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  1. #61

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    Nobody would pay a nickel to see Raphael Nadal play tennis with a net two inches high. Craftsmanship matters, the process matters, and overcoming difficulties matter.

  2. #62
    jstraw's Avatar
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    That's a lot to unpack.

    My interest is in creating silver gelatin prints. That's a personal choice. They are not intended to be understood as an objective representation of the physical world. The camera negative isn't a primary or an intermediate end. It's a tool used in furtherance of the production of the silver gelatin print. That's a personal choice. I choose to engage in a process that is analog and photo-chemical entirely, where the image is at no stage manipulated in a manner that employs computer algorithms. This also is a personal choice. I don't make that choice because doing otherwise would be a deception. The photograph is a subjective representation. Deception doesn't even enter into it as far as I'm concerned. I feel no contempt. It's just not how I choose to make images.
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. In velit arcu, consequat at, interdum sit amet, consequat in, quam.

  3. #63

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    There are a thousand different ways to interpret a "properly" exposed negative. It was Ansel Adams who used to lmake the analogy that
    the negative is only the score, while the print is the performance. About all I'd add to that, is that it's absolutely amazing what an abomination
    a junior high marching band can make out of even the most brilliant score!

  4. #64
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    This is an interesting thread. I've played with using a pencil on the back of my paper negatives for contact printing. Having the ability to also use an eraser was a big advantage! At the time I remember wondering about taking it further, for example using yellow and pink ( or magenta if such a thing exists ) highlighters to also work on the contrast for a VC print. I didn't want to put ink on the back of my paper negatives, so I didn't try it, but this is making me think about coloring on a transparency that could be sandwiched onto the contact print. The thing is that I usually split-grade print my contacts and burn like a regular print and it is a lot of fuss and work with test strips and setting up the contact each time... there is something appealing about having that work aiming toward a permanent mask that could be used to make the print repeatable and stored with it!

    The idea of having a set of masks that does all the dodging is pretty neat. Thanks for the examples!

    Question: any ideas about where to look for green/blue or yellow/magenta inks or paints that might be useful for experimenting with this? Would you mix pink ( i.e. partially red ) for partial dodging?
    Last edited by NedL; 11-01-2013 at 07:04 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Added question

  5. #65
    Rafal Lukawiecki's Avatar
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    I had the great pleasure of attending Alan Ross's 1:1 workshop, and we focused on masking a lot. I work with computers, so I preferred to focus on pencil masking, using both neutral, and coloured ones. The results were impressive, especially for dodging small areas. Alan has also showed me the preparation of an inkjet mask, which I hate to admit seemed easier than pencil and scissors if an area needed burning. I fully recommend anyone interested in this gets his article and kit: http://alanross.photoshelter.com/gal...000dZzCEfz5doo


    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Robert James View Post
    To address some of the above posts, in my experience (which is two decades worth FWIW) there doesn't need to be any diffusion plexi used. I have always placed the mylar (or whatever else was available including paper) directly above the glass of the negative carrier. My current enlarger is a Saunders 4550 and the mixing box for 35mm is a combined diffusion/single condenser (similar to a Leitz V35). The technique works fine without adding any diffusion. The glass of the negative carrier provides enough space that whatever you put on top of it will be out of focus.

    Interestingly, this was the main difference between masking as demonstrated by Alan (with plexi) and John Sexton (without, like Patrick Robert James explains). The without method seems to require more precision and does not seem to work as well with colour pencils, but they both work.

    Quote Originally Posted by edcculus View Post
    So purely from an analog standpoint. Could you take a peice of frosted mylar (or even thin paper), and draw your mask on the enlarged image, then place your mask directly on top of the paper for your dodge or burn exposure?
    Not quite, for reasons Michael mentioned and also the issue of how hard your tracing would end up printing. However, if you place that Mylar some distance above the paper, and you keep the tracing relatively fuzzy-edged, it can work, but it is a fussy technique. The opposite of it, however, where you cut out openings in a sheet of orange vinyl laid over Mylar over clear plexi over the paper is an excellent and an easy method for masked flashing. I learned this technique from John Sexton, and he seems to use it often.
    Rafal Lukawiecki
    See rafal.net | Read rafal.net/articles

  6. #66

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    Cheating???

    I think anything it takes to get a print you want is fair game. I spent a lot of time in the darkroom with Ansel, and I never saw him make "straight" print. The images always needed a little more light here, a little less there. He even bleached a print once when he couldn't get the high values to be as brilliant as he wanted. I have a negative from China that I could never print by myself because it needed simultaneous dodging in the areas that needed burning.

    I started formalizing my technique that I call Selective Masking in the late 1980's and first published it in ViewCamera magazine in the late '90's. I call it "selective" masking because it it purely personal - rather than being photometric like "unsharp" masking. I have the ability to lighten or darken any particular part of a subject - or even adjust local contrast. Carried to a desired degree, it can transform a difficult-to-print image into a button-push, with all the desired dodging and burning built in to a mask.

    With regard to a previous comment, the technique does not work with condenser enlargers, but WILL work with any diffusion enlarger - color-head, cold-light, etc. The negative carrier for masking requires a thin light-table-like diffuser in contact or near contact with the back of the negative between it and the light-source. Because condensers owe their efficiency to the fact that they project collimated rays of light through the negative, when you place a diffuser in the light path, effective light intensity is reduced by MANY stops and there are unevenness issues as well.

    If you would like more information on this technique, there is a blog on the topic on my website. It has completely changed my control of the printing process!

    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #67
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    I cheat by using a laser printer in conjunction with PS and print directly onto fibre base paper. By using all the tools in PS along with good scanning methods and then using wet , bleaching, toning to get the look I am after.

    I am also cheating by making enlarged custom negatives to size on silver film and then contact printing onto silver , pt pd , gum and carbon. This allows me to work with digital capture and produce alternative prints, which btw silver is now an alternative.

    I have alos cheated by using colour correction filters in my hands , dodging tools, burning tools to adjust colour areas, enhance colour areas.

    I have cheated by using the contour mapping system on large film in the past by making layers of tissue over areas of an image that need dodging, I have also put cut out filters in areas to increase contrast in areas of a print. The trick is to be very careful.

    My first job was at a custom portrait studio where my old boy would cheat by using the red liquid to dodge areas that needed to be lightened.

    In my Cibachrome days, I was hired to cheat by making complex highlight protection/contrast reducing masks which is something that I think the best Cibachrome printers all had to be able to do to survive.

    I also could cheat by using duraclear or fujiclear in my Ra 4 process and make separation negatives to help build up or reduce areas of density... I think this is somewhat like what is being discussed by using pictorico and ink on film, to be used with a negative. These two methods I have not used btw as I am working with silver film to do the same thing.

    It seems I have been cheating my whole career, please do not tell my wife.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Ross View Post
    If you would like more information on this technique, there is a blog on the topic on my website. It has completely changed my control of the printing process!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Wow. That's impressive. Took a look at your site Alan. Thinking about subscribing.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  9. #69

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    Sorry for the delay in responding to the queries! A lot of traveling and distractions. Masking won't work in a condenser enlarger because the condenser enlarger gets its efficiency from the directional focused light projected through the condensers. If you place a diffuser (essential for Selective masking) under the condensers you lose so much light intensity/efficiency that it makes the technique essentially unuseable.

  10. #70

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    OK, I have not got into any masking yet as I generally have not felt the need. But I do have a "problem" negative I need to address. Basically, I have an area of unevenness in the sky down the entire left hand side of the neg, it shows up as an ever so slight difference in sky density. I have not actually taken a density reading yet but I am willing to bet it would need a 5-10% increase or reduction in exposure to make it even, it looks to be about 1/3rd of a stop.

    Would there be a way to mask this? The big problem is that it is rather hard edged so it will have to be fairly precise. I'm totally new to this and it seems the perfect candidate for some form of mask...
    "I'm the freak that shoots film. God bless the freaks!" ~ Mainecoonmaniac ~

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