Hi Ged

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.

Quote Originally Posted by ged View Post
Hi Bob,

I recently stumbled across this thread from back in March this year. It was a very interesting read and I really appreciated your post.

I have quite a number of questions that if you have the chance to answer sometime, I would be most grateful.

* "I use an outflanking method": Do you mean you go beyond the correct point (contrast, exposure, etc) and then pull back to get to the correct value?
* "I am very concerned about the negative position above the lens": I wasn't sure what you meant by this?
* "I study the negative before printing. I study the easel before printing": What are you looking for?
* "I use ducks ass and ducks bill a lot": This was very interesting! Do you have any pointers to where I could read/see more?
* "I look at a print no more than 1 minute and move to next exposure": I find with my printing I need to do the best "working" prints I can, go away and look at them a week or so later and then come back to the darkroom to do the final prints. Is this unusual?
* "I do not like the 0 and 5 method only": How do you decide which filter to use for your "white" time? Is this where you mention lower down in the post that you "settle on a lower than normal tone for your tastes and as well lighter than normal". If I am reading this correctly, you try to get to 3/4 of desired tone with your main exposure on the selected filter and then blast with the 5 to get the remaining tone with desired contrast.
* "I like to give a final edge burn to all my prints": Do you burn all edges? How much exposure do you give and with which filter?
* "I like to tone the same day as I print": Do you have a "standard" toning routine?
* "7. If there is a spot that is too bright then I will burn with 00 to bring in detail ( I always use the 5 filter as well to burn in highlights.. ask me why... soft light.(Les Mclean)": When do you burn with the 00 and when with the 5? I wasn't sure I understood the quote from Les?

Once again, thank you for your post.

Kind regards,