Look at this thread
and pay particular attention to the posts by Bob Carnie.
I would call him the Yoda of all things printing, but Yoda is taller!
Thanks Dinesh... Yeah I read some of that thread, and more so, near the end, when Bob chimed in. I'm actually going to visit the gallery in Louisville in a month or so, to see of that work there as well.
Thanks Dinesh I may be as tall as Yoda , but you are as ugly.
I look at split filter, or I like to call modified filter printing in a very funny but simple way..
Remember the days when there were no MC papers and all papers were graded
now imagine making a series of prints on different grades. You will find that more than one grade can make a successful print.
1. one would be soft and gentle with very low shadow tones
2. another would be great for the mid tones with problems at both ends
3. another would have great contrast in the shadows but the highlights would be blown out.
Now imagine being able to control all three aspects with a printing method, and this is where the split, modified method works..
With some creative thinking you can layer the best of 1,2,3 and with some imagination hold back or burn in to create a print that is not possible with 1 filter. No matter what anyone says on this subject , I have confidence to know how to juggle all three areas and end up with a print that IMO is superior to a single filter print.
I know this due to thousands of past prints , using both methods... Yes I do use single filter prints and yes I do use graded paper.
If one is capable as some here claim to make a negative that fits into the graded papers sweet spot then I will agree that one does not need to use split filtering.
I would argue that this would have to be a grade somewhere in the middle and be a normal looking print balance, with the right photo project totally correct.
In the real world that I am subjected too, I work with clients that cannot master the single negative, single grade paper, and quite frankly have no desire to do this.
There fore I use a modified filter method which allows me to get out of a negative a print the photographer visualizes.
I tend to start with a filter that is lower, and end up with the higher filter.... I never use 0 or 00 as a starting point, but rather tend to be around 1/2 or 1 filter as
the starting point.
I also use a % method of printing .. I do not change the timer or aperture once the base filter exposure has been determined. but rather hit the timer , once, twice , four, times with the second filter exposure to control the contrast.
I don't think anyone is disagreeing here. As I've said, split filtering and single filtering at an intermediate grade, are equivalent as long as there are no differences in local exposure control (ie different burning and dodging actions) during each of the split exposures. If different grades of contrast are required for different areas of the print, then obviously split filtering is different than using a single filter.
Pfiltz - I strongly suggest starting with the Ilford link I posted earlier.
I disagree with them being equivalent as you dodge and burn in both methods so take that out of the equation. or consider that dodging and burning is a given .
I may end up closing this thread due to the next comments
It is common practice in PS to curve shape all three main regions,Highlight, Midtones, Shadows by making layers , creating a curve that best takes care of each region.
Each area is maximized and has a different curve shape, then one flattens and prints... I am implying that one singe curve shape does not equal the method of apply three distinct curve shapes.
This is what I believe and have observed happening with using multiple filters on the enlarger.. to the point that I can mimic prints made either way to an critical factor.
Pfiltz - I strongly suggest starting by making some prints with both methods and see for yourself which one suits your immediate needs.
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
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Bob, in the original post to this thread, and the previous thread on this topic, no burning and dodging were done. Under those conditions, nothing is gained or lost by either using a single filter or multiple filters.
Obviously in the examples you are giving, where different parts of the print need different contrasts, this cannot be done with one filter. I use multiple filters all the time in this context, so I'm not trying to contradict anyone here.
The reason I directed OP to the Ilford paper has nothing to do with advocating for or against the split grade technique. I'm doing it because in each instance the original post signals some basic VC "foundations" would be of value. It helps to know which filters do what, etc. The Ilford paper is a good intro, without getting into unnecessary technical detail.
Said another way, people seem to often be putting the cart before the horse.
I have been watching what Plfitz has been posting lately, seems that he is trying his/her hand at multiple filter printing.
As you I sometimes use single filters and sometimes multiple,, most times in my case its more than one filter.
I remember the days of burning in highlights or being forced to lower contrast.. or seeing very flat prints with lousy blacks.- this being the printers curse
Those days seem to be gone for me.
I agree that Plfitz should get a handle of each filter first before moving to a seemingly more complicated multiple filter method.. I have posted many times over the years
my method, which may or may not work in others darkrooms.
One thing that I will say... the Dodging Tool seems to be the most underrated tool . In my Darkroom it the weapon of mass destruction.. the main tool, with burning in a close second.. Without this tool I do not think I can make certain types of prints.
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
I use split grade alot. Les McLean's elegant explanation made it clear for me. I like the control it gives me over burning and dodging for my "maybe this could go in my portfolio" prints.
The postcard exchange? We're talking small prints that are going to be scratched and banged up in the mail. Pick a negative you like, that doesn't take a lot of burning and dodging or other fiddling to print well.
Read up on split grade, then try it with a negative you are having a hard time printing with a single filter. My eureka moment was an image of water splashing over black rocks. Burning and dodging the dark shadows on the rocks and the splashes and specular highlights of water and wet rocks was driving me nuts, and making baaaad prints. Split grade got that neg under control, and taught me how and when to use split grade.
No disagreement there. I do more burning than dodging, but either way, local control is a powerful tool.
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
The other thing I always try to clarify is that what is typically referred to as "split grade" (ie hardest and softest) is nothing more than a specific type of split filtering.
Appreciate all the input.
Postcard Exchange? Why would I bother with split grade printing for a postcard exchange? I see no coloration to not trying to produce the best print whether it be a 5x7 postcard, or a 40x60 print.
I "think" I may have it in my head as to what filter effects what with regard to highlights and shadows.
I don't mind d/b, and to be honest it's easier for me, than trying to see the print in reverse on the board, and trying to figure out which filter to apply and possibly in what order...
I might be biting off more than I can chew right now. Sooooooo I guess for now, I may stick with one filter for this postcard, and basically d/b where needed to get me to the desired final print.
Pretty interesting stuff though, I have to say.