pt/pd expo manipulations
I appreciate the fact that the mid and highlight tonal scales of alt processes are very well demonstrated , however, how does one burn/dodge a contact print when the exposure are 3-10 minutes in duration ? I am amazed at the mid and hightlight separation of my first contact pd print(Na2) but it caused me to ponder the issue....what if I needed to dodge or burn. 1st I would be standing there in this flood of actinic light, 2nd the materials are under glass in the vacuum frame, and 3rd the exposure times are measured in minutes not seconds as in silver printing. Am I missing something or is it more that pd/pd and other alternative process printers learn to expose film well enough not to need these types of manipulations? Any words of of wisdom on this issue are greatly appreciated...
p.s. these issues seem to surface after a rare glass of vintage Shiraz accompanied by strawberrys and a few chocolates
One of the reason I like Pt/pd printing (and carbon printing) is the fact that burning/doging (d&b) is difficult. It means that I must see more intently while photographing and compose for photographs that do not need d&b. This has become part of my methology and philosophy of photogaphing. It is part of the reason I work with only camera negatives.
That said, I have done a 15 minute burn using a piece of cardboard with a hole in it, but my particular light set-up minimized the amount of UV that my eyes were exposed to. I have also pulled the printing frame partway out of the light exposure unit to burn one side of the print. Perhaps one neg out of 20 of mine can use a little help like this.
Some of my exposures can be 30 min to an hour -- which means that a 100% burn, while not impossible, is impractical.
But some possibilities of b&d are possible for those who wish to. Those making enlarged negatives (either traditionally or digitally), can take care of any b&d at the time of making the enlarged negative.
Another possibility are masks laid on top of the glass of the vacumm frame over areas needing dodging. I remember reading of a photographer creating masks by laying material (rubylith, I believe) on a piece of glass that is then set on top of the printing frame during exposure. He was making silver prints, but it would work for pt/pd also. The mask was kept on file for whenever he re-printed the image...a very repeatable method of dodging.
Another way (but a bit more involved) is to position lights in such a way as to unevenly expose the print. I remember seeing AA's hort. 8x10 enlarger. The light source was a series of bulbs -- with the outer bulbs slightly closer to the neg, thus burning in the edges of the print a little. Once, I had a tube mal-function in my set of BL tubes and I used it to do a slight "dodge" in the center area of a print.
While it is possible to do some dodging and burning with pt/pd, I think you'll find that you will rarely need to if you're making "good" negatives. Because of the relatively straight-line response of the process (and many of the alt-processes) dodging and burning is much less of an issue compare to the "curvy" nature of silver gelatin papers.
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vaughn and kerik ,
Thanks for your answers, I am in that stage of looking at negatives I have made already to see if any are suitable for pt/pd printing. Of course I am eager to go out and shoot new stuff wih pt/pd in mind. the question came up when I noticed that a few negatives that had good contrast when I check them with the densitometer were also negatives that I dodged and burned when I printed them in silver. Again, i'm grateful for your responce.