Steven, by all means I'm not new to film and printing but for reasons beyond my control I had to take shortcuts while keeping my hobby alive. Years ago scanning film and posting images came at a time when I could not afford a darkroom so my focus was to make best possible begatives in order to still have something acceptable to post in this forum. I don't feel sorry because I learned a lot about controlling my exposure testing film and film development. Then I was able to slowly build a darkroom in my basement, equipment was dumped by people switching to DX and everyting became affordable. I started making straight prints from my negatives. Despite the fact that my negatives were good I could never produce a print that I like, one that stands out.After making a quick couple of prints last night and not getting what I wanted, I thought I'd ask this question:
What is the single (or few) techniques in darkroom printing that you feel you mastered, that took your print making to the next level ?
My prints last night needed some dodging and burning for sure, to make them "better", but they're a bit complicated for my current skill level, so I'm thinking its something I have to work on. Then I read about split grade printing, well maybe that's something I should try out, and then there's a device you can buy (Heiland ?) for this technique....
Interested in hearing about your eureka moments !
It is hard to define what is a good print but you can tell immediately when you see one. I understood that I have to actually go to the source to make that step in quality that I needed for my prints: watch a master printer turning a mediocre negative into a piece of art was the turning point for me. I recently had the opportunity to take a printing workshop at the Elevator in Toronto held by Steve Sherman assisted by Tim Rudman. Bob Carnie also shared some of his approach in oprinting and tonning. All the comments made in this thread by many experienced people make so much sense now. All this theoretical information that you read in books and forums is good but it means very little if you don't put your hands in the mix. I just started and it takes me 3-4 hours and 6-8 sheets of paper to make a print that is worth looking at (I don't say good...). All hard work but let me tell you, I won't do anything else in my spare time. Good luck and show some of your results.