Keep it simple stupid KISS PRINTING.
Lately I have noticed a lot of threads popping up on printing and film developing here on APUG... that is a good sign yes/no for all us printers. I have also
noticed a lot of people pounding their chests about their methods,, how to take notes,, the value of notes,, Zone system gurus talking
about how one needs to chart before they can print.... MYSELF INCLUDED.
One thing I think that is missing is good old fashion LOOKING and OBSERVING and then MODIFYING.
Kodak has told us for years , what to look for in a negative on a light box, can you read a newspaper through the highlights, is there information in the shadow area.
-Well Kodak was right dammit.. you should stop complicating your life and just look at the negative and observe, understand then modify.
A negative is easy to understand if you can read a newspaper through it.
If a timer is so complicated that you need a manual to understand how to use it , are you printing or are you operating a timer
I use a simple gray lab timer 450 and I see no need for anything else. The timer is a damm tool and if it is more complicated than the enlarger itself then
you are spending too much time learning something that is bla-se.
The print will tell you if it needs more tone or less tone, you just have to LOOK AND OBSERVE then MODIFY your approach the timer only starts the exposure and stops it.
I have used the same dodging and burning tools including my hands for 37 years. I do not need any stinken complicated masks to make a print or
silly odd shaped tools, by adjusting the angle of your arm you can turn a circle into an egg, you can use your hands to filter in the light within the image
and you can use your hands to create box shapes on the outside.. KISS.
Split Grade Printing is basically using a low contrast filter and a high contrast filter, with a bunch of prints you will figure it out and how to MODIFY your results.
As you may gather I hate note taking , curves, complicated equipment..
I believe in looking at the negative, looking at the easel, watch the print emerge, and decide where tone is needed, areas of where you want to lead the eye too are very important and that my friends is what the dodge and burn tool is all about.
Where there should be more contrast to entice to viewer to ogle.
I also encourage printers not to copy past prints, Ie screw the notes or the silly print maps, and actually make a new print each time.
As a printmaker for others it should be noted that I will not match other printers prints for clients, and even within my own prints for my clients I will never match a print as I am hoping that I get better each day and why would I want to match something I did before, it may be inferior..Yes/NO
Most important observe your subject and lighting and understand how lighting ratios and negative / print ratios work.