For those scenes, the neg may well have been under-exposed, or been allowed to gain too much contrast in development. Flashing will make it easier for you to get a tone in the area of the sky, but if the sky is plain on the negs then of course there won't be any detail to see in the sky areas. It could well also help in detail of the smaller branches against the sky and with any minor flare effects there.
A suggestion for a test strip for the flashing - cover a part of the long side of the strip, then you will have a reference of paper-white to compare to each exposure step.
marciofs, have a look at www.lesmcleanphotography.com. This is the website of the excellent photographer and darkroom worker, Les McLean. Under articles he has a page on flashing and fogging which has an example of what flashing can do. His example is very similar to your print.
He also has a book called Creative Black and White Photography which I would recommend you buy. Copies are available from Amazon or Allibris Books. The book is very good value and contains a lot of useful information on taking photographs, processing the film and making prints.
Yes it is in English but I think you will be able to read and understand it.
Sooner or later you will see, dodging and burning (and flashing) are more or less inevitable, wonderful tools and not difficult to use them in most cases either.
However, for these images I'd first try a soft-working developer, followed by a normal- or hard-working one. Since you live in Germany I'd advise you to make use of the excellent Tetenal developers: 2 minutes in working strength Centrabrom followed by 15-30 sec in Eukobrom or Dokumol. You could substitute these developers for any soft and normal/hard combinations; you could even mix the two developers into one, but this way you'll lose much of the available control. In the first, soft working developer a beautifully tonal, soft image will appear with calm highlights and significant shadow detail (if the negative contains it), then, in the harder working developer the shadows will gain punch: they will be anchored down to higher levels of density.
Super-easy and it should be great fun if you've never tried it.
Better to do an honest print. That's what photography IS. A library of clouds is cheating. Where do you draw the line? How about photoshopping in some clouds? How about not using a camera at all and just make up everything in Illustrator and photoshop? Seems like that's where everything is headed. Your print is a good one--it is honest, despite its flaws.
What do any of you guys think would have been the result if pyro had been used? Much change?
Little if any change because of Pyro per se. Compensating developers (including but not limited to most Pyro/Catechol staining developers) can compress highlight contrast depending on the film. But remember just because a straight print has blank highlights doesn't mean they are "blocked". Blocked highlights are highlights that have weak or no local contrast in the negative.
Last edited by Michael R 1974; 03-25-2013 at 08:01 PM. Click to view previous post history.
When I have a difficult image, I start out with relatively inexpensive RC paper. Being honest, I probably print on RC first the vast majority of the time. It will be a lot less expensive to experiment with the above good suggestions. Of course the final details of the exposure will not be the same, but you will fell much better about the pile of prints needed to get to your final image.
I agree on the lack of local contrast in this man's highlight area. He said he used a yellow filter for other reasons than just sky. But so often a "blue sky" isn't really blue in the sense that it can be moved down the scale by any filter. So, once again, the owner of the photo really has no complaint. It's as good a print as can be hoped for. As far as the detail missing in the tree's outer leaves, any breeze at all would have made those leaves mostly invisible for the moment the shutter was open. I don't think there's anything he CAN do. It is what it is.
I guess we'll just have to disagree . I wouldn't give up that easily on a contrasty negative if I felt the image was worth it and the negative held additional information. I think the prints posted by OP can definitely be improved.