Help for newbie with burning
Hello everyone, I have a stupid question. I am pretty new at enlarging and I am still confused about some of the mechanics. The picture above on one side is a straight print with what I thought was the best exposure for the statue and on the second I tried to burn the background significantly.mmI took my test strip print and cut out the silhouette do the statue, espoused my basic exposure and then did another exposure while holding the cut out slightly above the paper and slightly shaking the cutout while the enlarger was on. my question is if this is the correct way of burning the area and how do you avoid the halo that I ended up with.
Second question is if you know of a book that explains this basic technics.m I just got a book on printing technic he's filled with really cool prints and printing diagrams but no illustrations of how to actually hold your hands to dodge etc, etc. the duck bill and duck's ass reference were not very helpful.
thanks in advance.
Doing the silhouette thing does work but after about 2/3 stop of burning, you will start to see a halo. You obviously gained some exposure on the statue as well so maybe try adding some cardboard to the cutout.
You could start with a half stop of burning just the edges. Take a card, cut a sawtooth pattern in one side, and use that to burn. Then try the cut out.
Or, learn lighting and get it all right in camera. Then the negs print themselves.
In this case, what you're actually doing is called dodging, since you're using the cutout to hold back light from reaching part of the image. As Parker noted, try using an opaque material like cardboard as it appears some additional light did spill thru to darken the statue. Don't let the shadow of the cutout go outside the edge of the statue - that's why you ended up with such a severe halo effect
There are tons of good books out there on darkroom printing technique - I could recommend Ansel Adams' "The Print", David Vestal's books, or Bruce Barnbaum's "The Art of Photography".
It does take practice, but you'll get better with time and develop your own technique. I also use a sawtooth pattern along the edges of many of the masks I cut out. I hold it a few inches or more above the easel, slowly moving during the exposure. Here's one image where I dodged the cross. It was much darker in the straight print and I wanted it to stand out more.
What jimjm said and get Tim Rudman's book The Photographer's Master Printing Course. One of the best, if not the best books on printing I have come across.
To dodge and burn competently, be prepared to use a lot of time and paper.
I'd never tried dodging that amount myself, so all I can offer is a joke:
In that picture an halo may be appropriate, lol.
It sounds like the silhouette you cut out was near the size of the image. I'd think making it smaller may help. You could see the area better while you worked, and it would be easier to keep the mask within the boundaries of the statue.
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Yep - like Truzi mentioned, the cutout needs to be smaller than the corresponding area on your print. The smaller the cutout, the higher above the easel you can hold it, thus allowing you to watch the shadow it casts on your paper. Also, the edge of the shadow will be more diffuse and allow you to blend in your dodging/burning easier.
Originally Posted by Truzi
thanks to everyone. I will keep trying. Just got my hands on 400 sheets of Ilford MG very cheap!! so right now paper is abundant
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+1 on what Parker Smith said. The paper you used for holding back the statue must have been partly translucent: in the second image, the statue is darker and lower contrast. I buy at an arts & crafts store some medium weight paper that is black on one side (to block the light) and white on the other (to see the projected image and help me position the cutout). Also, a sheet of photo paper, exposed to light, and developed, can be used for cutouts.
I'm one of those of the "it is what it is" school. In 50 years I can count on one hand the number of times I've done burning/dodging. I just don't do it. Make the best negative you can skill yourself to, and print straight. All this manipulation and paper waste may make for "the perfect print", but it's not repeatable. There's a lot more to be said for consistent quality, that one "perfect" print,which was more chance that ability. And whatever print that you end up with is what it is. If you're not happy, then it stands to reason you should be versed in how to make masking negatives. Just my take. I don't like haphazard technique. But I measure my success in how empty the trash can is at the end of the darkroom session. A full trash can and a perfect print to show for it is wasteful. Waste not, want not.
To thine own self be true, and charity begins at home.
I agree it's important to start with the best negative possible, but I can very easily repeat the results of any burning, dodging or other modifications I make when I'm printing. I keep a worksheet of all burning/dodging done, times, filtration used, paper type, developer and chemical temps. If an image is important enough to waste more than a few sheets of paper I keep track of all the steps it took to get there. Nothing haphazard about it at all. I measure my success on whether I get a final print that I am proud of. If I have to use up some paper to get there, that's the cost of my hobby that I am more than happy to sacrifice. At the same time, I have many straight prints that were perfect (to me). If no manipulation is needed, I don't do it.
Originally Posted by APUGuser19
Each darkroom print is an individual piece of your art. No two are exactly perfectly alike, but you can get pretty darn close if you develop a routine process and keep notes. If you want perfect duplicates of a print, then go digital and use an inkjet printer instead. Dull, monotonous, repeatable perfect prints every time!
The important thing is to use the techniques you want to achieve the final print that you are happy with. If you're just starting out, focus on getting consistent quality in your prints and the basics of print exposure and filtration. The only rule is.. there are no rules (but no digital stuff - this is APUG after all!) This is your art and you should feel free to dodge, burn, bleach or tone to your heart's content. Have fun - learning new darkroom skills is part of the craft of analog photography. I've only been doing this for 40 years, but I'm learning new things in the darkroom all the time.