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  #1  
Old 21st May 2012, 05:40 PM
Mark J Mark J is offline
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Default Retaining shadow black with dry-down

Chaps
Jus wondering if you have any helpful methods to ensure you get the required full-black shadow density when applying dry-down factor to fibre multigrade paper ?
I've done quite a lot of printing on Ilford MG FB in the last 10-12 years, but I haven't really got a method that is consistent or rigorous .

Given the ~10% reduction in exposure for final prints, it's easy to lose the full-black . I suppose I normally either do some extra burn-in on critical shadow areas, or increase printing grade for the work-up prints, accepting that the shaded areas will be a little too dense until the final ones.

I've tried getting the exposure right for the shadows and guessing how burnt-out the highlights should be to come back on drying, but too often the correct 'full-white' is missed and I end up with highlights lacking sparkle and another wasted sheet .
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Old 21st May 2012, 06:16 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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On Les McLean's webiste, I think, and certainly in his book he describes a method. It sounds as if you have done things correctly. However Les says that dry down in his experience can be anything between 8 and 12 %.

Maybe you need less than 10%. Have you tried a range of dry down percentages?

Just a thought. I can't comment further as I am not a FB user. Hopefully others will have more help to give

Mike
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Old 21st May 2012, 06:18 PM
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Trevor Crone Trevor Crone is offline
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Mark, like you I usually make a slight exposure adjustment to account for dry down, but I'm not a fan of large areas of featureless blacks (in my own work), however I do appreciate the work of others who apply such technique for a graphical effect. I've recently been studying the work of Harry Callahan who used this technique very effectively IMHO, however he also produced some wonderful landscape detail in just shades of grey. It is all about personal vision and sensitivity.

If I feel the need to tweak contrast without moving a full grade I resort to 'split-grade' technique. Starting with a well exposed full tone negative helps. I usually give a generous exposure and curtail development slightly in PMK pyro, this helps me retain crucial high values. I should mention that I mostly use sheet film and process according to the lighting conditions at the time or for a particular 'look'/ 'mood'.

Toning a print in dilute selenium toner can be very effective in adding slight intensification to the print.
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Last edited by Trevor Crone; 21st May 2012 at 06:22 PM. Reason: added extra material
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Old 21st May 2012, 06:24 PM
Dave miller Dave miller is offline
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Do you dry your test print/strips before judging your exposure/grade and have you tried split-grade printing?
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Old 21st May 2012, 07:11 PM
Mark J Mark J is offline
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Default Ideas

Ok, well, I usually have a good negative to work with - I try not to overdevelop , and the PMK is a very tolerant developer in most situations, so the use of rollfilm doesn't tend to compromise me most of the time. If I have an important subject on a roll, I will always try to develop to favour those frames .

I do use dilute selenium toning on all 'important' prints, those for sale or exhibition . It does add an extra bit of depth .

So, with the split-toning, it occurs to me I might take advantage of this and use a quick bit of extra grade 5 burn-in on the critical shadow areas, if they are in danger of 'lifting' a bit when applying the dry-down .

I haven't tested the extact percentage of dry-down lately, I guessed at 10%, it may be 8% perhaps, it's certainly more than 5%, for MG FB . Thanks for reminding me , I should use the microwave to check dry-down , will have a go next time .

Cheers
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Old 21st May 2012, 07:33 PM
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Les McLean Les McLean is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark J View Post
Chaps
Jus wondering if you have any helpful methods to ensure you get the required full-black shadow density when applying dry-down factor to fibre multigrade paper ?
I've done quite a lot of printing on Ilford MG FB in the last 10-12 years, but I haven't really got a method that is consistent or rigorous .

Given the ~10% reduction in exposure for final prints, it's easy to lose the full-black . I suppose I normally either do some extra burn-in on critical shadow areas, or increase printing grade for the work-up prints, accepting that the shaded areas will be a little too dense until the final ones.

I've tried getting the exposure right for the shadows and guessing how burnt-out the highlights should be to come back on drying, but too often the correct 'full-white' is missed and I end up with highlights lacking sparkle and another wasted sheet .
There is an article on my website describing how to calculate drydown for any paper and how to apply it. Also included is a table to help calculate the timing when making the final print. I have used this method for more than 20 years and it does work. There are many factors involved in retaining detail in deep blacks, Trevor makes a very good point when he mentions the effect of selenium toning which obviously happens after you have made the print and is therefore not in the drydown calculation in the first place. I'm afraid you just have to learn that part by experience and experimentation.

I'd strongly suggest that you consider purchasing an RH Designs Stop Clock Pro enlarging timer which has a built in drydown compensation facility which is very good.

Follow this link to the article on drydown

http://www.lesmcleanphotography.com/...ull&article=28
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Old 22nd May 2012, 06:09 AM
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Just to muddy the waters, in his book The Art of Photography…an Approach to Personal Expression, Bruce Barnbaum claims that dry down is a total myth and does not exist. His contention is that the initial viewing light is too bright. He thinks that you should have 2 viewing lights, an initial dim one while your eyes adapt from safelighting to white light and a brighter one for the highlights. He also tries to debunk several other urban myths but to be honest, although there is a lot of good information in the book, I find this particular comment confusing as he is the only person to say it. I'm sure I have made prints that look good in the fixer but dull and lifeless the next day due to drydown.

Bill
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Old 22nd May 2012, 07:03 AM
Dave miller Dave miller is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill View Post
Just to muddy the waters, in his book The Art of Photography…an Approach to Personal Expression, Bruce Barnbaum claims that dry down is a total myth and does not exist. His contention is that the initial viewing light is too bright. He thinks that you should have 2 viewing lights, an initial dim one while your eyes adapt from safelighting to white light and a brighter one for the highlights. He also tries to debunk several other urban myths but to be honest, although there is a lot of good information in the book, I find this particular comment confusing as he is the only person to say it. I'm sure I have made prints that look good in the fixer but dull and lifeless the next day due to drydown.

Bill
There is a video on the web somewhere of him trying to justify this idea; IMO he fails to do so.
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Old 22nd May 2012, 07:11 AM
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Trevor Crone Trevor Crone is offline
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While I admire Barnbaum I can not agree with his conclusion on 'dry-down' and find it hard to believe he thinks this is a myth? However I do agree with him about viewing lights, I also view wet prints under a dim white light, turning on the second brighter light when I need to fully evaluate the high values after my eyes have adjusted from the dim safe-lighting.
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Old 22nd May 2012, 07:44 AM
Dave miller Dave miller is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave View Post
There is a video on the web somewhere of him trying to justify this idea; IMO he fails to do so.
I was wrong (again) it was this one I was thinking of, where to place the shadows.
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