VC paper split filtration
I finally have a wet darkroom set up after twenty plus years without one. I know this question shows my ignorance, but I do not fully comprehend the concept of multiple filter exposures on VC paper.
Is this procedure reserved for "problem" negatives or is it used routinely to get a better result? I have stocked up on Ilford MG paper and I have a set of Ilford filters for 00-5 grade.
Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Split-filtration printing adds two potentially useful variables to the printing process:
1. if done without dodging/burning, varying the times for the individual filters enables you to achieve effective grades that are between those of the individual filters, and
2. if combined with dodging and burning, allows contrast control of specific areas of the print.
If a negative prints perfectly with a single filter, split filtration won't add anything useful except time consumption, IMHO.
[COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]
Rio Rancho, NM
The way I understand it is in the distant past when VC paper was first created it shipped with two filters for spilt filtering. This caused problems with people used to graded paper and wanting graded VC paper. That led to the current filter sets.
Personally I find spilt filtering quick and painless. It's not extra work for me so I use it for everything. The only point I'll disagree with Rbarker is I find it quicker then single filter printing for me.
Do a search through the archives. There's been a couple of threads fairly recently that gave me my introduction to split printing. My understanding is that it gives you a broader tonality scale than single filter printing. Now, I only use single filter printing for very flat negs, and I working my film process now so I expose and develop to take advantage of split filter printing. If you can't find 2-3 monumentally helpful threads on the topic, PM me and I'll come up with some links for you.
I would be glad to give you all the information I can about split filter printing. Just ask away or PM me at your leisure.
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Thanks for the input. If I understand the previously posted threads, separate exposures are made through two filters such as # 1 and #5, burning in areas that can benefit from each contrast grade. Is this basically the process? Please excuse my ignorance. My experience is with graded papers only.
I just use the filter for that end and don't worry about different filters for burning and dodging. I try to control all of this by time alone
I do nothing but split filtration, almost all are contact prints. I have been using split filtration since the mid-80's when Fred Picker described his process with his Iceland negatives.
Originally Posted by gma
Because Fred always started with the high contrast filter, I do too. I find it easy to arrive at "black" at the edges (B+F) or if there is a point on the print where I want "black." This is arrived at using f8 and step exposures to lock down the first exposure with the 5+ filter. After you are happy with the low tones, you need to analyze your vision of the finished print--will it be high key, low key, rich in the middle? Is the negative thin, hard, or contrasty in spots?
Assuming a middle of the road for your first few attempts, and negatives that were carefully made, expose first with the 5+ at your determined exposure, then close the lens down 2 stops and change to the 0 or 00 filter.
Again do a step exposure for the highlights (remember dry-down effect). Choose an exposure that works and make a work print from the two exposures you have determined.
As mentioned, local contrast and local tonal control are possible with burning or dodging with either filter.
I have found it much easier to start with the low values and then fill in for the highlights, rather that getting the highlights, then trying to find proper low values. This was Fred's rationale, as well.
High contrast negatives will need only one stop reduction between 5+ and 0, and low contrast negatives will sometimes need 3 or even 4 stops down from the 5+ exposure.
Try it. You'll like it.
Though not 'pure split filtering' I sometimes make an exposure to give a flatish print and beef up the shadows with the hard filter...or take the edge off bright highlights with the soft. Whichever seems to be lacking with a straight prints using a grade that otherwise give a decent starting point. Ultimately you can do what you want, using any garde you want at any location on the print. Things to watch out for are using the soft grades too much for 'easy' burning in. eg. If you need to burn in some sky, complete with nice white clouds, using a soft grade will be faster for the burning, but may give muddy dirt looking clouds with no contrast. Using a higher grades will take longer but may give a more lively rendition. However, if you seek to only give tone to a whitewashed wall in the sun that is burned out, a soft grade makes sense as there is no texture requiring contrast. Barry thornton talks a lot about this in his 'edge of darkness book' - a good book to get your hands on!
I totally agree with Tom,
I use a middle filter to give a slightly light, flattish print, then I blast with a 5 filter to bring in contrast. as well use 00 filter when needed.
This is by far the easiest way to ( split print ) and it also allows the worker the most lattitude in printmaking with VC papers.
Pre flashing is an interesting adjustment as well Jorge described a method of pre bleaching prints before development that sound quite interesting as well.
Bottom line , whatever method works best for you , use it .
I also print with graded papers which do not allow this kind of adjustment (beyond using two developers , hard and soft ).
I am always happy with the prints made either way.