Interpretations of a negative

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by dlin, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. Solarize

    Solarize Member

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    This is a great thread.

    I've posted this in the gallery before, but thought I'd start my contribution here with something which represents a significant visual departure from the negative scan.

    This photograph was taken in the Drakensberg, South Africa. It was shot on Ilford FP4 and developed in Rodinal. The negative is of good density and shows detail throughout the scale. While the scan is very flat I was drawn to the light at the bottom of the frame, and particularly interested in pulling out contrast in this area. Because the mountain occupied such a large part of the image, I wanted a paper which would give very rich midtones.

    A quick test strip revealed the neg would print very nicely on grade 3 Fortezo in Ilford Warmtone developer. I gave a base exposure of 60 seconds, holding back the sunlit are for 10. 10 seconds was added to to the bottom left, again, to force attention on the sunlit area. A further 5 seconds was added to everyinthing above the trees, 15 seconds to the distant mountains and everything above, and a final further 15 added to the sky and very furthest mountains.

    2 minutes in the developer was enough to reveal all the shadow detail I needed, while a waterbath for a further minute helped push a little detail into the lower trees.

    This version was arrived at on the second or third attempt, so unusually quickly for me! To intensify the contrast and because I love the look in general, I lightly bleached the print back and toned with Sepia. A quick wash later and I gave it a few seconds in Selenium - just enough for a colour shift and to make the midtones go chocolate-like.

    On several reprints I didn't quite dodge the trees enough, so some selective bleaching has been required - but on the whole this is a step I prefer to avoid, and on this version, I don't think it was required.

    This was an 8x10 inch print on 9.5x12 inch paper. It originated from a 645 negative, which I routinely crop to 8x10, 8x8 or 5x10 proportions.

    Thanks for looking,

    Ciaran
     

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  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    This is a very educational and enjoyable thread.

    Thank you to the contributors.

    Steve
     
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    dlin

    dlin Member

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    Multiple interpretations of a negative

    This photograph was taken at Sturgeon Bay during Photostock 2009 . The sunset that evening was gorgeous, and as the light slowly faded I noticed the shimmering surface of the water spreading in concentric rings around rocks poking above the surface.

    Negative: 120 Ilford Delta 100 developed in Pyrocat
    Paper: Ilford MGIV developed in Ansco 130

    The top portion of the negative was cropped to rectangular proportions, which I thought emphasized the expanding ripples.

    I worked on a series of prints using different techniques to get the feeling I had in mind.

    Local manipulation of tones was achieved using a dye-dodging mask on translucent material that was then sandwiched with the negative during enlargement. Dye (Marshall's spotting dyes) was applied to the mask using a spotting brush. I added density to some of the ripples on the water, and to the rock to bring them out in relation to shadow areas of the water.

    Print 1: Base exposure made with a VC 2.5 filter. Top portion burned in ~1/2 stop. Edges burned in ~1/6 stop.

    Print 2: 1/2 of base exposure made with a VC 3.5 filter, 1/2 with a diffusion sheet laid on top of paper. Same burning sequence as above

    Print 3: Overprinted. 1/3 of base exposure made with VC 2.5 filter, 2/3 with a diffusion sheet. Same burning sequence as above. After the normal development/fix/wash sequence, the print was bleached back.

    All the prints were then subsequently toned in thiocarbamide.
     

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  4. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Hi dlin. I saw this in the gallery and your note with it referring to this thread, so thought I'd come here first to make sure I wasn't noting something you had already done.

    For me, and this is purely my own preference, this works better when more of the neg is cropped out from the top removing all the sunset reflections. It makes it slightly more abstract and feels more balanced.

    Other than that it was well seen and a great shot.
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Member

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    Very interesting with the diffusion, Daniel. A year ago or so I was playing around with parchment paper, but found that I had to continuously move the paper around, or the texture inherent in the paper would become apparent in the print. What are you using for diffusion material? Snake oil is OK... :smile:

    It's a stunning print, my friend. I really like what you're doing.
     
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    dlin

    dlin Member

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    Thanks, Thomas. For diffusion I've been using a sheet of Yupo laid on top of the enlarging paper during part of the exposure. Yupo is a synthetic paper that is completely homogenous, so you don't have to worry about texture. You can move the Yupo sheet relative to the paper to get different degrees of diffusion, but if you move it too far, it basically adds overall fog. There are many different methods to achieve diffusion: soft focus filters, nylon stocking, mesh screens...etc.

    Regards,
    Daniel
     
  7. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Subscriber

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    I have enjoyed this thread and wanted to contribute.

    I received a box of AGFA MCC 111 at John Powers' recent APUG gathering (thanks Matt!) and decided to put it to use on an old neg last night. I developed the paper in PF130 for 2 minutes and selenium toned it at 1:50 for 3 minutes. The print has a light brown tone with just a hint of magenta. It is a rather dark interpretation though reminiscent of the actual sunrise light.

    I contact printed the 8x10 neg (Tri-X in Pyrocat HD) using a Bostick Sullivan 9x11 frame and a dichro enlarger as the light source. The method was split grade printing.

    I laid down a test sheet using YELLOW 150. I chose a highlight exposure of 10 seconds and added strips of MAGENTA 170. I then made a straight print using using 10 seconds of Y150 and 25 seconds of M170.

    I altered this a bit and ended up with the following:

    1. Y150 base for 8 seconds during which I DODGED the bottom mud cracks using a medium sized rectangular dodging tool, moving it from left to right and back across the print maybe 3 times over the 8 seconds.

    2. Y150 BURN for 6 seconds on the sky area and allowing some light to hit the dunes at the top of the frame.

    3. Y150 BURN for 4 seconds on the top left corner, including the sky, mountains and dunes.

    4. M170 base for 20 seconds.

    5. M170 burn of 10 seconds on the top third of the print.

    The result is a somewhat subtle print based around low values. The scan looks reasonably close on my calibrated monitor and terrible on my non-calibrated monitor....
     

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  8. ghostcount

    ghostcount Member

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    Stumbled on this thread and enjoyed it thoroughly. Bumping the past to be educated.

    "Thank you mam, may I have some more please?" :w00t:
     
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    dlin

    dlin Member

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    This thread has been quiet for some time, which is a shame because I've enjoyed seeing and learning how others work up a print from the negative. I hope others will continue to contribute.

    Here is a recent image from McCormicks's Creek State Park in Indiana. The creek above the main falls is shallow, and was dotted with freshly fallen leaves.

    Negative: TMY developed in Pyrocat HD
    Print: Ilford MGIV toned in selenium and thiocarbamide

    The tones in the leaves unfortunately melded with the background more than I had anticipated. I played with the negative scan in photoshop quite a bit to explore variations in tonal representation and decided to go with a very hard contrast for the print.

    - The main exposure was made with a grade 5 filter on VC paper
    - A supplemental exposure, also at grade 5, was made with a sheet of Yupo (frosted paper) laying over the paper for a slight diffusion
    - Additional burn exposures were done with a softer grade filter (1) through the Yupo on the corners and edges.

    After the processing steps, the print was toned in selenium to solidify the shadows.

    After a thorough wash, the print was subsequently bleached and toned in thiocarbamide.

    All the best,
    Daniel
     

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  10. Paul Armstrong

    Paul Armstrong Member

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    Do you bracket the print exposures to get the desired tone after thiocarbamide or can you count on a certain density/contrast change during toning that is consistant or predictable?
     
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    dlin

    dlin Member

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    Hi Paul,

    I've worked with this paper enough to have a pretty good idea how the tones will behave with the subsequent toning steps. I use selenium first to reinforce the shadow tones, and to protect them during the subsequent bleach/thiocarbamide step. With MGIV, the highlights don't change very much during the bleach/tone stage, whereas with MGWT I have noticed a lightening of the highlights, so I do have to adjust the exposure to print them down a bit further.

    Best,
    Daniel
     
  12. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thread deservedly made sticky.
     
  13. EKDobbs

    EKDobbs Member

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    Total newbie, but this seems like a good place to learn. The picture is well out of focus, but I really wanted to make a nice print of it because she's a good friend of mine.

    Here's a straight scan of the negative:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/andysknee/6366820669/in/set-72157628058909245
    And here's my print on Ilford MG IV, developed in Dektol. Take note, half of the dust is actually from my terrible bedscanner, not the negative.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/andysknee/6811121454/in/set-72157628058909245
     
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  15. batwister

    batwister Member

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    Enjoyed looking at the work here. I think this is a valuable resource for those of us who have just about aligned our enlargers :smile:
    Probably the best referencing point on APUG actually. Just a shame more aren't willing to contribute...

    I've been making what I call proto post-visualisations in PS with negatives before making straight prints. Glad to see such an accomplished printer (and photographer) like dlin does the same thing as part of his creative process. Agree that it shouldn't be a means of working towards a fully processed digital version, but more conceptually, as a way of getting a feeling for appropriate contrast, crops and even dodging and burning before entering the darkroom. It gives you a great confidence having a better idea of what you are working towards. If your concern is making great images this is what matters, having as fluid a creative process as possible. It's stubborn to ignore the tools at our disposal, which can only further and refine our craft. I'm sure Ansel would be doing the same thing if he was around.
     
  16. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Subscriber

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    Skunk Run Falls #1

    This is possibly my favorite thread on APUG, which unfortunately doesn't get enough action... Thought I'd try and get the ball rolling again.

    Skunk Run Falls #1

    I exposed this negative at about 7:30am July 4th, 2012. After hiking up the creek bed I came to this falls which is not listed on the map. I first found it on Flickr while researching some new to me areas of McConnells Mill. The water, which has been low this year, was up after a thunderstorm the night before. It was sunny and foggy at the same time but the dappled light had not yet made it into the ravine, which is probably 75 feet deep at this point in the run. The light was low but fairly even, I had to hold my breath under the dark cloth in order to keep the ground glass and my loupe from fogging.

    I used a Toyo 45AII, Nikkor 90mm SW f4.5 and TMY2 (Tmax 400) rated at ISO 250. I metered the white water at the base of the falls, the water in the pool, the wet rock faces without flow at the bottom right and left of the falls and several of the black areas with my Pentax 1 degree spot meter to come up with my exposure. Indicated exposure was 8 seconds at f22, I added two seconds of reciprocity compensation per Lee L's list (which he compiled from Howard Bond's data). I suppose 2 seconds is negligible in this situation but I always error on the side of more exposure and thought an extra couple seconds might help lengthen the white stripes in the wading pool a bit. I exposed two sheets of film as is my usual practice.

    I have been experimenting with developing my 4x5 film in home made BTZS style tubes but instead of rolling them in water I use them upright as one would a 120 or 35mm stainless tank. I agitate for the first minute and then at the top of each minute thereafter. Agitation is by inversion. The tubes, when screwed together, hold double the amount of solution required to cover the film so each inversion causes all of the developer to leave the film and be replaced in a new position. Thus far development has been completely even, including the edges of the film.

    I developed the first sheet for 15 minutes at 1:100. The shadows and midtones looked good but the white water was a little hotter than I wanted. For my second sheet I decided to increase the dilution to 1:140 to help tame the highlights and extend the development time 2 minutes to help keep the shadows up where I wanted them (all was done at 70degrees F). This negative looked great, the shadows had the same density as the first but the highlights had come down a nice amount. It was this second negative that I printed.

    The print was made via contact on AGFA MCC 111 fiber paper using Ilford filters (grades 4, 5 and 1) over my old Nikkor diffusion enlarger with a 100mm lens projecting the light circle which just covers my 9x11 contact printing frame. I developed in PF130 at 1:1 for two minutes. The print was selenium toned with KRST at 1:100 for 2 minutes which seemed to give the blacks just a bit more density. I scanned my printing notes and attached them to this post along with a picture of my developing tube, my camera in shooting position and a scan of the final print which is also posted to the APUG gallery HERE.

    I hope you find this half as interesting as I find the other examples in this thread.
     

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  17. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Shawn Dougherty,

    The shot and interpretation is beautiful! Thanks for the notes.
     
  18. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Subscriber

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    Thank you, Bill! Glad to contribute to this thread. I didn't write much about printing because I thought what I indicated in my attached note sheet was fairly straight forward. If you can read my writing... =)
     
  19. jsimoespedro

    jsimoespedro Member

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    Hi EKDobbs,

    the slight-out of focus picture no.4 (on your Flickr stream) actually looks very good as it is. The out of focus thing makes us (me at least!) believe she just looked at the camera for a brief moment and you snapped the picture. I also believe the picture is well sized on the screen and with good proportions.

    The scanned print called Summer is.... not so good. 1) The crop does nothing for the print. 2) the contrast is also a bit high.

    I think the original scan can look great on a 5x7 inch print (maybe crop the lower bottom?) the same soft tones and same light or slightly darker.

    Enjoyed you photo.
     
  20. quickbrownfox

    quickbrownfox Member

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    just revisited this thread and id have to say i agree with your comments completely. i liked the original but on the print, as mentioned, the crop is too much IMO. the out of focus face is highlighted in the print giving no other distractions, whereas in the negative, the lapels (which all show leading lines towards the face ) are in more focus and give your eyes a place to rest after searching out the face. the double breast buttons give the image a timeless look, and the delicate thin figure in the jacket speaks of youthfulness. she has a pretty face looking at the other photos in that set so i can see how you could be seduced into making that the focus of the print but with this negative i think it might not be the best way to go.
    thanks for sharing, it was a nice browse through that album, i really like number 6!
     
  21. OP
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    dlin

    dlin Member

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    Working up a recent image made me think of this thread.

    I went for a walk last week at one of my favorite places close to home, Eagle Creek, which is a relatively insignificant waterway that feeds a city reservoir. The light was very harsh and the sky essentially featureless, so I did not expect to find much to shoot, but brought my gear along, if nothing to get some exercise. A stand of trees along a bank where the creek flows into the reservoir caught my eye, and I made some exposures thinking I might be able to work something in the printing stage.

    The 4x5 negative on Tmax 100, developed in Pyrocat HD, was sharp with details held in the shadows and highlights.

    The "straight" image (unmanipulated neg scan) is flat and doesn't convey the impression I had of a procession of trees marching along the shore.

    The print on Ilford MGIV was made with a relatively high contrast filter through frosted paper laid over the enlarging paper for the entire exposure. This has the effect of softening the fine details and emphasizing the coarser figures of the trees. Additional burning of the sky and water, feathering out from the middle of the image, was done with a low contrast filter. Finally, the print was toned in thiocarbamide, with a pre-soak in toner prior to the bleach step to maintain density in the shadows.

    All the best,
    Daniel
     

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  22. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Daniel,

    The print and the effect you added to the print, makes good use of the original negative. Great look and I bet the print looks better in real life.
     
  23. quickbrownfox

    quickbrownfox Member

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    yep i agreee here, loving the print and toning. really made something of it! :D
     
  24. andreios

    andreios Member

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    I have just discovered and read through this thread today.. It is a wonderful thing- I'd like to thank to all of you who participated and I'll be looking forward to see more - and I'll try to add my own contribution as well.
     
  25. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Fantastic thread! The posts here could be a manual for fine darkroom printing.

    Tom
     
  26. aruns

    aruns Member

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    Hi Shawn,
    Thanks for the detailed post, very informative. Very nice b/w print too. thanks for sharing.
    I have a quick question on your negative development process - could you please share the developer you use. (I currently use Rodinal Stand and tried HC-110 but having over development issues, but the 1:140 dilution could be useful. Will post some sample scans and print interpretations to the thread shortly).
    Regards,
    Arun.
     
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