sorry for taking so long, here goes.
1. outflanking method is when you do not creep up on a print density or contrast , but make bold adjustments. If you go too far you are still seeing good information and can apply what you see once you have achieved a proper starting density, MAS describes this very well , not sure where to find the info, and this method is practiced by most printers I know who do gallery work.
Test strips are ok and I will not poo poo them here but there is a lot of info in a dark or light print and many surprises to be found.. Also over time you will be much faster in finding your balance.
2. having the negative directly centered to the easel , lens, light source is critical . they should all be in a direct line to maximise edge sharpness..
3. Ok studying the negative , studying the easel with the image projected, and also studying the print as it develops, trains you to understand how your negative will print. by looking you start to gain a history of how this whole thing works. I now establish my starting points for density and contrast filter by looking at the negative on a light box. By looking at the projected image I see where my dodge and burns will be needed, and in the developer I verify my thought process, so after fix I can flip on the lights and make a very quick assessment of the whole print process and move on.
I am looking at density and how it looks in negative for so that when I see it in a positive form I understand better where dodging and burning make a difference.
4.Ducks ass is the wide bottom of the print where some traditional printers like myself lay down a base density that is much like the shape of a ducks ass. This is done by burning in with your hands and cupping your hands in a more round shape.
Ducks bill is the narrow top of a print where we curve in density around lets say a persons head, this shape is more pointed.
put your hands in front of you and cup your fingers together and make shapes, a more rounded shape is the ducks ass and I use this shape on the bottom of most prints.
a more pointed shape is the ducks bill and I use this to hold back someone's head and burn the corner.. Also you are moving your fingers when you do this so that there are no obvious burn lines as well as moving your hand up and down.
5.How to decide to evaluate prints is probably different with each person. I print often and usually for show or portfolio and once I have established a look I go for it.
if you follow my drift above about evaluating the scene, negative, easel and developing emergence , gets you 90% of the way there so you need only to verify your direction and move on with a simple flick of the lights and some observation.
This is the way I work and I do understand there are the crowd who need microwaves , Good Wine, Mozart and five days to analyze, I just like to make prints.
6.You nailed the way I work with the filters , I try to get a slightly lighter and lower contrast print with the first filter, and it can vary, then I use the 5 for contrast and setting deep blacks .
7. Not always I only burn edges if they are required, this is always dependent on the image, but due to edge fall off on the larger sizes I am forced to do so most times. Old school methods were to draw the eye into the middle of the image which was done by darkening edges.
8.Yes I do , for Ilford warmtone I prefer a Selenium 1:5 for 45 seconds... for coldtone papers I like a bleach sepia and then selenium where a slight warm tone in the highlights and selenium in shadows.
9.If I am burning in a hot spot with detail I will use the 00 to bring in tone and the 5 filter to darken any black areas in the highlight which has the effect of local contrast increase in the highlight as well as creating tone...
I hope this helps and thanks for asking.
Originally Posted by ged
First time seeing this thread Bob, it's a real treasure to be able to compare my own darkroom habits with what you are doing----very enlightening, thanks.
"The difference between a very good
print and a fine
print is quite subtle and difficult , if not impossible, to describe in words."
---AA (The Print
Great thread, Bob! Many things to think about and learn from.
I concur with the "lith printing is all about pulling the print when the blacks look good" idea. Get the blacks and the rest will follow.
Prints reveals truths that negative scans obscures.
thank you very much for sharing your knowledge. Maybe it is a stupid question but who or what is "MAS"?
If you go too far you are still seeing good information and can apply what you see once you have achieved a proper starting density, MAS describes this very well , not sure where to find the info, and this method is practiced by most printers I know who do gallery work.
Thank's for the informaive post, lots of pointers to take with me into the dark =)
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Hi Bob. looks like we have the 99,9% same workflow and the way of seeing how we like the job done. But i was curious about one thing: "...for coldtone papers I like a bleach sepia and then selenium where a slight warm tone in the highlights and selenium in shadows...."
Do you bleach 100% and the sepiatone for lets say 40% of required time for sepia toning and then jump the print over to a Selenium tone bath? I use mostly selenium alone in 1:20 rate for 5 minutes or 20 if i want tonechange.
MAS is most likely: Michael A. Smith: http://www.michaelandpaula.com/mp/index_skip.html
Originally Posted by eselmarvin
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply in such detail! There's lots of good advice in there that will keep me busy in the darkroom trying new things for the next few month...
Bleach is as follows
Potassium Ferri- 32grams
Postasium Bromide - 32 grams
12 litres of water.
I will use this basic starting point- for Ilford Warmtone anywhere from 5 seconds to 1minute depending on the look I want.
Sodium Sulphide- 32 grams
12 litres of water
Immerse the print into the sulphide(stinky stuff) for 30secs to 1 minute.
Thanks to Bill Schwab on this one.... if the tone is not to my liking I will re bleach and build up the brown tone. I watched Bill doing this after a long day in my darkroom, making some murals. I thought he was crazy but once started is an amazing way of building up sepia tone to exactly where you want to be.
If I want a duo tone then I will mix up the Selenium.
I use: Selenium 1 : 5 and I will vary the papers to suit my desired look. I stopped using a weak dilution of 1:20 twenty years ago, as you can tell by this thread, I like working fast.
MAS - is Michael A Smith who wrote a nice article in the 90's about outflanking when printing, which is a method I was taught and I believe most professional printers use.
Cold tone papers generally require more bleach to get my look. I prefer cold tone papers for this particular look. (for Russell Monk series we used Ilford Warmtone,my favourite paper The bleach time was 5 seconds no more and the prints started to get too warm.
I only go full on sepia for one current client and I am not a really big fan of a full sepia toned print, I prefer a split where the highlights tone yellow and the shadows that tone cooler.
I always give a 20 minute soak in water after sepia toning before I go into the selenium or other toners.
It appears some of us here like to sepia first then selenium(me) and others prefer to selenium first.
I will never bleach and then selenium without fixing and washing the print between the steps, and I cannot explain the theory behind this.
Originally Posted by DarkMagic