It is important to understand that many many photographers have made wonderful luminous prints without the benefit of masking or any other technique other than exposing and developing their film properly (knowing your material) and learning how to convey your vision onto your printing material. Not rocket science. There are many ways to achieve what you are looking for and masking is one. Also bleaching, dye dodging, and flashing of which AA made numerous mentions in his books. But even though he wanted to impart as much information to us in his writings, he knew he couldn't include all of the information about all of the techniques used by photographers and printers. So he wrote a very basic set of instructions which you now must improve upon. And it seems you are searching for it.