CRM's, SCIM's, HLM's, etc...

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MurrayMinchin

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Hi,

Who out there is masking? How's it going? Where abouts on the learning curve are you? What film are you using for the masks? Developer? Agitation? How did you win the battle to get things to register properly. What impact has the control had on your prints? Are your prints living up to what you thought would be possible when the realization of maskings potential first hit you?

Murray
 

rbarker

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I only mask when riding through the village, helping the oppressed and downtrodden. To avoid copyright issues, I swing my sword in a circular motion - the mark of Zerro. :wink:

In-camera masking has always fascinated me, but I've never taken the time to try my hand at it. The registration issues always seemed too daunting for my precision-impaired skillset. But, perhaps I was overthinking the matter.
 

Claire Senft

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Registration is not a problem for me.

I own a Condit punch and pin glasses so registration is not a problem. I would imagine that used Condit punches etc are pretty hard to find these days.
 
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MurrayMinchin

MurrayMinchin

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I got into masking with Radeka's masking kit and had no end of trouble at first with registration. Then I "borrowed" from him the idea of a negative carrier holder, and having the bottom piece of glass in the carrier slightly wedge shaped. (Being financialy impared, I made one myself instead of buying Radeka's new system). The negative carrier gets pushed into the holder against guides and a stop at the back. Because I use a Beseler 45MXT that actually drops the negative stage when it's opened to take out a negative, the negative carrier holder means I'll never have to drop the negative stage again...a huge help in keeping things registered!

Since I started, I've been using Arista APH developed in HC-110 because I don't use Dektol...anybody else go the HC-110 route?

Murray
 

resummerfield

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I've only done CRMs and HLMs, using Arista in Dekrol because it is cheap. I've considered HC-110 and may try it someday.

The larger the neg the easier to register, or I should say the smaller the enlargement the less noticeable the mis-registration. So far I've only done 4x5, and use a Condit punch with pin registered glass. I have a 35mm neg which could use a dodge mask, but I'll probably do a paper plane mask with 8x10 lith film. I just can't imagine being able to properly register 35mm.
 

hortense

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MurrayMinchin said:
Hi,
Who out there is masking? How's it going? Where abouts on the learning curve are you? What film are you using for the masks? Developer? Agitation? How did you win the battle to get things to register properly. What impact has the control had on your prints? Are your prints living up to what you thought would be possible when the realization of maskings potential first hit you?
Murray
For some years now, I've done unsharp masking frequently on my 4x5s (USMs). I use Arista 200 and Alistair Inglis' masking punch, easil registration system,
and enlarger negative carriers. For more information see : Dead Link Removed.
Then, get a 10 1/2" turtable/lazy susan, a Slosher and a pocket tape recorder.
For panchomatic film, make a tape calling out the time (but, important, bypass the batteries to get consistant results). Use this as a timer while you rotate the slosher through the water bath first, then the developer, etc. OR, use Orthocrhomatic Lith film also available from Freestyle Photo. This way you can use the usual ruby bulb so you can see your timer.
Place the turntable as far to edge of the enlarger illumination area so you can more uniformly expose and get more of an edge-effect.
I use a higly dilute HC110 solution (1.17% for first neg, then for a denser neg use 1.53% dil.). Develop mask in a Slosher for 2-min. and 30-sec, rocking gently. However, every 30-sec raise Slosher up from tray bottom and vibrate up and down like crazy. Then, stop, fix, etc.
Run a test to determine exposure. Typically I expose or 8-sec @ f/32. Image should be very light (faint such that this positive image only extends into the middle values) with almost no highlights in this positive. If you have a densitometer, I can provide density readings - but, really are not needed despite what Howard Bond says.
Most or many of my prints are printed using a USM because of the improvement of "local contrast" and require less burning/dodging. I alway do a "straight print" first before I decide if I need a USM.
 

hortense

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Oh, by the way, there's a good article in APUG's "How To" section published by Sean.
 

Donald Miller

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I designed and had a machine shop build a dedicated pin registration system for my Saunders 4550 VCCE XLG enlarger. I use APH ortholith film and develop in Dektol (1-30 for USM and 1-10 for any of the sharp masks) My registration problems have been solved with this system as repeatability is + or - .003 of an inch. By that I mean that the negative holder indexes into the enlarger and the film masks will repeat at that level of precision. I have found a SECM will give much more desireable print qualities then flashing paper for instance. I have found that masking has allowed me to print negatives that would otherwise not have been printable...as an example those that have greater then 12 stops of negative density range.
 
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MurrayMinchin

MurrayMinchin

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Unsharp masks are useful to be sure, but doesn't that leave the quiver half full? Sharp masks like the Shadow Contrast Increase Mask can really blast finely detailed blacks back into a print after a CRM. The inter-positive for the SCIM can also be used to burn in annoying bright spots as well, like sky through foilage or bright, distracting branches (after other areas to remain uneffected have been opaqued).

Donald, what would be a SCEM?

Murray
 

L Gebhardt

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I have only tried CRM for printing on Ilfochrome. It makes a huge difference. I am going to buy a registration system soon as i am getting tired of eye balling it. I just made two prints where the mask slipped and I need to redo them.
 
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MurrayMinchin

MurrayMinchin

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Hi "L",

If you're doing colour, have you ever seen Christopher Burkett's work?

www.christopherburkett.com

He's set the bar pretty high for colour printers using masks!

Murray
 

Donald Miller

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MurrayMinchin said:
Unsharp masks are useful to be sure, but doesn't that leave the quiver half full? Sharp masks like the Shadow Contrast Increase Mask can really blast finely detailed blacks back into a print after a CRM. The inter-positive for the SCIM can also be used to burn in annoying bright spots as well, like sky through foilage or bright, distracting branches (after other areas to remain uneffected have been opaqued).

Donald, what would be a SCEM?

Murray


I use the term Shadow Contrast Enhancement Mask as the same term as your SCIM.
 

Donald Miller

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MurrayMinchin said:
Hi "L",

If you're doing colour, have you ever seen Christopher Burkett's work?

www.christopherburkett.com

He's set the bar pretty high for colour printers using masks!

Murray

Yes, his work is really fine. Years ago when I did Cibachrome as my color process, I used unsharp masking to reduce contrast. In that case, I used black and white low density masks to reduce the contrast in transparency materials. In that context the mask became a black and white internegative of the transparency positive. The alternative back then was to use a color internegative that had been produced from a color transparency and to print the internegative onto color reversal paper. I have seen some really fine color prints made with that process.
 
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MurrayMinchin

MurrayMinchin

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Hi Donald,

I've been thinking of getting away from using HC-110 for masks. How does Dektol behave at high dilutions? My early masks with HC-110 at high dilutions with normal agitation were heavily mottled with a "paisly" (?) pattern. To get a smooth/even density I had to plunge then lift the mask by each corner once every 15 seconds, or 4 times by each corner per minute...does Dektol require such aggresive aggitation at high dilutions?

Murray
 
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MurrayMinchin

MurrayMinchin

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Oh...and another question comes to mind...HC-110 requires at least 1/4 US oz of concentrate per 5x7 Arista APH mask. How much Dektol stock solution is required per mask?

Murray
 

L Gebhardt

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MurrayMinchin said:
Hi "L",

If you're doing colour, have you ever seen Christopher Burkett's work?

www.christopherburkett.com

He's set the bar pretty high for colour printers using masks!

Murray

I haven't seen his work until now. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I feel that I still have a long way to go before I get his level. Do you know if most of his prints are from negatives or positives? I couldn't really see that from his site, though it was good to see that he doesn't use digital at all.
 
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MurrayMinchin

MurrayMinchin

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I don't know which film he uses, but he prints on Cibachrome.

Murray
 

L Gebhardt

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MurrayMinchin said:
Hi Donald,

I've been thinking of getting away from using HC-110 for masks. How does Dektol behave at high dilutions? My early masks with HC-110 at high dilutions with normal agitation were heavily mottled with a "paisly" (?) pattern. To get a smooth/even density I had to plunge then lift the mask by each corner once every 15 seconds, or 4 times by each corner per minute...does Dektol require such aggresive aggitation at high dilutions?

Murray

I have been using Ctein's version of Muir SoftShot developer with FP4+ to make my contrast reducing masks. It is a very nice low contrast developer wich works much better than D76 (as per Ilford) for making the contrast reducing masks. It is not mottled at all. I don't know if these qualities are what you are looking for, but if you want I can send you the recipe (it's in Post Exposure).
 
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MurrayMinchin

MurrayMinchin

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Thanks, but I think I'll stick with the orthochromatic lith film for now and find a convenient paper developer for mask development. Who am I to contradict Radeka's success with that combination?

Murray
 
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MurrayMinchin

MurrayMinchin

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L Gebhardt said:
I haven't seen his work until now. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I feel that I still have a long way to go before I get his level. Do you know if most of his prints are from negatives or positives? I couldn't really see that from his site, though it was good to see that he doesn't use digital at all.

Hi again L,

Did you know Burkett has made a video of his approach to photography and a brief introduction to his darkroom techniques? He was nice enough to send me one after I sent him an e-mail telling him how impressed I was by his ability to find such subtle compositions in forests, how he could recognise such subtle relationships out of the infinetly complex variables in deep forest scenes.

While the video doesn't go into great technical depth, the real lesson to be learned from it is to be found in Burkett's eye's...you can see within them just how much dedication, how much commitment it takes to have that much control over processes.

Murray
 

Donald Miller

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MurrayMinchin said:
Hi Donald,

I've been thinking of getting away from using HC-110 for masks. How does Dektol behave at high dilutions? My early masks with HC-110 at high dilutions with normal agitation were heavily mottled with a "paisly" (?) pattern. To get a smooth/even density I had to plunge then lift the mask by each corner once every 15 seconds, or 4 times by each corner per minute...does Dektol require such aggresive aggitation at high dilutions?

Murray


I tray develop my masks. So continual suffling, hence agitation, is a part of my procedure. I have not found a mottling when I use Dektol.

On the subject of your other question. I typically will use 1 1/2 oz of Dektol for my unsharp masks in 45 oz of water. Then when I move to making a sharp mask for a given negative I will add an additional 3 oz of Dektol to the existing 30-1 dilution. This then gives me the 10-1 dilution that I use for sharp masks. I don't know what capacity (number of masks) this would handle since I have never reached anywhere near exhaustion.

Additionally, I have used Zone VI print developer in the same dilutions as Dektol with good results.
 

Kirk Keyes

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L Gebhardt said:
Do you know if most of his [Burkett] prints are from negatives or positives?

I've been to Burkett's studio on a tour maybe 10 years ago. It was quite informative. In addition to using masks, he also did things like dodging the top of the frame on his famous aspen tree trunks shot with a yellow gel filter to remove some of the blue flare from the sky that was outside of the frame.

Anyway, at that time, he was using transparency films. Fujichrome, I think.

kirk - www.keyesphoto.com
 
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MurrayMinchin

MurrayMinchin

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Donald Miller said:
I typically will use 1 1/2 oz of Dektol for my unsharp masks in 45 oz of water. Then when I move to making a sharp mask for a given negative I will add an additional 3 oz of Dektol to the existing 30-1 dilution. This then gives me the 10-1 dilution that I use for sharp masks./QUOTE]

Sneaky...I like it! I do have an ancient package of Zone VI developer on hand to run some tests with.

I mix up my own Metol / Glycin print developer that's closer in performance to Ansco 120 than it is to Dektol or Zone VI developers. It's really slow "off the starting line" compared to other developers with the negatives clear edge appearing at around 45 to 55 seconds (depending on age and temperature) and the shadows appear at around a minute, so I don't know if it's appropriate for masks. What do you think?

Murray
 
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