Interpretations of a negative
I've found great value in seeing how photographers work up a print from a negative. I thought a thread showing a raw scanned negative paired with an interpreted print (or possibly multiple interpretations) would be informative. A brief description of materials and printing steps might also be of interest.
To start things off, here is a recent example taken along one of my favorite places to photograph, Eagle Creek.
Full frame square negative on the left: Ilford Delta 100 developed in Pyrocat HD. The brownish cast to the scanned negative is typical of film developed in Pyrocat HD, a staining developer.
The print was made on 8x10 Kodak Polymax FA paper using a #2 contrast filter (Zone VI cold light head with V54 bulb).
- The negative was cropped from the top to remove the dark triangular portion of a branch that didn't belong in the print.
- After the main exposure, the highlights along the top LH edge were burned in for 1/3 stop using a card with a hole. This was to balance the left and right hand sides of the top edge.
- The lighter portions of the water on the LH side around to the bottom middle of the frame were burned in for 1/4 stop using the same card, again to balance the water across the frame.
- The water was burned in 1/8 stop to deepen the tones slightly in contrast to the brilliant ice.
- The processed print was toned for 2 minutes in selenium 1:9
- After thorough washing, the print was lightly bleached and then toned in thiocarbamide.
Print on the right
I hope others will share some of their examples.
All the best,
Last edited by dlin; 03-02-2008 at 11:47 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Thank you for starting this thread. I found it to be most informative, especially to this B/W noob whom is caught up in an internal debate over scanning vs. contact proof printing. After seeing this post I think the $30 contact printer is winning over the $500 scanner.
It's kind of hard to see with this negative, which is mostly abstract in nature. Another image might be easier to envision...
This is great - thanks Daniel.
I'm a relative darkroom noob also, basically over the last year just finding my way around and producing flat prints. I'm now wanting to move into using burning/ dodging etc.
If I may ask, what do you mean when you use the term burned in for a 1/4 stop or an 1/8 stop? The little I have done I've usually worked in seconds on different parts of the print.
Apologies for such a basic question, but I feel I'm missing something here and can't quite get my head around it.
If the basic exposure is 24 seconds, then 1/4 stop would be 6 seconds and 1/8 stop would be 3 seconds.
Hope this helps,
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Aaah! Now I see!
I use both negative scanning and contact proof printing in my work flow, so it's not an either/or proposition. In fact, negative scans can be very useful for experimenting with manipulations I might want to use during the actual printing stage.
I don't have a particularly fancy scanner, since my final work product is a wet darkroom print.
I hope other photographers here will contribute examples to the thread so we can all learn from different types of images and personal work and interpretive processes.
The F.stop exposure system is a way of determining times for dodging and burning based on the main exposure time. For example, if the main exposure is 16 seconds, a burning-in exposure of 1/2 stop would be approximately 6.6 seconds (1/4 stop=3 seconds; 1 stop=16 seconds). Dodging an area of the print during the main exposure would work the same way; a -1/4 stop dodge would be approximately 3 seconds.
Note that I don't work so precisely with my burning and dodging times so the times are simply approximate proportions of the main exposure. I hope this helps.
All the best,
Daniel, once John put me right on this, and from your further comments, I can see how it makes sense to work in stops rather than time based measurement.
I'm at a stage where I want my prints to be more than flat/ workprints, and I think one of the hardest parts is working out where to apply dodging/ burning and how to apply it.
Your thread here, which I also hope others will contribute to, is a definite aid to seeing how negatives are "worked up" into a final print.
The prints are in my gallery: http://www.apug.org/gallery/showgall...0&ppuser=11461
Its a good study of how burning the sky(background), higher grade and toning can change a pic.
I missed burning the edges slightly. I then toned them longer than the rest
I have no negscan anymore. Sorry. Anyhow, the negscan has not much in common with the end result. I do not make contact prints.
I think the print you posted is quite beautiful. Your point that the negative scan may not look at all like the final print scan gets at the purpose for starting this thread. By providing visual reference points from the beginning (i.e. negative) to the final print, one can gain insights into the interpretive process. Understanding the steps taken in interpreting a negative and the reasoning behind them can be informative for both beginning and advanced printers. However, if one only has the finished product to refer to, then some of the potential educational value is missing.
All the best,