Quote Originally Posted by Mark Fisher View Post
I think the best thing to do is to forget about split printing, burning or dodging. The first step to getting a good print is nailing the exposure and the contrast. The technique I use to do this is to use test strips I cut from a sheet and expose the strips in the same place where the key element is. Expose it as your "normal" contrast (2 or 3) over a range of times. Make sure you get a time that is too much and one that is too little based on the highlights only. Then, tweak the contrast to get the blacks you want. The time may need to be tweaked after you nail the contrast. Don't be tempted by short cuts until you are consistently making good prints. Oh, yeah, and it takes a lot of paper in the garbage to make a good print!
Thanks for keeping it real, Mark. It's easy to get carried away with too much stuff and forget about the very important basics. Exposure and contrast - that's where it all begins.