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  1. #1
    clayne's Avatar
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    When You Can't Hit Max Black

    For instance, fog, underexposure, etc. that cause a significant issue hitting max black AND the resulting contrast needed to get past this just being too much.

    I'm sure many people will mention split-grade printing - but I just can't seem to get the hang of it with sub-par negs - particularly ones with high base fog as it seems the fog just scales up proportionally.

    I've gone straight to grade 5 before to try and get around all of this, of course, but sometimes find highlights getting blown to kingdom come. Does this just mean I should do more selective burning in here (starting to sound like I'm heading in the split-grade direction)?

    There are times I just want to cut blacks and blacks only, which is of course easier to do with a neg scan, but that's not what we're working with here.

    How many people just leave certain prints as they are and acknowledge that for some it just won't happen?
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

  2. #2

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    Have you tried toning the prints with sepia or selenium ? I had some Royal Pan X in 120 rolls that fogged because of age ,really fogged but did manage to get a few decent prints after using selenium toner. Some time it works.

  3. #3
    Dan Henderson's Avatar
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    I use split grade for everything but lith printing, and I believe it helps me get the tonal range I need from a given negative. I almost always begin with the soft grade, then bring in the shadows with the hard. When I print night shots I go the other way around, using the hard filter first to get the shadows I need (which includes a lot of maximum black), then bring up the highlight detail with the soft filter. Perhaps this approach will help you.


    web site: Dan Henderson, Photographer.com

    blog: https://danhendersonphotographer.wordpress.com/

    I am not anti-digital. I am pro-film.

  4. #4

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    Toning will help some, but I learned a long time ago that trying to print poorly exposed negatives is waste of time and materials. Of course there is always the negative that "just has to be printed". If the neg is to thin you might try intensification with selenium. Do a search there are several threads. If it's dense the information is there, probably more a case of initially printing for the highlights and then doing a lot of burining in to bring out everything else.

    If you are working with anything bigger than 35mm you can use a piece of clear film and soft lead pencil and mask areas of the negative. Tedious with MF but works great with 4x5.
    Last edited by Jim Chinn; 08-30-2009 at 08:46 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  5. #5
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Overexpose the print and then bleach back. You can bleach selectively (with a brush) if necessary. Note that the bleach can be proportional or not... your choice.

    You can also try to make a dupe neg with a better contrast index.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

    [APUG Portfolio] [APUG Blog] [Website]

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post
    Overexpose the print and then bleach back. You can bleach selectively (with a brush) if necessary. Note that the bleach can be proportional or not... your choice.

    You can also try to make a dupe neg with a better contrast index.
    There are several possibilities:
    1: split-grading
    2: Print on grade 4 or 5 and post flash the paper( some pre-flash, I post..)
    3:Intensification with selenium
    4repare your own high - contrast developer ( or buy some Doculith from Tetenal)
    5: Lith print, you can get very high contrast with lith

  7. #7

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    Not much you can do with a bad negative. You could go out and try to reshoot in a way that would be easier to print. Frustration isn't good. With time and practice and trial and error, you'll learn what is keeping that shot from shining. Keep it in the back of your mind untill then.
    I brake for fixer!

  8. #8
    bill schwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clayne View Post
    How many people just leave certain prints as they are and acknowledge that for some it just won't happen?
    IMO it is sometimes best to get over it and move on. There are still too many great photographs out there to be made to spend time trying to chase after the ones that got away.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by billschwab View Post
    IMO it is sometimes best to get over it and move on. There are still too many great photographs out there to be made to spend time trying to chase after the ones that got away.
    Words to live by. It's much less expensive and time consuming to get the exposure correct, especially if one is shooting roll fim and can bracket a "must get" scene. Do some testing with development times and you should be very close on every exposure.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  10. #10

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    Try scanning and editing in Photoshop then make digitally printed internegs for contact printing. In some situations a digital/analog hybrid may be the best (or only) solution to a problem if you want conventional prints.

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