair, New York 1964) Women sitting on park bench. Probably not printed by the photographer and really not a person you would consider able to make a great print.
My point is that once you get to a certain level with your printing , stop looking at your navel, graphs will not help you out, specialized timers will not help you out,
specialize developers will not help you out, and to the topic split printing will not help you out, as these are only tools,, great imagery will always trump technique.
so spend some time learning some basic principles, let your eyes be the boss, and have fun,
Could not have said it better myself. I don't consider myself an expert at all (always a learner), but I have not read a single book on printing technique, neither have I taken any workshops or had any formal training. I have asked questions from those I respect, and taken advice and my own eyes into the darkroom with me, and worked it all out on my own. Printing other people's negatives has also taught me a lot.
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
Usually my prints are perceived as very well crafted. Now, if I could only learn better how to make outstanding imagery I'd be really happy about my photography...
"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
I still think for a beginner, it can be very helpful to get some of the basics from a good intro book because it can help the student to get a sort of "framework" for approaching the print in some kind of logical and methodical way, and learn to think like the paper.
The problem with getting basic advice from all of us here is while it may all be good, it's all at least slightly different, and as I go back over this thread I find it fairly confusing from the perspective of a beginner who needs to start with the very basics.
I'm not suggesting one needs to read huge books. But going to the library and finding a copy of The Print from the old Time Life photo series would, in my opinion, be extremely helpful to any beginner starting to print either on graded or VC papers. Easy to read, and not very lengthy. Or, one could even begin with some of the easy-to-read, basic packages both Ilford and Kodak have available on their websites.
I've been kind of a broken record on this thread so I'll stop now....
I found Eddie Ephrams books== gradient light and creative elements as great books for the kind of printmaking that I do.
Michael your points are very valid to the OP from my perspective anyways.
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
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Well, either way I'm just glad any time there's action in the Enlarging Forum!
Wonderful advice, Bob, and one I must follow more. Nothing beats own practice.
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
One very good sign is that Christopher is, at least, clearly observing differences between poor, good, and better prints. In this world where it is hard to find personal sources for learning, one of the hardest things to acquire is a sense of when print improvements are needed, and more importantly, what they actually look like.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
Your Thoughts? 1st time trying split grade...
I'm very thankful for all the advice and suggestions given, at the very least its made me think about things further and open up a few more avenues of research, and also realize how much I need to learn.
It is confusing getting so many opinions, some which are easy to understand, and some which are so highly scientific that my eyes glaze over and my brain becomes grape jelly. But the nice thing is that I now have this wonderful thread to refer to as I learn more and more, and I'm sure most things that I don't understand now, will become clear as it all starts making sense.
I'm planning to spend the day in Valerie's darkroom in the next few weeks, and she's going to help me grasp some if the basics. I'll report back after that and let y'all know how it's going.
I think that it is one of the beauties of APUG that thanks to the diversity of its members' backgrounds there are so many ways to explain a concept, or solve a problem. We all think and work differently, some prefer more intuition and practice and others like to get a feel for the underlying theory. I'm fairly new to film testing and plotting curves, but as a person who appreciates formulas, numbers, and logic, I find that the curves and testing have greatly helped me understand the holistic nature of the tone reproduction process. Prior to that, I was quite happy practicing by feel, with whatever precious feedback I could get.
Sometimes we get too attached to our own way of thinking, I suppose, and you may see a bit more heat coming through some arguments, than needed. Enjoy the path, don't be afraid to ignore what doesn't feel right but brave some ideas even if they may require a bit of work to follow through.