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Thread: Burning basics

  1. #1
    Krzys's Avatar
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    Burning basics

    I would like to become proficient at burning in the darkroom however the basics of the technique are foreign to me. Could anyone here give some information or links to tutorials and any general tips.

    My main goal would be to turn this original (scanned) negative



    Into a print like this (burned in photoshop)



    So I would be burnig the background to Zone I or 0. Is this too far fetched? My main concern with burning like this is avoiding a halo around the subject and I have no idea how I could do this. For the initial tests I will be using Multigrade IV RC. I might try it later with FB paper if successful..

    (I just realized that this is the wrong section. Could a Mod please move the thread. Thankyou.)
    Last edited by Krzys; 09-07-2009 at 09:45 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Wrong forum

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I've moved the thread to the Enlarging section, though dodging and burning are possible with contact printing.

    Very precise dodging and burning are done with contrast masks that are made and printed in registration with the original negative. Lacking that, if you wanted to burn down the background in a scene like this, you could trace out a dodging mask smaller than the print size on a sheet of cardboard under the enlarger, cut it out, and use it to dodge the horse--I've done that for landscapes with jagged horizon lines. Yet another approach is to etch out the background on the neg, scraping off the emusion with an X-acto knife, and it will show up black on the print.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

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    There are a lot of books out there that deal with that,one is the photographers Master Printing Course ,By Tim Rudman.

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    bill spears's Avatar
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    For someone beginning to learn the basics of dodging and burning I would say this is a bit too advanced. By all means have a go (using cheap paper) because thats the only way to gain the necessary skills, but learn to walk first.

    Personally though, I'm not keen on manipulating prints to this extent (unless deliberately trying to achieve a special effect). The first shot is a natural picture of a horse in a natural environment - the second looks like a horse shot with studio flash against a black background - and also looks to be digitally sharpened.
    I'd be more inclined to pehaps go back with the camera and do more work with the horse outside.

    Don't wish to be sound too discouraging as I applaud anyone wanting to improve their darkroom skills. Good luck !

    Bill

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    I agree with Bill. That sort of precision is relatively easy in Photoshop. No so much in the analog real world.
    To get started, make a hole about 12 or 15 mm in diameter in a piece of paper or card stock (the more opaque it is the better - fully exposed and developed paper works well). Expose the print as you would normally. Then, holding the card midway between the lens and easel, make additional exposures with the hole positioned in the areas you want darker. Keep the masking card moving at all times, use several stops worth of additional exposures. You are "painting" with light, more or less.

    You won't get to the featureless black you've illustrated, but you'll do a lot of learning.

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    You could consider making a negative from your scan and PS manipulation and then contact print. I have done that very successfully with platinum/palladium. There are plug-ins for PS that make the process easy although some tweeking may be necessary for contrast. Check out Dan Burkholder.

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    Krzys's Avatar
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    I realize that it is too advanced, I just wanted to set somewhat of a goal. I've always been annoyed by the background in that photo. The day I chose to shoot everything on f/4 . Thank you mike c and bdial. I will start with the basics obviously. Sorry, I'm really trying to escape digital, jeffreyg.

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    Burning and dodging are too advanced? Not really... Shading light to rich the paper is so simple and basic, you will get the trick real quick. If you dont try, you will always stop because someone told you not to do it. So best to try David's advice and see: do the mask, expose for the horse. Then replace the mask with a "negative" mask, remove the negative from the enlarger and darken the paper.

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    Marc Leest's Avatar
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    One excercise you could learn is thinking and printing in fstops. This makes dodging and burning easier, due to the simplified workflow. The mentioned book of Tim rudman advocates the technique (and the now out of print Way Beyond Monochrome)
    We cannot change how the cards are dealt, just how to play the hand...
    Randy Pausch

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    I am thinking what you want to do with this photo is actually simple minded but tedious since you want a completely black background. Make a copy negative and then paint/ink in the horse with black. The tedious part is inking in the hairs on tha edges of the horse, but once that is done and the two films are in register you can then expose the background to max black.
    I think so any way.
    "There are a great many things I am in doubt about at the moment, and I should consider myself favoured if you would kindly enlighten me. Signed, Doubtful, off to Canada." (BJP 1914).

    Regards
    Bill

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