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  1. #11
    Shawn Dougherty's Avatar
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    Good move Alex, I'll add a couple of links below.

    I'll be bringing both of these prints 1 & 2 to John's at the end of the month. Both split grade on Ilford Warmtone. Hard to tell too much from the scans but they're all about the midtone separation which was quite easily achieved in both cases.

    Of course there are many ways to achieve similar results but midtone control is simple and precise using splitgrade techniques.

  2. #12
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Both of those are highly yummy Shawn!
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
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  3. #13
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    I use Split Grade printing for the majority of my work. It makes sense to me. I use a condensor head with mg filters, and I do find I can get my prints to states that I do not feel able to using the intermediate filters. contrary to Nicholas's statement above, I moved on to split grade after struggling for ages with using single grades - I feel it was a progression to do so and my printing improved as a result. As already said, fine highlight details, mids and shadows are all controlled in the hard grade exposure(s).

  4. #14
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    I as well use split grade filter printing quite a bit. I believe the results achieved with the technique cannot be achieved with printing with one filter, or controlling contrast through other means, plus it's easier. I print with a Beseler dicro color head on Ilford VC papers and just dial from one extreme (200M) to the other (200Y).

    For example, if I have a image where a part of the foreground needs an increase in contrast, say because it's in the shade, I will dodge this area during part or all of the soft (g00) exposure, so essentially this area only or mostly receives the hard (g5) exposure thus increasing contrast. It's amazing! Or vice versa, just the other week I printed a negative of a stone shed. The beautiful stone wall of the shed was in bright sunlight. So the highlights were wonderful, but the cracks and dark features of the wall didn't pop. I simple extra burn with the hard (g5) filter brought the blacks in exactly how I envisioned.

    For me I use use it when a negative calls for it. Not all negatives need this technique and when I can I do print images with one grade. But when called for, the extra dialing filters and work pays off.

  5. #15
    Ken N's Avatar
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    Split-grade printing has been a life-saver for me. There is no way you can adequately print T400CN without split-grade.

    The key feature of split-grade printing is the ability to adjust the "gamma" of the print. Typically, our major controls are brightness and contrast. That's it. But what do you do when you have a negative that just won't give you a snappy print without blowing out the highlights? That's very typical with a C41 based film. Split-grade printing gives me the ability to preserve the highlights and keep the midtones where they are supposed to be while giving myself the solid foot that i seek in a print.
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  6. #16
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Ok, I just re-read the article the OP was referring to in Photo Techniques Jan/Feb 09'. The authors were just determining whether or not split grade printing could produce contrasts and curves that are unachievable with a single filter. And they determined that it could not. That's fine, but it doesn't mean that split grade printing is useless. So for what they set out to determine they did a fine job, but there are many advantages to split grade printing beyond the few factors that they found no advantage. So don't let the article sway you from trying split grade printing.

  7. #17
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    Ok, I just re-read the article the OP was referring to in Photo Techniques Jan/Feb 09'. The authors were just determining whether or not split grade printing could produce contrasts and curves that are unachievable with a single filter. And they determined that it could not.
    I haven't read the article but there's something in their conclusion that sounds flawed to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    So don't let the article sway you from trying split grade printing.
    AMEN to that!
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  8. #18
    tbm
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    I just finally successfully printed a 35mm Delta 100 negative that was exposed in very bright, harsh sunlight at a dirt street location with five people in the frame. My first attempts, with standard filtration with my Saunders 670MXL enlarger on Ilford's RC glossy paper (8x10), were lacking in tonality and contrast despite multiple filtration and timer time changes, so I switched my StopClock Professional timer to its split-grade mode and ended up with a perfect print! What a relief!

  9. #19
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Dougherty View Post
    midtones can be adjusted by dodging during either the 0 or 5 exposures and then burning in with 0 or 5 later on.
    Exactly my point ... SG doesn't give direct control of midtones so you end up doing a lot of B&D in the mid-tone region. This isn't giving you control, it is forcing you to exert extra effort to control what SG can't.

    Midtones, in most photographs, are where the interest lies and the primary exposure should be made to optimize this part of the print. The B&D should be relegated to the extraneous or problematic parts of the print -- these are corrective measures, not the prime printing technique.

    I have seen in my observation of SG printers that they often use half a dozen dodges and burns when a simple correction of contrast grade and maybe one dodge or one burn in the highlights and shadows will result in a better print.

    SG does a good job of finding a contrast grade that will produce the sophomoric 'bit of pure white and bit of pure black' in a print. Where the rest of the print ends up is a crapshoot - sometimes it is OK, sometimes it is not.

    There are many ways to get to the same result. SG isn't neccessarily the optimum path but is just one of many. Finding the right contrast grade can be a real problem without good instrumentation and SG does a reasonable job of making a first determination.

    If it works for you, and you like the results then by all means stick with it. I found it constraining and requiring a lot of correction.
    Last edited by Nicholas Lindan; 05-03-2009 at 05:41 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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  10. #20
    Shawn Dougherty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Lindan View Post
    There are many ways to get to the same result.
    I agree completely with the above.

    Including certain tonalities for no reason may be sophomoric, discerning the limits of a negative's highlight and shadow detail, however, can be a critical step in deciding what tonal range will best express one's vision for a particular image.

    I'm eager to get a look at your prints in person, Nicholas. Posting in forums becomes a bit meaningless at a point. I've learned far more from viewing others prints in the hand than anything else. Hopefully we make it to the same event again soon. All the best. Shawn

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