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  1. #1

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    Help with burning in skies above treeline?

    I have a gorgeous negative, one that I really feel is worth spending a bunch of paper on, but it is proving very difficult to print. I have flashed the paper and tried burning in the sky with a hole-in-a-card but still very little of what is in the negative shows up in the print. I am split grading the main exposure (18 seconds at grade 00 and 21 seconds at grade 5). I am going to try cutting out a cardboard mask that matches the treeline but I am wondering how to get around the problem of irregular tree shapes with fine detail as well as avoiding the creation of an obvious line from the mask? It will probably need at least twice the overall exposure so I am thinking that I will do half with the mask directly on the print and half moving it around to avoid the obvious band. Any other suggestions?

    - Justin

  2. #2

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    Crop the sucker out! Okay, you thought of that

    Masking that kind of thing is bloody hard, unless you don't mind the obvious halo that is usually introduced. Do the trees need detail or is a silhouette okay? In some cases just burning about halfway down into the trees works out okay (either the gradation in darkness of the trees isn't too important or noticable, or the trees are silhouetted anyway).... anyway I usually prefer to have the masking "marks" on the tree side of things rather than in the sky as the darker band along the treeline is usually less noticable than a bright halo in the sky. Good luck.
    The universe is a haunted house. -Coil
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  3. #3
    Andy K's Avatar
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    I would make a masking tool with an uneven edge and keep it moving while I burn in the entire sky area of the print. It may or may not work for you.


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    Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.

  4. #4
    Dave Miller's Avatar
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    It would help if you are able to post a scan.
    Regards Dave.

    An English Eye


  5. #5
    Steve Sherman's Avatar
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    If you are flashing just to the point of the paper's threshold and then burning another 100% the base exposure then there is probably nothing else you can do to effect a tonality short of a different process which can accept more contrast.
    Real Photographs are Born Wet !
    http://www.steve-sherman.com

  6. #6

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    Dear Justin,

    I have found that a very accurate dodging tool can be made by scanning a print, printing it out half size (I use a laser printer and tack glue the photo to a piece of construction paper), and carefully cutting out the desired area with a razor knife. A ratty little edge helps.

    Neal Wydra

  7. #7

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    What is the detail in the sky? Clouds? Or is it that you just want a darker sky?

    If its clouds, then burn at grade 5. But finding the time for the burn is critical as it will need to be right on the transition from the toe to straight part of curve of the paper and at grade 5 that will be a very narrow expsoure band. So once you have found the ball park exposure for the burn, make test strips at very short time increments to find the right point.

    Using a gradient from top to bottom will be practically impossible if the above is required. It sounds like your neg is over developed and you may just have to put it down to experience.

    And if you are flashing and then doing a full stop extra exposure over the same area, then the flash is pointless.
    Last edited by rob champagne; 12-27-2007 at 08:24 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #8
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    If the trees are much darker than the sky, you can burn in with a Grade 0 filter, which will have much less effect on the dark values in the trees than the lighter areas in the skies. Then to add some punch to the clouds, do a short Grade 5 burn in the sky area (staying away from the trees) to punch down some darker tones in the sky itself. This will probably involve a few test strips and test prints to fine tune.

    Now if the trees themselves have lighter toned values similar to the sky, well, maybe check out the hybrid forum.... ;^)
    I just want to feel nostalgic like I used to.


    http://www.clayharmon.net - turnip extraordinaire

  9. #9
    MP_Wayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob champagne View Post
    What is the detail in the sky? Clouds? Or is it that you just want a darker sky?

    And if you are flashing and then doing a full stop extra exposure over the same area, then the flash is pointless.
    One other possible course of action is to flash only the sky portion of the paper. Try pre-, post- or even both. The benefit is that you protect your tree area from dulling down from the flashing, yet you may get what you are after in the sky.

    My two-bits - I got it to work on one of my similarly challenging negs.


    " Be happy. Take a silver break today !!!"
    MP_Wayne

  10. #10

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    An old school tech is use graded paper, dark red matt acatate the same size as your final print, place the acatate in the easal, project onto the acatate and draw the outline of the trees, cut out the mat from the acatate, print your base exosure for the for ground, use a red filter over the enlarger lens to position the mat, the make a test strip for the sky and then the final exposure.

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