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  1. #1
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    printing pushed negatives

    I usually develop and expose my negatives so they print pretty easily at grade 2 without any fuss. But for my XA I want to shoot at 800 which is about a 2-stop push for TriX. Now that I'm trying to print these negatives, I'm unsure how to proceed.

    When I do a straight (unD&B'd) print at grade 2 for good midtones (skin etc), I notice there is somewhat less shadow detail than normal negatives (no surprise). The other thing I notice is really bright highlights. At this point I'm missing detail in things like white shirts, towels, etc.

    There are two things I can see doing and I'm not sure which to do.

    1. develop less, until I can print at grade 2 and have good highlights.

    2. Print with less contrast all the time on the enlarger and/or burn the highlights down.

    I'm not sure if pushed negatives are just "supposed to have more contrast" and trying to get a more-printable negative is just antithetical to pushing film in the first place, or if I can just reduce my development a bit and my midtones and shadows will stay where they are.

    A normal negative is tri-x at 200 developed for 7.5min and one of my pushed negatives is exposed at 800 and developed for 12min.
    f/22 and be there.

  2. #2
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Unless you are going for a "special style" underexposing negatives spoils them. "Special styles" can be exciting, but usually prints from underexposed negatives are poor.

  3. #3
    eddym's Avatar
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    When you "push" film by increasing the development time (as you did), you are of course not really changing the speed of the film; you are only increasing the slope of the characteristic curve. So yes, of course "pushed negatives" are "supposed to have more contrast." You will lose shadow detail and increase contrast throughout the visible tones. But by reducing the exposure, supposedly your high (but now underexposed) values should theoretically fall back into a printable range. If they do not, then yes, you will need to burn them in. Since your XA has, I assume, an averaging meter, it read the scene and averaged the reading for Zone V, which may have fallen where it should (where you pushed it to); if it did, then the brighter areas will be pushed off the highlight curve of the paper, because of the increased slope of the curve.
    Hope this helps.
    Eddy McDonald
    www.fotoartes.com
    Eschew defenestration!

  4. #4
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if pushed negatives are just "supposed to have more contrast" and trying to get a more-printable negative is just antithetical to pushing film in the first place, or if I can just reduce my development a bit and my midtones and shadows will stay where they are.

    A normal negative is tri-x at 200 developed for 7.5min and one of my pushed negatives is exposed at 800 and developed for 12min.[/QUOTE]
    *******
    'Pushing" really is just adding contrast to an underexposed negative and it works best in the areas of the neg which need the least amount of boost--the highlights. Better printers than I can tell you how best to get those highlights down to where you want them in your print.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  5. #5
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    Unless you are going for a "special style" underexposing negatives spoils them.
    Not really going for a "special style" but this camera has an f/3.5 lens and no flash, as well as zone focusing. By shooting at the max asa setting I can get more pictures in low light and also get more sharp pictures even with the crude zone focusing.
    f/22 and be there.

  6. #6
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    Not really going for a "special style" but this camera has an f/3.5 lens and no flash, as well as zone focusing. By shooting at the max asa setting I can get more pictures in low light and also get more sharp pictures even with the crude zone focusing.
    "Natural Light" counts. I thought maybe you were trying for full zonal tonality in an Ansel Adam's style landscape

  7. #7
    Tony Egan's Avatar
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    I would use split grade printing which can be a bit time consuming if you approach it per the "textbook" with multiple test strips. A shortcut technique is to print at grade 0 until you have the detail and tonality you want in the whites. The shadows will usually be a bit grey and mushy. Then burn using grade 5 until you get some true blacks where you need them. You could do an overall grade 5 burn or burn just the shadow areas while dodging the important highlights. I think this provides better prints compared to trying to burn in highlights. A good rule of thumb I find in doing any kind of printing is get the time right for the highlights first.
    If you really must punish your film and yourself by not letting enough light onto the negative I would also recommend a so-called speed enhancing developer like x-tol which will usually give you a bit more detail in the shadows compared to others.

  8. #8

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    What did the subject look like? If it's a light subject against a relatively dark back ground, the meter won't be accurate.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  9. #9
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    I usually develop and expose my negatives so they print pretty easily at grade 2 without any fuss. But for my XA I want to shoot at 800 which is about a 2-stop push for TriX. Now that I'm trying to print these negatives, I'm unsure how to proceed.

    When I do a straight (unD&B'd) print at grade 2 for good midtones (skin etc), I notice there is somewhat less shadow detail than normal negatives (no surprise). The other thing I notice is really bright highlights. At this point I'm missing detail in things like white shirts, towels, etc.

    There are two things I can see doing and I'm not sure which to do.

    1. develop less, until I can print at grade 2 and have good highlights.

    2. Print with less contrast all the time on the enlarger and/or burn the highlights down.

    I'm not sure if pushed negatives are just "supposed to have more contrast" and trying to get a more-printable negative is just antithetical to pushing film in the first place, or if I can just reduce my development a bit and my midtones and shadows will stay where they are.

    A normal negative is tri-x at 200 developed for 7.5min and one of my pushed negatives is exposed at 800 and developed for 12min.
    BetterSense

    I propose too try the standard printing method for these negatives in order to determine how printable they are first.

    expose for the highlights; adjust shadows with contrast

    1. adjust the print exposure to get the highlights right
    2. adjust contrast to get the best shadow detail you can
    3. adjust exposure again if highlights suffered from step 2

    At this point, you have the first working print. Now you can improve it with dodging and burning, but nothing (including split-grade) will bring back lost shadow detail. Well, toxic intensification will, but that's a completely different kettle of fish.

    Let us know how well it worked.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  10. #10
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    Well that's roughly what I do. The problem is certain highlights cannot be printed because they are very dense on the negative. If I attempt to expose for them, the rest of the print (skintones and midtones) just gets darker.

    The root of my question is whether I can get rid of these burnt highlights by developing less, or if I just have to deal with them because I'm pushing my negatives. I don't know if my developing is typical because there is little data available for D-23; I basically just added 50% to my usual time.
    Last edited by BetterSense; 08-03-2009 at 06:19 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    f/22 and be there.

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