another split grade question
I learned split grade printing from Les McClean and I'm a bit confused. Does it make a difference which grade you expose for first? Iknow it's suppose to be soft then hard but does it make any difference?
If you learned from Les, than you learned to do the soft exposure first.
PS: it's McLean ...
I learned from Les as well and it's as David said. But I also think in the long run it really doesn't matter.
I think the argument for doing the soft exposure first is that the hard exposure then does not affect the highlights very much. As opposed to doing the hard exposure first the next exposure with the soft grade will make your blacks blacker. I found this to be mostly true. Each negative is unique though and I base my decision on which grade to use first based on the negative. If you do the hard exposure first try exposing for 1/3 stop less than the strip that gives you first sign of black. Then the next soft filter exposure will bring them down to where you want them.
I usually start with the soft exposure, but if I am printing something like a high key portrait or a scene in fog, it works better to start with the high contrast first.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
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In Lambrecht, Woodhouse Way Beyond Monochrome 2e they put the curves of soft/hard and hard/soft exposures, the conclusion is, quoted from the book:
They have a lot more to tell about split grade, so is a good ideia to get a copy of the book.
Indeed as you might expect, the contrast/exposure graph is
identical to that in fig.6, dispelling the myth that the
order of exposures makes a visible difference.
If you are printing with a large coldlight head, the temperature and light intensity of the second exposure are altered by the first exposure. There are a lot of ways to work around this problem (compensating timers, heaters, stabilizers, below the lens shutter, etc) One simple solution is to always do the same color first in the exposure sequence.
Originally Posted by NewMexican
It all depends on the contrast of the neg. If it's a contrasty/normal neg then I find soft exposure first is the best way to go. If it's a soft neg, better to determine the blacks first.
Norman is an island.Time and tide wait for Norman.
The order of exposure makes no difference whatsoever when making the final print.
When making test strips it is best to determine the dominant exposure first.
For low contrast negatives (making a high contrast print) first determine the high contrast (magenta) exposure for the desired shadows, then find the right exposure for the highlights with the low contrast filter.
Conversely, for high contrast negatives (low contrast print) first determine the low contrast (yellow) exposure for the highlights, then move on to the shadows.
The reason for this is that the dominant exposure will have an effect on the other end of the tonal scale: A long high contrast/shadows (magenta) exposure will have some effect on the highlights, but the short low contrast/highlights (yellow) exposure will have no effect on the shadows; A long low contrast (yellow) exposure will have some effect on the shadows but the shorter shadow (magenta) exposure won't effect the highlights.
Experienced photographers often find themselves making lower contrast negatives (slightly overexposed and underdeveloped) and higher contrast prints. Generous film exposure is always a good idea. But, just as importantly, is the increase in linearity of the HD curve at higher contrast grades. Low contrast MG filtration invariably has flat spots in the curve, leading to poor detail in certain tones. If you print at -1 or 0 then you will find that detail disappears in the middle/dark greys - there is just a pool of fog where detail should be.
For more information on this see the Darkroom Automation application note:
As for cold-light heads, well, they are just a can of worms when it comes to this issue. To keep prints consistent it is best to keep the head on all the time - only turn it off for loading the paper and while the paper is in the developer. This keeps the lamp hot (so much for 'cold' light ... of course, if you kept an incandescent head on all the time there would be a distinct smell of burning insulation after a while). Incandescent heads have a slight drift as they warm up - light output increases by about 0.05 stops over a period of a few minutes.
Last edited by Nicholas Lindan; 02-11-2014 at 02:44 PM. Click to view previous post history.
First off for me, what ic-racer said re cold light heads (I use the Arristo V54 lamp).
Also, since the hard filter doesn't affect the highlights as much as the reverse (if at all) I use the soft filter first to nail highlights. And, if there isn't adequate separation in the highlights themselves, I may not use the softest filter for them.
When the highlights are established, I test for the deepest values, again adjusting time and filter choice. Varying the time for the hardest filter (which I try first, with the soft filter exposure already made) controls how far up into the shadow range the full black value goes. Sometimes I choose one or two filters down from the hardest, for the hard exposure, just to control this separation in the ranges below Z5.
Am I explaining myself?