Burning and Dodging Question
I've just started making prints in my newly constructed darkroom. I've tried some printing and dodging as well. I was wondering is there a preferred time during exposure to begin the burning/dodging? In other words should you start burning/dodging at the start or end of the exposure time or does it matter?
In terms of the final effect, it doesn't really matter. Sometimes it is easier to do it at the beginning. Sometimes it is the other way around. Sometimes you can do it in the middle of the exposure. Work out your moves beforehand. Let the image and your experience dictate the logistics.
Most people start burning-in at the end of the main exposure.
You could burn-in first - but most people do it after the main exposure
The important thing is to keep the order the same.
As for dodging - it depends how much dodging you have to do.
My timer bleeps at me to help me keep the time - and I like to listen to the bleeps to help get the timing right before I start
If I only have one bit of dodging to do it at the end of the exposure - watch the timer counting down, jump in at the appropriate point and then dodge until the timer runs out - that way I don't over-dodge by keeping going for a little too long - as I sometimes loose count of the time while I am doing it - or enthusiasm gets the better of me.
It doesn't matter when you dodge - just how much
Some people break their main exposure up to fit to the times of the dodging sequence – but I don’t like to do it – as with my enlarger 3off 4 sec exposures are not the same as 1 off 12 sec exposure – due to bulb warm-up and anti-surge effects in the transformer.
What is important is to give yourself plenty of time to dodge, so most people aim to have a base exposure of more than 10sec.
Trying to dodge for 10% of a 10sec base exposure requires skill and dexterity
Trying the same dodge procedure if the base time is 30s is considerably easier
I practice the dodging and burning sequence without paper in the easel until I have the sequence sorted in my own mind – it can take quite a few dry runs to get right
Thanks guys. Since I don't have a timer that makes audible "bleeps" I think I'll consistently do it at the end. Martin makes a good point about letting the timer run out and using that as your stop time rather than having to count off the seconds in my head.
You really need to get a timer. Something that, at minimum, will switch the enlarger off after a set interval. You can probably fine an old Time-O-Lite on eBay for no more than $20 USD. Having a timer with a foot switch that allows you to break up the exposure into discreet fractions is even better, but will cost more.
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Oops, I wasn't very clear. I do indeed have a timer. It just doesn't make audible beeps as the seconds go by. I didn't know you could get one with a foot switch. Very interesting. Something for the future I think.
After I determine the time to dodge/burn, I usually set my timer into intervals of, say, three seconds. So, if I like how the print looks at 15 seconds@ f/11, and decide that at the same f/stop I want to burn in an area for an extra two seconds, I would first burn in the corner for two seconds, then carry on my exposure as per the usual manner. For burning, if the correct exposure is the same as the example i used above, but one area is two seconds too dark, I would set the timer to two seconds, do my burn exposure, and then do the whole print for 13 seconds. I'm not the greatest at super creative dodging and burning, and I usually do it only when the print has a very visible flaw or I want it to look perfect, and I am being very general with my procedure, but it works for me.
The sequence does not matter, but I would advise to get started with f/stop timing. Once you get over the initial hurdle of learning it, it makes the whole process of dodging and burning a lot simpler. What is more important, it makes it also more consistent. Pretty soon you'll get a feel for the effect of a, let's a say, 1/3 stop burn, and you'll know how to apply it and where or when it is needed. Talking about a 2s edge burn has no meaning unless you know the base exposure time. However, talking about a 1/3 stop edge burn describes the effect consistently, regardless of base exposure time. Try it. You won't regret it!
Originally Posted by stwb
Ralph is right about f-stop timing. I started this on his advice (from his book) and it has given me a lot more control in the printing process. We think in f-stops for exposure. If for some reason I need to change the overall parameters of the print, the relationship between the base print and all the other steps remains the same.
Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht
And no, I don't get anything for promoting his excellent book.
"The beauty and profundity of God is more real than any mere calculation"
F-stop timing is like fly fishing. A lot of up front resistance, not wanting to let go of what you already know, then trying it, getting over the hump and no going back. Another vote for f-stop printing. It makes dodges and burns more intuitive also.
I saw Fred Picker's video recently (a good deal on DVD at Calumet and well worth watching). He standardized to a series of 3-second exposures which also makes good sense but not my preferred method.
Used timers are cheap. Even if you don't get an f-stop timer, get one with a metronome function so you don't have to watch the clock during dodges and burns.