Dodging Eyeballs

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bvy

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I have a rather thin negative of my nephew that I'd like to print -- that I have printed, though I'm not very happy with it. It would be good to dodge just the eyes, but they're very small (I'm printing to 8x10). I tried dodging the area around the eyes, and it gave me the density I wanted in the eyeballs, but that area of the boy's face looks noticeably washed out. I printed at Grade 5.

I thought of taking a clear piece of lith film and laying it over the paper somehow, penciling in the eyeballs to hold them back. Or touching the negative with pencil. Or even placing tiny balls of clay on the paper over the eyes for part of the exposure. But before I get silly, I thought I'd ask around.

(The picture is (there was a url link here which no longer exists).)

Any thoughts?
 

pbromaghin

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Try preflashing the paper for a few seconds to get a little base exposure on the whole paper. Then expose the neg for less time. The particular area will have some "base" exposure. Kind of like dodging the whole sheet. There are a couple threads that point to a website in Turkey where a guy does a wonderful explanation of the technique. Sorry, but I don't have a direct link. Somebody will.
 

lxdude

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Dodging eyeballs can be very difficult, especially when they're thrown hard.
 

Rafal Lukawiecki

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Consider an Alan Ross selective style masking setup, with a sheet of Duralar/acetate etc above a thin milky plexiglass diffuser placed just above the negative. This is easiest with LF but works with MF, and I've not tried with 35 but I expect it would be much harder. I find his technique is excellent for dodging small detail. More here: http://alanross.photoshelter.com/gallery/Products/G0000I85mSqszwKo/C0000dZzCEfz5doo
 

MartinP

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Depending on the area you need to adjust, you might be better off using reducer on the eyes. If you need to repeat the print many times then make the whole thing slightly lower contrast than normal, use the reducer and then re-photograph, using that negative for future prints.
 

cliveh

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As suggested you may be better off using some after print treatment, like some weak potassium ferricyanide solution applied with a cotton bud, rinsing with water as you use it.
 
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bvy

bvy

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Thanks everyone. No experience with preflashing (except for in-camera paper negatives) so I might try that next. Treating the print is an option too, although I have no experience there either. But I have some options now.

I think my link to the image was bad. It's (there was a url link here which no longer exists), or in my gallery (image titled "nephew").
 

Bill Burk

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Your original link was broken...

(there was a url link here which no longer exists)

Or even placing tiny balls of clay on the paper over the eyes for part of the exposure.

I can tell you what WON'T work. I made a small dodger that I thought was very ingenious. I cut the exact outline of my buddy's tuxedo which I wanted bright white. I gave this piece of paper the name MOSQUITO because it sat on the print for the dodging time and then I blew it off the easel to finish. It left a hard edge outline that was way too obvious. For me it was a failed experiment, and I don't plan to do that again.
 

sly

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I'd try bleach over dodging. The area is so small. Practise on scrap prints. Mix a weak bleach (potassium ferricyanide, or the bleach that comes with some toning kits); use a fine brush, a cotton swab might be too big; dab on bleach; rinse well; repeat; repeat. The bleach keeps working, so don't dab on bleach, wait until it looks light enough, and then rinse. You'll find you've gone too far. Once you're happy with it, refix, wash, and Bob's your uncle (or nephew?)!
 

Chris Lange

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use some very, very, thin and flexible, yet rigid wire, and then use a hole punch to give yourself a tiny perfect piece of black construction paper. make the world's smallest dodging tool, and have at it.

My Micro-Dodge™ is my most used dodging tool, by far, next to my UltraVignetteBurner 9000™.
 
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bvy

bvy

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I've read different things about this bleach. Will it also (potentially) change the tone of the bleached area? I use Ilford MGIV RC paper (matte) and Ilford PQ (1+9), if it matters.

(Thanks for the new link, Bill. I linked to the edit page which, of course, only I would be able to access.)
 

Bill Burk

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My Micro-Dodge™ is my most used dodging tool, by far, next to my UltraVignetteBurner 9000™.

Ouch, good dig.

Every once in a while something comes up that deserves a name... I thought I was onto something.

If it had worked, it would have been a good tool... as it turns out the name was apt... mostly annoying.
 

Chris Lange

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Ouch, good dig.

Every once in a while something comes up that deserves a name... I thought I was onto something.

If it had worked, it would have been a good tool... as it turns out the name was apt... mostly annoying.

Your idea actually was very sound, Bill, and one I have used a version of for a long time. I lower the head to about half the print size I want to make, trace the area I want to dodge on heavyweight paper, or black construction, and cut it out. Stick it on a cut off piece of clothes hanger wire with some blue tape, and then raise the head back to printing height. Gives me an approximate outline of the form that I can feather with ease...
 

Bill Burk

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Your idea actually was very sound, Bill, and one I have used a version of for a long time. I lower the head to about half the print size I want to make, trace the area I want to dodge on heavyweight paper, or black construction, and cut it out. Stick it on a cut off piece of clothes hanger wire with some blue tape, and then raise the head back to printing height. Gives me an approximate outline of the form that I can feather with ease...

I do exactly the same thing! I have a couple sheets on hand for the purpose that are made up as sandwich... a sheet of black construction paper pasted to a sheet of regular white paper. To hold the dodging paper, I made a couple dodgers out of 0.025 inch piano wire from hardware store (little wiggly, next gauge up would have been better). I wound the wire a couple times around a pencil to make a spring that will pinch paper. Glued the other end in a small block of wood for a handle. Little projects that don't take away from darkroom time... but make it better next time.
 

Truzi

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Dodging eyeballs can be very difficult, especially when they're thrown hard.

Nice to know I'm not the only one with a twisted sense of humor. I was going to suggest if one has to dodge eyeballs, they have found themselves in quite a serious situation.

Good information on this thread, though; definitely one to reference if I ever get good enough at printing to worry about the eyes.
 

ROL

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At first, I thought "Dodging Eyeballs" was another one of those judgmental "What Your Avatar Says About You…" threads. Why are you printing a thin negative with such high contrast? That may be part of your problem.
 

ic-racer

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You are shooting 8x10 film right (doesn't everyone?) so you can use a pencil to darken the eyes on the negative. If you are using one of the 'lesser' formats ( :smile: ) try bleaching the eyes in the final print. Much easier than dodging.
 
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bvy

bvy

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At first, I thought "Dodging Eyeballs" was another one of those judgmental "What Your Avatar Says About You…" threads. Why are you printing a thin negative with such high contrast? That may be part of your problem.

Even at grade 5, I'm not getting the blacks I want. I can get close, but I want to hold back the eyes a bit.
 
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bvy

bvy

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You are shooting 8x10 film right (doesn't everyone?) so you can use a pencil to darken the eyes on the negative. If you are using one of the 'lesser' formats ( :smile: ) try bleaching the eyes in the final print. Much easier than dodging.

Yes, a lesser format for sure (35mm). Even so, what kind of pencil do folks use for this? I have a 6B I use for writing on the verso of RC paper. Do you touch the base or emulsion side? Are the marks meant to be permanent?
 

MartinP

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I missed the bit about the neg being unusually thin and that was the reason for the low contrast. If you have any similar risk-able negs you could try selenium toning to build the contrast somewhat - if that helps, then try it on your problem negative too. It won't gain you any new detail of course, but it might be easier to print if that works out. The density is added to the silver that is present in the neg, but it is fairly proportional in action. There are also alternatives which others may be able to suggest, involving bleaching and redeveloping or super-proportional (if that's the right term?) intensifiers.
 

Mark Fisher

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I was going to say what Ralph said. The nice thing about clay is that you can shape it and move it around as needed. The downside of clay is that it is oily so watch where you put it and wash your hands before touching anything.
 

Dan Dozer

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I agree with a couple of others about trying bleaching the print. I've done it before for eyes that turn out too flat/dark. However, be careful and don't bleach until you think what you see is right, because then you've probably gone too far. It's very easy to bleach too much and then the whites of the eyes have this sinister creepy look.
 

RalphLambrecht

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I agree with a couple of others about trying bleaching the print. I've done it before for eyes that turn out too flat/dark. However, be careful and don't bleach until you think what you see is right, because then you've probably gone too far. It's very easy to bleach too much and then the whites of the eyes have this sinister creepy look.

Yes, been there ;done that; same with teth BTW.:D
 
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