Lots o' feelings and philosophies here. Ain't photography grand?
A very small percentage of my work I like a lot. When I print one of these "winners", I work it over as long as it takes to make my ideal print of the image, at 8x10. I create, verbally, the same info as on the "maps" discussed. The info is very much like the Deane image, but usually not to that extent. Mine is verbal, because it's in a database, in my own notation, and, as Ralph points out, it saves me a lot of time when printing a final print - later and at a larger size, with the 8x10 as a guide. I scan the 8x10, and use the scan to submit for competitions and shows, which almost all require today. It's my system, and it works for me.
True, in the future, I may feel differently about the printing and may not follow these notes verbatim, but they are a record of what I did, along with film exp and dev data.
As to the extent of the "massaging" of the image, the difference from a simple printing approach is no doubt lost on many who see my prints, but it is me that I'm satisfying. It's also quite rewarding when another photographer, when seeing one of my prints in a show, says to me that he can't believe the detail captured in the low values. The detail is there because of split printing, selective dodging, then re-exposing with a different filter, etc. This can lead to a great discussion, and so on.
I can relate to the finessing of the sky, as noted above, to blend off to the border, I've done it, along with working other parts of the edges, to avoid what one famous photographer (don't remember who) once called "sucking energy from the focus of the image", or something like that.
Not arguing with anyone here, but who would expect us all to approach printing the same way?
I'm sure you do as many others with sincerity, good use and purpose. This should not be confused with some who pedal bullshit.
Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
> but mine are recorded in f/stops
That ist the right way. (Parts of) f/stops can be applied to another print size and even - to some degree - to another type of paper.
I find this thread very bizarre but I sure don't find those print maps very bizarre. I have seen much more complicated ones, but I am sworn to secrecy.
The prints are good. That is all that matters.
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That's some very down to earth words. As long as the prints are good... Thanks.
Originally Posted by Patrick Robert James
"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
Here's last night's "Print Map".
The way this print map differs from my earlier ones is the thought process that led me to dodge. I had planned a straight print and was going to take it as-is.
The K-ohms notation are from my Jerry-rigged light sensor connected to an ohm-meter, lower readings correspond to brighter light output.
I made one test strip and found that 40 seconds was just not enough. So I made an additional "single exposure" test strip at 50 seconds (during which time the meter read 425, 420, 418).
The 50 second print looked good so I made an 11x14 at 50 seconds straight, no dodging (during which time the meter read 431, 423, 417, 415).
In the fixer, it was easy to see that important highlights were significantly hot, so I decided I wanted 2/3 stop more exposure overall (If it was just a little hot I would have made 1/3 stop change).
Since I was running out of seconds on my 60 second timer, I changed from f/11 to f/8 and set the timer to 40.
Then, looking at the fixing print, I noticed that two parts of the print... Upper left and most of the lower area... were close to what I want. Shadows could stand to be deeper, but not 2/3 stop deeper as I was giving the main exposure.
So I marked them for a 1/3 stop dodge (in the series it's 8 seconds dodge).
I checked the enlarger light one last time before making the final print and of course the bulb was warming up - getting brighter. So at the last moment I changed from 40 to 32 base exposure, and 8 seconds to 7 seconds dodging.