Could you use a graduted neutral density filter on your camera?
I guess it's too late for that.
It would create the same problem as using a straight edged dodge mask: not just the sky, but anything that extends up above the horizon will be darker.
Indeed, it's too late, but using something like a yellow/orange filter can dramatically simplify this task, especially when using a film with increased blue sensitivity, compared to longer wavelengths. Of course, the sky has to be blue to begin with; it's effectiveness is very limited with very bright sky.
Originally Posted by Q.G.
Flashing helps but doesn't solve most cases. A mask will do the trick, but you need patience and a bit of time. The reward is worth it. Look at the attached example:
1. straight print (awful)
2. final print (yes, that's what I wanted)
3. mask (lots of work but worth it)
First, print for the foreground, then use the mask to burn in the sky. The mask was made from a test print for the sky for which the foreground was way too dark. Good luck!
Next I will probably try the test-print-as-mask trick. The trees will just have to go black. Unfortunately there are horses at the bottom not far from the horizon so it's fairly important.
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One thing to try
pick a average grade that builds into the print most of the image , as your first exposure.
Second exposure BURN at the horizon line and into the trees , in fact vignette into the bottom of the image a burn at 00 to put tone right at the horizon line.
Third and fourth Burn in the top section to bring in detail you want , and then also use the 5 filter to BURN in the sky, this may not make any sense but the areas of the sky that have density will see the 5 and darken. This is always good practice to get highlight separation.
this will create a illusion of detail, the 00 in the split will produce needed tone, and the 00 over the bottom main image will not hurt.
I like the advantage of using masks but IMO they are obvious and do have their place and do look intense, but if you are just trying to make a subtle transition between sky and forground a combination of filters and burning with softer and harder filters will help fool the eye into seeing detail.
Originally Posted by BetterSense
Whenever I'm faced with a difficult dodge or burn on a print the first thing I ask myself..... is this image important or good enough to warrant all the time and expense of material usage to get it right ? Obviously the only way to improve darkroom skills is practice these things so if this is the aim then by all means go for it. Sometimes it's better to write the neg off and repeat the shot from scratch by revisiting the location in different or more favourable lighting conditions and perhaps modifying exposure development etc.
I've seen some very impressive dodging and burning techniques on a print but the end result can look unreal or 'digital like' !!
Last edited by bill spears; 10-31-2010 at 01:02 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Digital photography is like virtual sex........ you never actually touch the real thing..... or get your hands dirty
I agree, the image must be worth the effort, unless you're trying to hone your skills. That said, I'm not necessarily after realistic images, but that's a different discussion.
Originally Posted by bill spears
What size negative? If it's 35mm, or perhaps even roll film, then the options are limited.
But if your negative is lf, you could try dye-dodging the foreground. Fix out and wash an sheet of unexposed film, and after it is dry, tape it to the non-emulsion side of your negative. Put the emulsion side of the clear film against the back (non-emulsion) side of your negative.
Now, with the negative on a lightbox and using magnifiers, gently paint over the foreground area of the negative, applying the paint to the back to the clear film overlay. Use a magenta dye since that will also end to increase the contrast in the foreground relative to the sky. Dr. Martin's is a good brand of liquid watercolor for this purpose. Use a small brush to work the details in the horizon.
After the dye dries, try making a print. You may need to interate through several stages to get the result you want.
This is a neat trick. You can do this with a 35mm negative as well, by using a negative scan and an inkjet-printed mask on transparency. This should allow you to get right into the trees as long as negative and mask are properly registered.