Split Grade Printing & % Dry-Down Calculations

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Josef Guay

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Sep 14, 2003
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I am going to try split grade printing.

When using the split grade printing technique, do you apply the reduced exposure time to the grade 0 filter, the grade 5 filter or both filters. Intuitively I think that it should be applied to the grade 0 filter since you don’t want to depress the highlights.

Any insight would be appreciated.
 

Donald Miller

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Josef Guay said:
I am going to try split grade printing.

When using the split grade printing technique, do you apply the reduced exposure time to the grade 0 filter, the grade 5 filter or both filters. Intuitively I think that it should be applied to the grade 0 filter since you don’t want to depress the highlights.

Any insight would be appreciated.

While the effects of drydown are most apparent on the highlights it does affect all of the print values. I would apply the percentage to both printing times. That is unless you are content with letting your low values dump lower.
 

lee

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I agree with Donald on this. I would also caution that the time selected for the shadow time is sometimes hard to select. The tendency is to select a time that is TOO DARK. This will give an overall muddy feeling to the print. I would select a time that is just starting to show the barest hint of black and then move on to the highlight time. After the highlight time and you have made you work print look and see if the print values in the shadow need to be made darker. THEN adjust the shadow time. This is not uncommon with beginning split filter printers.

lee\c
 

BBarlow690

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If you're willing to invest about an hour and a about a dozen sheets of paper, just try it.

Make drydown test prints for only the highlights, and then for everything. How much dry down? I'd suggest making prints of each type (highlights-only and all-values) at -4%, -7%, and -10%. Let them dry while keeping your "reference print" wet (although you can re-wet it later and it works). Compare. One test print will probably match (-10%, I'll bet). If you find that the right one would fall in-between two of your tests, interpolate but test no more (life's too short to spend testing). And given a choice of whether it's, say, 8% or 9%, I know I print a little dark, so I personally would opt for a hair more drydown to compensate, and happily use 9% forever (at least until they discontinue THAT paper...).

Which to use: highlights or all? Look at the prints and decide which one you like. But you'll be making an informed choice by LOOKING at what the materials actually DO, rather than by taking my advice based on my aesthetics.

It's a worthwhile test to do -- post your results here, I, for one, would be really interested in what you learn. Before I go and do it myself (gotta learn split printing first).

Thanks for a great question!
 

Peter Schrager

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DRYUP

This is the old cock and bull story. For about 20 years I obsessed with DRYDOWN. After reading Bruce Barnbaums book I just go in with balls and make a print. Get a reflector lamp w/60 watt bulb. Estimate your given time and f/stop.usually for me about 15 sec.and about f/8-11. USE A FULL SHEET OF PAPER-no stripes! Now as soon as you fix put it up on a sheet of plexi and sqeegee it off. With a controler on the lamp put it on VERY low-almost dark. This will tell you if you have too much contrast-Yeah-BLACKS. Next turn it up as high as you like and judge it overall. This will tell you if the print is too dark. Most people make two mistakes printing:TOO MUCH CONTRAST AND TOO DARK. The first time I tried this I just couldn't believe how easy it is. Barnbaum calls this DRYUP. Just try it for youself and you'll never ever have to think about drydown again! .
Happy Dryup -Peter!
 

georgeg

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Jul 22, 2004
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I apply the dry down to both hard and soft.I also do not do test strips anymore a waste of time in my opinion.All papers dry down between 4 & 10 %. The proper viewing light in the darkroom is most important. When I am ready to make a finished print I do a range from slightly lighter to slightly darker. After they dry pick the one that pleases you most and then you still have 2 or 3 acceptable prints you can use for trade or gifts. Most of the population will not see the the difference.
 
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