Had a rather fruitless evening trying to print a not very cooperative neg. Basically its a shot of someone walking away from the camera towards a wall and into sunlight. Bottom half of the print is ok 20 secs, grade 4 (i'm using vc resin coated). The top half of the pic requires burning - the wall provides a straight line, but the head of the walker protrudes into the sky area, catching the sun. There's detail in the sky which looks ok - 60 secs at grade5. Because the wall provided a straight line to work with I tried cutting out a shape that I could use close to the print as a sort of mask. But I couldn't for the life of me burn the area without either darkening the head or the wall.
And there was a sizeable area in the top right corner (where the sunlight came from) which refused to darken (even after 200 secs grade 5).
Any advice please on how to improve my burning technique. And what about the top corner....would it darken if I used a different grade ?
Thanks in advance
The lower the grade of filter, the easier it is to burn in. Grade 5 makes it almost impossible, grade 4 not much better. Have you tried split printing? Start with a 0 to get your highlites, this will print any details on the neg in the highlite areas.Then go with the 5 to bring in the blacks, won't really affect the lights. You'll have to do 2 test strips. First strip to test for best time on 0 filter. Once you have the time for that, the whole 2nd strip is flashed at for that time on a 0 filter, then switch to the #5 and do the test strip method to determine the time for that filter.
Or you could flash your paper, that helps with the highlites too. There were a couple of threads earlier last month that would be of help. Try a search.
..thanks - should I treat the top corner as the highlight and expose for that ? wouldn't that make the rest of the print too dark (the bottom half of the neg I can already print ok) ? or do I still need to burn in the top corner...if so , do I do that during the 0 grade exposure ?
Yes, you can expose for the bottom as you have already done, then put in the 0 filter and burn in the top.
Split grade printing works slightly differently. You expose the whole negative on the 0 filter, start with a test strip, and determine a proper exposure for the highlights. Then expose the whole sheet for your highlights only, then put in the 5 filter, and do a test strip on the same sheet of paper. When you determine the proper exposure for both, you'll expose the next sheet with your 0 filter exposure, then change filters, and expose with the 5 filter. It's pretty easy, and you'll get the tone you need in the highlight area.
I guess I wasn't too clear(even after re-reading it myself). Like Suzanne says, you determine your exposure time to get the highlites you want with a #0 filter using a test strip. Once you have the time, expose a new test strip to the #0 filter at the time you think keeps the highlights, but has the detail you want. Then change to a #5 filter, and do the test strip process on the strip already exposed to the #0 filter (but not yet developed). Since a #5 filter effectly eliminates grays, it will bring in the blacks, without really affecting the whites, or I should say highlights. A #0 filter almost eliminates true whites and blacks, making everything a shade of gray.
This way you'll have #0 highlites with #5 blacks.
Last edited by rogueish; 02-02-2005 at 10:32 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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darkening that corner... maybe
Hello from a brand new member to this site. (GREAT site!)
I've used the split printing technique and agree that it should help with your frustrating negative. But if that top right corner still refuses to darken, here's a technique from "Darkroom Techniques vol.2, by Andreas Feininger" that may help. (I just read about it this morning so, I've have not tied it myself to say how it works).
He suggests you can give stubbornly light areas extra development to darken them. After the print has completed the normal development time, remove it from the developer, rinse it and apply undiluted developer to the area with a cotton swab of appropriate size. Use circular motions and apply more developer as necessary. Be careful of drips or runs on to adjacent areas. When your happy with the result. Continue with the stop bath and fix as usual.
I can see that, if the techniques bring up the latent image in that area, it would be superior to flashing. Has anyone else tried this?
Good Afternoon, Frank,
I've used the undiluted developer trick occasionally; it's not a cure-all, but it can help.
couple of similar tricks I learned from newspaper guys were to use hot developer applied locally, or to actually stick your hands in the tray and rub the hell out the area you were trying to get more development in. another was to pull the print out of the developer and use a hose to direct hot water onto the area....kinda hard to control though, but it does work to a degree.
first thing that came to my mind though, was to flash the paper or to locally flash the top section. works pretty good if the grade is high enough. I print glass plates like this at work all the time--print on a high grade and flash for the rest of the detail. split printing would work too, but the burn might be tough. good luck though.
Before trying the undiluted developer, hot developer, or fingers rubbing the area (all of which I have done in the past to extents greater than I would like to admit), I would suggest local flashing of the 'stubborn' highlights using a card with a hole and a 0 or )) filter setting (or 170Y).
Agreed with the split filter technique. Sounds as though you have a very contrasty negative, with the bottom in deep shadow and the top in bright sun. Part of your problem, I think, is that you began with a #4 grade filter. You're already beginning with a contrasty rendering of a contrasty subject, and then going to a more contrasty filter for the already over-bright part of the image. I think you'll find the split image way much easier to manage, but even with that, you may have to do some dodging or burning with one or both 0 and 5 filters.
Originally Posted by lewis
To add/lessen density, but not contrast, burn/dodge with both filters. To add/lessen contrast, burn/dodge with one or the other. A burn with the 0 filter will give you a less contrasty result, and vice versa.