You make a lot of sense... Things have changed since last I declared I make 3 prints each. Now I have scaled back and make 1 print each to save paper.
Forced me into making a reprint of my popular shot. Yes, I had to make one print for a couple I found are Disney fans. Otherwise 1 print each satisfies my (nonexistent) clientele.
My big customer is coming up today... my dad. Might show him his uncle's slides to keep him away from taking my prints (besides he still wants to see prints of himself that I haven't made yet).
I'll add to your dodging tools advice, a piano wire on a block of wood comes in very handy. Reinhold makes a fancy set, just one of those circles is what you would want the set for. The rest can be wall decor, it's a nice set.
I keep meaning to poke a hole in cardboard to make a burning tool. But I have had good luck with hands, THEY ARE VERY CONVENIENT. Even though sometimes I wonder what I did, most of the time the finished effect is what I went for and the error is invisible.
My light monitor is complicated and needs note-taking, I wish I had a "light integrator" that clicked, so I could treat time in "units". Other than that I really rely on my clicking timer to shut off the light because I can't count down 40 seconds in my head.
I'm pretty sure I read this thread about a year ago, but it might be time to re-read it all from the beginning. In my own small way I seem to be following a similar path... a year ago I was keeping test strips, making extensive notes, etc... then I realized that my process of coming to exposure is not so time consuming and that it contains an important part of familiarizing and "connecting" with the print. I stopped keeping notes on each print soon after. I can't imagine using them if I re-printed. Also, now I have a backlog of negatives to print, and it's more fun working on a new print. I've only been printing about a year or so.
Two things caught my eye in Bob's recent KISS post.
1) The importance of leading the eye.. this is easier said than done, even if you know what you want to accomplish with a given print. My efforts at this seem ham-handed and blatant and I keep finding myself falling back more toward a straight print because I don't like it when it looks overdone. Or I spend a lot of time getting something that is very subtle and I wonder if anyone except me the printer would ever know or if it makes any difference at all! There is some kind of balance to find here, and I have definitely NOT found it. I figure it will come with time and practice, but would be interested in hearing how others manage the "big picture" broad decisions about dodging and burning.
2) Bob you said you learned the hard part of burning and dodging early on. I'd love to know what "the hard part" is!
Last edited by NedL; 09-21-2013 at 12:00 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: clarity, maybe!
My first real photo job after photo school was in Hamilton Ontario , working for a very busy wedding / portrait photographer.
We did everything from shoot the wedding on film, process C41 make proof prints, then my boss Slobadan Filipovitch and I would handle all the printing of the wedding orders by hand. I was given 8 x10 - 5 x7 - wallets. He took 11x14 and up..
I had to dodge and burn every print, Mr Phillip as I called him was very anal about this and I could not fool him, I was allowed to put colour corrections on the test strip, but in the three years I worked for him he never accepted one of my corrections. He would stand by me or I would stand by him and we would discuss the dodge and burn and how to improve.
He also did this with me with the weddings and to my surprise after two years the couples were requesting me to do the candids and Mr Philip was quite happy with that as he did the formals. So each sat I had two groups of candids to do ..
I got really good with the dodging tools and secondly with the burning tools , also how to tame contrast lighting ratio with exposure and flash.
My next job was at a Wedding Lab in Toronto. Custom Colour Lab, I got the custom printing job right away after one day of proving myself.
Now I insisted to do the 11x14 and up and I trained others to do the small prints.
This was a very busy lab and I printed for some great wedding photographers, most notably was Tibor Horvath, who loved to come to the darkroom, and pretend he was printing, but basically talked my ear off about life, he was a wonderful man.
Over this period I still used the same tools and never relied on translators after I had made my first test, I went all manual after using the first test tools that were given me.
So 6 years, I was pretty good after two months but the daily grind of dodge and burn created an internal mapping system for my future and I still work the same way.
So how do I explain to young printers how to do this...
Take 15 rolls of 35mm film and go out and shoot all 15 rolls - under diverse conditions
take your time as you need portraits, landscapes , city scapes , this can be in colour or black and white.. pick your poison.
Now buy 500 sheets of Ilford RC gloss paper 8x10... over three days make at least 300 work prints , do not worry about dust whatsoever.
Use a glass carrier or not but dodge and burn every single print.
This is what I make all my assistants do here and basically you will learn by about your 200th print what the tools and your hands are for.
Sounds ridiculous and expensive and time consuming but you asked ,, here it is... the 300 print test. go forth and prosper
First of all thanks for those stories: wonderful!
Second of all thanks for the advice. I could never make 300 prints in 3 days, but I might manage 300 in 100 days! That's okay. It will take me several months to go as far as your assistants do in 3 days. In the end, it's what I figured: practice ad learn, practice and learn... I get the point about diverse conditions too.
Pretty disappointing to read this kind of thing from someone with lots of experience. I'd also say assuming Bob is referring to the specific type of "split grade" approach in which even the base exposure is split into two (a grade 0 and a grade 5), that is not a very good example of KISS. It is simply another gimmick (not very different than enlarging meters, fancy timers and other such superfluous inventions). Frankly I will keep suggesting to any beginner that they read publications by Kodak and Ilford and avoid APUG altogether until they are more experienced. Nobody with a brain would ever suggest densitometry, exposure theory etc. necessarily lead to better prints. Nor would any competent B&W worker propose that techniques such as masking be part of one's basic procedures. But I also think it is wrong to imply any type of print of any type of image can be accomplished by waving your hands around under the enlarger. It simply isn't so. Nor is it necessarily a waste of time for someone to want to learn about sensitometry, how our materials work, etc. Actually that knowledge can end up simplifying things tremendously as gradually all the myths, incorrect traditional wisdom, and mountains of nonsense all come crashing down.
Last edited by Michael R 1974; 09-21-2013 at 04:25 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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Thanks for that Bob-enjoyed reading it!
"He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.
Michael R 1974,
I don't understand what you're saying. Maybe you can break it down into a couple different pros and cons.
So you know from the test strip... what a certain amount of exposure is going to look like. Then you pick a base time that is going to make most of the print look good. There's going to be parts that "other" test strip exposures look best for... So those are your dodges or burns... Easy enough to do with your hands, even without tons of experience.
There's nothing to break down. I'm tired of people crapping on knowledge and techniques.
I understand exactly what he is saying and agree.
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
I don't see how Bob's advice is "crapping on knowledge and techniques". Making 300 prints, over 3 days, will certainly impart a good deal of knowledge, as well as honing techniques.
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974