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Old 16th November 2020, 03:59 PM
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Default Split grade printing grid method

Anyone use this method of split grade printing?
https://www.flickr.com/photos/timeshare/6930137883/
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Old 16th November 2020, 04:49 PM
Terry S Terry S is offline
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Originally Posted by GoodOldNorm View Post
Anyone use this method of split grade printing?
https://www.flickr.com/photos/timeshare/6930137883/
I tried it a few times after first reading Les McClean's article, on this site I think.

Personally, I found I could get the same print from my negs with just one MG filter. And that maybe it. Maybe certain negatives will work better with the system than others, which will happily print with just one grade and exposure.

And don't forget, that one doesn't have to split grade the whole print, as sometimes just a small area needs a burn in with a different filter. I have used it that way, to burn in skies at a grade 0 or 1 for example, with the rest of the print at grade 3 say.

Horses for courses I suppose.

Terry S
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Old 16th November 2020, 05:05 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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Norm, no I haven't used the squares approach but I really haven't dabbled in split grade as much as I probably should. However I recall seeing an article in I think AP magazine many years ago that used exactly this method

On the surface it looks as if it does combine all the combos rather neatly to arrive at a chosen time and grade combo

I chose 6 secs for the 00 grade and 12 for the 5 grade

I based this on the sand for the highlights and stump's shadow for the shadow detail. Then I read the comments and saw that another person has chosen this as well but the more I look at the various squares I am still not sure.

It will be interesting to see what others choose and why

Mike
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Old 16th November 2020, 05:19 PM
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It looks pretty and I believe there's also a chapter in one of the darkroom printing books, perhaps way beyond monochrome?
Personally, I only do test-strips of the same part of the negative/print, 7 on an 8x10" piece of paper, generally at grade 2. I got frustrated trying to compare different parts of the same scene.
Likewise, with the adoption of the f-stop printing method. It's far more predictable and I'd never go back.
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Old 17th November 2020, 12:00 PM
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36 small squares, each with a different exposure time and filter grade and of a different part of the negative/print.

I realise that it's not that a print can't be made or perhaps quicker this way but the real question for me is; Does the grid method in it self lead to a better print even by split-grade printing?

Surely, experience and knowledge of materials and processes would render at least half of the grid superfluous?
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Old 17th November 2020, 12:31 PM
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I think it would work for some prints if you had highlights and shadows spread all the way across the print. I do a test strip of the highlight area with the low contrast filter. Expose the paper with the 00 filter for my chosen time, then do a test strip on that paper for the shadows with the grade 5 filter. But I always make a print the conventional way first, sometimes dodging and burning with high and low contrast filters. With a good negative I sometimes straight print it at different grades just to see which print I like best. It all depends where I intend to hang the print in my house some rooms have more light than others.
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Old 17th November 2020, 05:39 PM
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Alternatively, you could try the John Sexton printing method.

Print the same print in every 1/2 grade from 00 to 5 to the best of your ability and then decide which area of which print you like best.

Then all you have to do is dodge and burn like its going out of fashion to maximise the local contrast in each area of the print.

John does do an advanced darkroom printing course a couple of times each year in Carmel (?) if anyone fancies a lesson from the guru himself.

Personally, I am not quite at that level and I'm really happy with a half decent print with a bit of conventional dodging and burning.

Martin
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Old 17th November 2020, 06:00 PM
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I occasionally use split-grade printing but I follow a slightly different regime, similar to that used my Les McLean. Whilst most of my negs will print satisfactorily with one grade (usually 2, 2.5 or 3) I occasionally get something more challenging that's worth trying with split grades. My procedure is:

1) Make a test strip at Grade 0 of the lightest part of the image where I want detail / tonal differentiation. Ignore any shadow areas at this point.

2) Expose the whole of 2nd test strip at G0 for the exposure determined by the first one in a shadow area of the image. Leave in place and replace the G0 filter with the G5 and make a series of exposures. I usually do several over different areas of the image.

The theory is that the hard (G5) exposure has little or no effect on the highlights and the soft (G0) has little or no effect on the darker areas.

The main pitfall I've found is that some papers 'dry-down' more than others and highlights that look perfect while the print is in the fix darken when the print is dry. Matt paper is worse than gloss in this respect (but that's probably a whole new discussion!).

Hope that makes sense?
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Old 17th November 2020, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Archer View Post
I occasionally use split-grade printing but I follow a slightly different regime, similar to that used my Les McLean. Whilst most of my negs will print satisfactorily with one grade (usually 2, 2.5 or 3) I occasionally get something more challenging that's worth trying with split grades. My procedure is:

1) Make a test strip at Grade 0 of the lightest part of the image where I want detail / tonal differentiation. Ignore any shadow areas at this point.

2) Expose the whole of 2nd test strip at G0 for the exposure determined by the first one in a shadow area of the image. Leave in place and replace the G0 filter with the G5 and make a series of exposures. I usually do several over different areas of the image.

The theory is that the hard (G5) exposure has little or no effect on the highlights and the soft (G0) has little or no effect on the darker areas.

The main pitfall I've found is that some papers 'dry-down' more than others and highlights that look perfect while the print is in the fix darken when the print is dry. Matt paper is worse than gloss in this respect (but that's probably a whole new discussion!).

Hope that makes sense?
Yes it makes sense, that is what I do but you explained it far better.😁
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Old 21st November 2020, 06:36 PM
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My gut reaction is that I want to find the contrast/exposure in an important area of the image and adjust it accordingly elsewhere if necessary (it pretty much always is as getting the ideal overall exposure and dev time is annoying rare for me!) - this method will not help me there, scattering the results all over the image as it does.

I do much as Rob described but my second exposure for G5 (or rather, series of exposures) is on the same area of the image that I am particularly interested in.
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