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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesiscool
    It is important to understand that many many photographers have made wonderful luminous prints without the benefit of masking or any other technique other than exposing and developing their film properly (knowing your material) and learning how to convey your vision onto your printing material. Not rocket science. There are many ways to achieve what you are looking for and masking is one. Also bleaching, dye dodging, and flashing of which AA made numerous mentions in his books. But even though he wanted to impart as much information to us in his writings, he knew he couldn't include all of the information about all of the techniques used by photographers and printers. So he wrote a very basic set of instructions which you now must improve upon. And it seems you are searching for it.
    Certainly there is no denying that knowledge of one's materials and technique is the beginning of producing a work that is satisfying. I had the good fortune about 14 years ago of meeting a photographer that had studied under Ansel Adams for two years. His name is Charles Phillips. Charles at the time that I met him initially had developed a technique in which he did a tri tone negative separation (shadows, midtones, and highlights). From these separations he produced masks that would allow the printing of each of these tonal separations at different contrast filtrations using VC material. The reason, as I am sure that you by now know, is that the characteristic curve of both the film and the paper treat the shadow, and highlight densities differently then the midtone densities which fall on the straight line portion of the aformentioned curve. By using higher contrast filtration on the toe and shoulder portion of the respective materials the print exhibits incredible tonal separation in these regions. The print comes alive and exhibits a quality of light that I have not observed in anyones work at any time. Obviously you already know that.

    Now what I am doing is not nearly as involved as Charles Phillips since I am separating the negative densities into only two regions. These are the combination of either the midtone and highlights---separating the shadows. Or a combination of the shadows and midtones with the highlights separated. The separation will depend on the image and the tonal balance. What this accomplishes is that I can now print the image with two separate contrast filtration settings. The prints produced in this fashion exhibit greater local contrast. You understand, I am sure, that this contributes to apparent sharpness and light within the print.

    I am sure that this is "old hat" to you and quite probably you have already thought this out and refined it further. I would be interested in hearing your further thoughts on the matter.

  2. #12

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    I have indeed used tri tone separation masks on some of my work. It is basically the same as dye transfer separation. And it does make luminous prints where there may be a need for masks to allow better control of the shadow/mid tone/ highlight areas of the print. But I still feel from all of the prints I've seen that it is still possible to get that same luminosity from a properly exposed and properly printed negative. It is the negatives with the extreme tonal ranges either too flat or too contrasty that welcome such masking treatments. If you propose to handle all of your printing that way, I applaud your efforts. I just don't think it is necessary for every one to be done with masks. But I have seen Lynn Radeka's work and love it. But I have seen hacks like me do work with just as much separation and luminosity as that. But it's your choice and your time.
    james

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesiscool
    I have indeed used tri tone separation masks on some of my work. It is basically the same as dye transfer separation. And it does make luminous prints where there may be a need for masks to allow better control of the shadow/mid tone/ highlight areas of the print. But I still feel from all of the prints I've seen that it is still possible to get that same luminosity from a properly exposed and properly printed negative. It is the negatives with the extreme tonal ranges either too flat or too contrasty that welcome such masking treatments. If you propose to handle all of your printing that way, I applaud your efforts. I just don't think it is necessary for every one to be done with masks. But I have seen Lynn Radeka's work and love it. But I have seen hacks like me do work with just as much separation and luminosity as that. But it's your choice and your time.
    I am happy to hear that you have used tri tone separation masking. I have been trying to determine the sequence that one would engage to arrive at the masks that would allow the printing of the shadows separate from the midtones and highlights, the midtones separate from shadows and highlights, and highlights separate from shadows and midtones. Would you be so kind as to elaborate on the process that you used to arrive at these masks. By that I mean the sequence of separation to arrive at negative masks that would allow printing the camera negative through the mask.

    I would really like to see some of the work that you have which exhibits the degree of separation and luminosity that you indicate. Perhaps you would be willing to share that with me/us. Obviously if I could achieve what I desire an easier way then I am all for that.

    By way of information, the last time that I checked Radeka was not up to speed or anywhere near up to speed on tri tone separation masking. I don't know that Lynn has even thought along those lines. At least he never indicated that to me in our conversations.

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