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  1. #1

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    Split Filter printing article in "Photo Techniques"

    Forgive me if this article has been discussed already, (I did search for a thread on it)

    The Jan/Feb 2009 issue of Photo Techniques" has an article that investigates if it is worthwhile to print VC paper by exposing the paper to both a high contrast and a low contrast filter versus exposing the paper to a single filter of the required contrast. In a nutshell the article says that in the case of people with a colour head split filter printing achieves nothing. i did a workshop with Howard Bond years ago and he said the same thing however I suspect that some people still use this technique. Of course using a different filter whilst burning is another matter entirely. Any thoughts on the article? Is split filter printing buried as an idea or do some people still use it?

    Mark
    It is said that we remember the important things, if true, why photograph? I forget, so I photograph.

  2. #2
    tbm
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    I use the Saunders 670MXL dichroic enlarger and numerous times a suboptimal negative has been easier to print by using the split-grade technique, despite what the aforementioned article says.

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    Didn't they do the same piece a year or two ago?

    I doubt many people don't dodge/burn at least a little. So the point that you can just dial in a grade and be done with it sort of flys out the window. The other issue is for some of us it's a more visual method. One thing I gain from spilt filtering is seeing . I can't jump to the conclusion a print needs a certain grade with the same ease. Not to mention for me it's quick and relatively painless.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm View Post
    I use the Saunders 670MXL dichroic enlarger and numerous times a suboptimal negative has been easier to print by using the split-grade technique, despite what the aforementioned article says.
    Are you talking about getting in between grades which you can do anyhow with your colour head or do you mean that you give some exposure with a high contrast setting and some with a low contrast setting? The article says that the resulting curve shapes are identical, I'm just confused as to why there is such divergence of opinion over this subject.

    Mark
    It is said that we remember the important things, if true, why photograph? I forget, so I photograph.

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    I don't think there is an arguement. Most accept you end up at the same point. The problem is some of us find the road far easier if we spilt filter.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Zentena View Post
    Didn't they do the same piece a year or two ago?

    I doubt many people don't dodge/burn at least a little. So the point that you can just dial in a grade and be done with it sort of flys out the window. The other issue is for some of us it's a more visual method. One thing I gain from spilt filtering is seeing . I can't jump to the conclusion a print needs a certain grade with the same ease. Not to mention for me it's quick and relatively painless.
    Actually I didn't dodge or burn on every print and when I did I usually kept the same filtration for the burn but the article isn't talking about that, its talking about the theory of giving some of the overall exposure with a hard filter and the rest of the overall exposure with a soft filter and the claim that this method produces prints unattainable with a single filter setting.
    It is said that we remember the important things, if true, why photograph? I forget, so I photograph.

  7. #7
    Shawn Dougherty's Avatar
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    I use split filter printing exclusively with VC paper. I do this for several reasons. One being it's a very fast way to achieve the maximum scale of the paper with a variety of negatives. Another reason being I find it the easiest way to adjust contrast locally. The most important reason: it works for me. I've seen wonderful prints made in a variety of ways, it's personal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markbau View Post
    the claim that this method produces prints unattainable with a single filter setting.
    I don't think anyone makes that claim anymore. When people convert to a new religion they tend to be zealots for a while and make all sorts of claims, possibly to suppress their own doubts about their new ways.

    Compared to claims of extra terrestrial abduction, invisible trilateral world government, bigfoot sightings and government bail-out programs, claims for split-grade printing magic are pretty tame stuff.

    The big downside to split grade printing is that it gives you sod-all control over the midtones. For this reason photographers tend to abandon the technique as they gain more control over materials and processes.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Lindan View Post
    The big downside to split grade printing is that it gives you sod-all control over the midtones. For this reason photographers tend to abandon the technique as they gain more control over materials and processes.
    No offense intended Nicholas but that's ridiculous. Once you've nailed down your base exposures midtones can be adjusted by dodging during either the 0 or 5 exposures and then burning in with 0 or 5 later on. I've found it an incredibly precise way of controlling all aspects of a print, including midtones. Simply a different way of getting there.

    Of course I'd be happy to show you prints that demonstrate this should we meet up again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Dougherty View Post
    Once you've nailed down your base exposures midtones can be adjusted by dodging during either the 0 or 5 exposures and then burning in with 0 or 5 later on. I've found it an incredibly precise way of controlling all aspects of a print, including midtones. Simply a different way of getting there.
    Same here with a couple examples. The midtones were extremely important on both, but the lows and highs tended to dominate. This one was taken on TMY-2 and was a very dense contrasty negative. This one was taken on Type 55 with more conventional contrast and density.

    I don't use split grade filtering exclusively but its certainly an important technique that I use frequently when the situation warrants.
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