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  #1  
Old 5th April 2014, 10:33 PM
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Jakecb Jakecb is offline
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Default Newbie advice please

Hello, I hope I have found the right place and people to ask.
With the help of some books I have been taking black and white pictures and developing/printing them at home. All amazingly good fun and rewarding.

Right now what I am stuck on is two things. Number one is that sometimes I want to print the difference in (seen world) colours in my B&W prints and I think I should be able to get filters for this but the ones I have are more for varying contrast (I think). A related difficulty is if say for example if I have a shot of a building which looks great but the sky is white, how do I fix that?

The second thing is not so much a problem just a query. In the books I have, the authors seem to think that 10 seconds is a good rough guide for how long one might expose a print in the darkroom. In my set-up, it's more like 3 seconds. That is with the lens set at minimum aperture. Am I doing something wrong?

Sorry I know there are many variables. I'm using basic entry-level Paterson equipment, Ilford chemicals. Thanks in advance for any help and apologies if my questions are stupid.
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Old 5th April 2014, 11:13 PM
JohnX JohnX is offline
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If your sky is white on the film, its either an exposure mis calc or the sky was just white when you shot it, its not clear whether you want to replace a sky that was never recorded, recover a sky that has detail recorded on the film or balance exposure either at the point of shooting or printing.
Maybe you could try using filters on your film rather than at the printing stage.
For instance, a red filter will render blue sky's very dark, perhaps even black but will have little effect on clouds.
Are you using the contrast filters whilst printing because they will lengthen exposure times.
Also, a small enlargement is a more intense light than a larger one, thus shortening exposure times..
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  #3  
Old 5th April 2014, 11:25 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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Hi and welcome to FADU, Jake. It might help if you say what books you have. It seems strange to me that one book gives a time for print exposure as it depends on so many things. Was 10 seconds a time chosen because the author felt that this was the minimum time needed for any dodging and burning that might be required? 10 secs then has some sense attached to it.

If you are saying that you get good prints with a 3 secs exposure at presumably f16 then this does seem a very short time. It kind of suggests that you film development and exposure may require some attention but right now without more information I cannot be more definite.

I think you need to give us more details on your print process including filtration( colour head or separate filters) and it would be helpful if you could do a scan of your typical negative so we can see them.

The books you have should deal with camera filtration for colour change but briefly there are four main filters( yellow, green, orange and red). Each filter allows rays of that colour through and blocks those of those rays of colours on the opposite side of the colour wheel so a red filter will make reds lighter and blues darker so a blue sky will become darker and show up white clouds a lot more.

However if the sky is an overcast grey then it will remain such even with filters.

If all skies including deep blue ones with clouds are coming out as a uniform white with no signs of the clouds at all then this suggests that your sky may be overexposed so the sky area of the negative is black or very dark.

Do you use any filters on your camera? It always makes sense to use at least a yellow filter in landscape shots with skies.

To summarise give us more information about your equipment and if possible yourself

Mike
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Old 5th April 2014, 11:27 PM
alexmuir alexmuir is offline
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Hi. Filters to alter tonal balance are used on the camera, rather than the enlarger. When printing, contrast control is achieved with Multigrade paper and the appropriate filter set. Low numbers give very grey prints, high numbers very stark black and white. Normal is around 2-2.5.
The length of exposure time will depend on various things, including degree of enlargement, brightness of enlarger lamp, aperture used and density of the negative. Enlarger lenses give best performance at around 2 stops below max aperture eg f5.6 on a 50mm f2.8 lens. If you are getting 3secs at f22, that would be unusual. I get 4.5 secs at f5.6 on my 35mm enlarger when doing 8x10 prints (6x9 image size). The lamp is 75watts. This is with filters in place.
I missed your point about white skies. A yellow or orange filter on camera will darken blue. This can help give the sky a bit of "texture" in the print. You can also "burn in" the sky at the printing stage. This means giving extra exposure to the sky. You can do this at a lower contrast grade to get the tone a bit quicker. To do this you make the basic exposure to get the foreground right, then change to a lower filter and give extra exposure to the sky. There are many ways of doing this. I use a piece of card with a hole in it moved around over the sky. The card has to be large enough to shield the rest of the print. White on top and black underneath is best. You can get mount board like this from art shops.
Your questions are not at all stupid. I hope this helps. I'm sure you will get plenty more advice.
Best wishes,
Alex.
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Old 6th April 2014, 01:07 AM
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as a rule of thumb, printing filters are only for altering overall print contrast.
If you want to alter the relative colour/shades of grey in the subject then you must use filters when taking the photo. In this scenario any colour filter will allow its own colour through and stop other colours in varying degrees.
So for example, a red filter would darken everything in the subject except for red, creating the impression that reds were lighter compared to everything else. i.e. They change contrast selectively based on the subject colours and the filter color.
This is different from enlarger filters which only change overall contrast. (there is no colour in the negative to change selectively by filter).

The basics of filters for B+W film are that yellow increases contrast a little by removing some blue from the subject (darkens blues a little).
Orange filters do the same but more so.
Red filters do the same but even more and darken greens and blues.
Green filters darken reds
Blue filters are good for showing fog but I'd stick to yellow, orange and red to start with.

Note there is a lot of cyan/blue light in shadows and indirect sky light. Clouds are full of it, so much so that even a light yellow filter will show more contrast in clouds than without the filter.
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Old 6th April 2014, 07:11 AM
Richard Gould Richard Gould is offline
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Hi Jake and welcome to Fadu, as regards filters, others have described well what they do, I regard an orange as a standard filter for landscapes when the sky is great, that is when a lot of clouds are around, and would say it is pretty well always fixed to my lens when out walking, As regards blank skys, if there are clouds then a film will record them even without a filter, a filter just helps to emphasise them, but if the sky is just blue it will record as white, and no amount of filtering will change that, and the only thing you can do is to burn in the sky to give it some tone.
With regards to your printing times, Are you using multigrade filters, are you printing very small, say 5/4, even then,3 seconds seems very short even for a small print, so more information on that please and we should be able to help you
Richard
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  #7  
Old 6th April 2014, 09:34 AM
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Thanks so much for all your replies, which are really helpful and make me feel less alone in my dark room!

With regard to my times I have realised that what I call "seconds" are longer than real seconds because I am not using a timer just counting in my head. So my 3 seconds is in reality about 5 seconds which is more in line with what one might expect. I have ordered a timer.

I now understand that filters in the dark room are for adjusting overall contrast, filters for adjusting tonal balance must be used on the camera.

Thanks again.

Jake
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  #8  
Old 6th April 2014, 03:50 PM
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it is considered normal to have a printing time of around 20 seconds which allows you time to do some dodging and burning.

5 seconds is OK if you don't want to do any dodging or burning.

You can use some of the following to control lighting output in your enlarger.

http://www.oubiance.co.uk/filters/it...on-05m-x-122m/

the 0.3 is a one stop reduction and you can use several layers.

It must be placed in enlarger above the negative stage and not directly on top of the negative since its not optical quality. Below the negative and it would have a detrimental effect on image quality.

Being a lighting filter it is heat resistant and is ideally placed at top/light entrance of mixing box.

Last edited by Argentum; 6th April 2014 at 03:57 PM.
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  #9  
Old 6th April 2014, 04:08 PM
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Regarding sky. You will no doubt have seen photos where the sky is black. This can be achievable easily sometimes and other times it is impossible.

In the UK we call the sky blue but in reality it is far more cyan than blue. The opposite of cyan is red so a red filter will darken skies the most. However, that often just doesn't work. Only when the sky is a darker more towards blue rather than cyan does filtration really start to work in darkening plain sky.

At higher altitudes the sky is much darker blue. I have some images taken at high altitude in the alps where with just a light yellow filter the sky is rendered almost black. Using the same filter in the UK at low altitude and where there is a lot more moisture in the air and the effect is far less, hardly noticeable.

So RED has the most effect but if you want most effect then best time is when there is little humidty and that is usually on cold crisp days in winter, especialy very early morning.

but be warned, using that RED will also darken shadows on the ground and may block up all your shadow detail making the result look very harsh.
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Old 12th April 2014, 12:22 AM
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Thanks for that Argentum. If I understand correctly, the the best way to get the extended time needed for dodging/burning is through the use of a reduction filter. If another filter is being used as well, one can add them in the tray together?
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