Wow! This is an amazing transformations. What spark (creative process) led you to use a high contrast filter with diffusion? May I ask, how many work prints?
I decided to print this negative with diffusion to create a more impressionistic effect because what originally caught my attention was the swirling and somewhat dizzying effect of looking up through the branches. The slight softening of all the outlines gives the appearance of movement, at least to my eye. The fine details in the scene were not particularly important. When printing with diffusion you lose quite a bit of contrast and a hard contrast filter compensates for that.
Regarding the earlier discussion of negative scans/photoshop renditions and their role in the creative process, I consider them to be much more useful as exploratory tools rather than as benchmarks to be matched in the darkroom. I don't spend any time trying to polish a scanned/photoshopped image. Rather, I try a variety of "what if" scenarios, e.g. a high-key, low-contrast versus a low-key, low-contrast versus a full tonal-range rendition, etc. This challenges my initial visualization of the image and sometimes leads to surprising deviations (not always for the better), but it's an exploration that I enjoy. The finished darkroom print inevitably looks quite different from anything on my computer monitor and I don't worry about trying to reconcile those differences.
I've enjoyed these discussions and I look forward to more examples and thoughts.
All the best.
Thank you for the insight into your creative psych. I may have to re-evaluate the role of PS in my work flow.
Diffusion under the enlarger
Bumping this thread. Hope to get some more examples of print interpretations.
Japanese Tea Garden, Seattle Arboretum
The negative looked nice printed straight without diffusion, but didn't quite capture the mood I was after.
Negative: 6x6cm frame on TMY-2 developed in Pyrocat HD
Print: 8x8" on Forte Polywarmtone paper
- Base exposure: Multigrade filter 1.0, 20% without diffusion (sheet of translucent paper [Yupo]), 80% with diffusion material laid over the paper
- Burn exposure: Edges of the print were burned using a card 1/4 stop
- Processing: Developed in Ansco 130, water stop, rapid fixer
- Toning: Selenium toner (1:20) 30 seconds, thorough wash, brief bleach in ferricyanide, toned in thiocarbamide
The degree of diffusion can be controlled several ways: the relative length of exposure with and without the diffusion material; height of the diffusion material relative to the paper; contrast filter used during the portion of the exposure with diffusion. I jiggled the diffusion material during the exposure to create a softer effect.
Are people using other techniques to create diffusion effects? Would love to see examples.
All the best,
Last edited by dlin; 07-08-2009 at 09:01 PM. Click to view previous post history.
For more info on f/stop timing see;
Originally Posted by ajmiller
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Blimey! A blast from the past. Thanks for the pdf Ralph - looks interesting. A good reason to get back into the darkroom - been out of there for too long...
Terrific post - great job!
Bill this is absolutely amazing, great job in the darkroom!
Originally Posted by billschwab
Thanks for reviving this thread, Daniel. Your latest prints are sublime (as they always are, and I am mad that I didn't get to see you at Photostock this year.... ).
Here is one of my examples. It is different from most examples here in that I actually remove detail from the print in the printing process, mostly to focus on the main subject matter.
The negative is Kodak Tri-X 400, time exposed in a Holga and a cable release. Processed in Pyrocat-HD to give me more printable highlights.
Print: Printed, slightly cropped, on Fotokemika Emaks G3 paper using Arista Liquid lith chemistry at 1+1+14 dilution, overexposed 1.5 stops in the enlarger for an increase in contrast compared to a straight print. The center portion of the sky was dodged with a round card for 15% of the exposure, and it looks a bit clumsy perhaps and that's because of the filter I used on the camera. It's a filter that's clear in the center and diffused on the edges.
The print was further burned in about 40% along the bottom, and the top left corner was evened out with a slight dodge as I wanted the flow of the image to resemble an 'S' from top right to center bottom, but without too much emphasis on the top left.
The center of the image was kept intentionally lighter, because I wanted that brilliant light to really hit hard, and the bridge was turned into more of a silhouette at the burning stage.
The print was eventually split toned in sepia and selenium.
Thanks for a great thread that I missed the first time around.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
Hey Daniel, to answer your question about diffusion effects....the best way way I have seen to get diffusion is by using a tiffen fog filter 3 placed under the enlarging lens. If you desire a diffused image where the blacks get really diffused and turn almost "blob like" (i don't know how else to describe it)...then expose and develop to get a very contrasty negative and then use the maximum contrast setting in your enlarger.
Originally Posted by dlin
I will pull out an old image and post it in this thread along with my notes. Great thread daniel.