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RodinalDuchamp
24-Apr-2015, 15:21
When composing let's say an area of the picture contains something very much white like a cloud for example, or snow covered ground. Something that will print white.

How do you deal with that in printing? My experiences with other photographers is that this is automatically a killing blow to the photograph. Consensus has been that the edge of the image must be clearly defined throughout.

I figure composition first and foremost is how this is dealt with, move so that no white touches the edge of the frame.

I personally do bit like when the edge of the frame bleeds into the white borders of the paper. How do you deal with these compositional problems? Is it a problem? Do you accept images that bleed white onto the borders?

jp
24-Apr-2015, 15:43
You seem too impressionable about a very subjective thing. I don't worry. If you have a background that blends into the mat, perhaps use a different color mat. You lose many great photos worrying about that concern.

Preston
24-Apr-2015, 15:56
I agree with JP. When composing your photograph, look carefully at those edges to see if they are truly working for you from a compositional standpoint.

Careful exposure, developing and printing may give just enough tonal difference between the edge and the paper white so that it is not an issue.

I am usually more concerned with those little gnomes that come out of nowhere and tend to hop onto the edges--bits of grass, a tree branch, or some such.

--P

Drew Wiley
24-Apr-2015, 16:10
The white of the mounting board is never exactly the same as the white in a print anyway. It just takes a little practice printing and mounting for you to decide what is appropriate. I always trim off the border before drymounting. Printing is not about subscribing to any straightjacket manifesto about what can or cannot
be done. Nor does consensus mean anything. Just do what looks right to you.

RodinalDuchamp
24-Apr-2015, 16:13
The white of the mounting board is never exactly the same as the white in a print anyway. It just takes a little practice printing and mounting for you to decide what is appropriate. I always trim off the border before drymounting. Printing is not about subscribing to any straightjacket manifesto about what can or cannot
be done. Nor does consensus mean anything. Just do what looks right to you.
See that's a clue. I've never trimmed off any edges on my prints. I usually leave the print intact and at say 16x20 I've left 1/4" of paper showing between the image and the mat.

Guys I get this is a personal choice, in asking because I'd like to expand my understanding of other people's practices.

Mainly because when we view images online its not clear what kind of consideration is given to the framing in these regards.

Will Frostmill
24-Apr-2015, 16:48
I've never worried about it. I don't usually leave paper showing between image and mat, but the bevel from the cut reflects light differently than the paper, and as mentioned before, the white of mat board is rarely as dark as the whitest white on the paper. I've often used double sided mat - white on one side, black on the other, (and considered experimenting with gray), so I've always had the option of using black when white won't do.

Black matboard isn't in style anymore, is it?

Jac@stafford.net
24-Apr-2015, 17:01
When composing let's say an area of the picture contains something very much white like a cloud for example, or snow covered ground. Something that will print white.

How do you deal with that in printing? [...]

First make the print with low to high-middle tones that are acceptable to you, then 'flash' the paper with a moment of light (removing the negative from the carrier.) The objective is to make the burnt-out highlights ever so slightly darker than paper pure white.

.

Lenny Eiger
24-Apr-2015, 17:06
Don't overdevelop your film, and you will be able to print a line across the top, even if its very light...

Lenny

RodinalDuchamp
24-Apr-2015, 17:21
First make the print with low to high-middle tones that are acceptable to you, then 'flash' the paper with a moment of light (removing the negative from the carrier.) The objective is to make the burnt-out highlights ever so slightly darker than paper pure white.

.
Jac, thanks that's a great technique. I've read a few different strategies for flashing including even running exposure tests to figure out that precise moment when the paper"s threshold breaks.

Jac@stafford.net
24-Apr-2015, 18:04
Jac, thanks that's a great technique. I've read a few different strategies for flashing including even running exposure tests to figure out that precise moment when the paper"s threshold breaks.

In my long-lost earlier times, flashing was a very big deal. We thought it was the only means to modify the overall tonality at the printing stage. Oi! Then came Ansel Adams who regardless of his published Zone System (of which he was only 1/2 the source) cheated it all the time. The books written about pre/post flashing had not the ink-printing technology to demonstrate it properly. Then our popular communication was all ink and paper. It sucked. We have it so much better today.

Best of luck,
Jac
.

Regular Rod
24-Apr-2015, 22:36
When composing let's say an area of the picture contains something very much white like a cloud for example, or snow covered ground. Something that will print white.

How do you deal with that in printing? My experiences with other photographers is that this is automatically a killing blow to the photograph. Consensus has been that the edge of the image must be clearly defined throughout.

I figure composition first and foremost is how this is dealt with, move so that no white touches the edge of the frame.

I personally do bit like when the edge of the frame bleeds into the white borders of the paper. How do you deal with these compositional problems? Is it a problem? Do you accept images that bleed white onto the borders?

Ignore any "rules". Decide for yourself. Does it look "right" to you? Yes? Then it's perfect and anyone else can like it or lump it. If you really do want the edge defining you could leave the negative edge to print black. No need to show the whole of the edge if you don't like the characteristic notches that LF impose from the shape of the film holder. You could mask it until there was just a very thin line, a hair line around the whole frame would delineate the edge clearly and might not intrude too much... It's your decision.

RR

Doremus Scudder
25-Apr-2015, 01:02
When composing let's say an area of the picture contains something very much white like a cloud for example, or snow covered ground. Something that will print white.

How do you deal with that in printing? My experiences with other photographers is that this is automatically a killing blow to the photograph. Consensus has been that the edge of the image must be clearly defined throughout.

I figure composition first and foremost is how this is dealt with, move so that no white touches the edge of the frame.

I personally do bit like when the edge of the frame bleeds into the white borders of the paper. How do you deal with these compositional problems? Is it a problem? Do you accept images that bleed white onto the borders?

Like Drew, I trim my images before dry mounting them so that there is a precise border. Nevertheless, I often have white areas of the image that go all the way to the edge of the print. I handle this a couple of ways. In some more graphic compositions, I print to complete paper-base white and then mount the print on a mat board that has a white that matches the paper base. In these cases, the white of the image blends almost seamlessly with the white of the mat board, blurring the perception of a very defined border somewhat. For other images, I find it better to print the white areas at the edge of the print (sky, clouds, snow, etc.) down a bit, so that they have a bit of tonality (i.e., very light grey). This then contrasts with the mat board and gives a very defined border.

Pesky things like a white stone on the border of a print, or a bit of white foliage get burned down or spotted down to prevent the merger and keep the eye where I want it in the print.

Best,

Doremus

RodinalDuchamp
25-Apr-2015, 04:50
Ignore any "rules". Decide for yourself. Does it look "right" to you? Yes? Then it's perfect and anyone else can like it or lump it. If you really do want the edge defining you could leave the negative edge to print black. No need to show the whole of the edge if you don't like the characteristic notches that LF impose from the shape of the film holder. You could mask it until there was just a very thin line, a hair line around the whole frame would delineate the edge clearly and might not intrude too much... It's your decision.

RR
Rod, there are no rules but I find it very distracting. It doesn't look good to me when the image bleeds out of the frame and onto the papers border.

Flashing, burning, different mounting practices have all been mentioned; this is what I'm interested in hearing - How do you guys handle this or don't mind at all. But the why and how are so much more interesting than the subjective approach argument.

N Dhananjay
25-Apr-2015, 05:28
This does seem a compositional concern. What I'm hearing is that plain paper white near the edge of the print bothers you compositionally and I think there is something to that. Given your 'vision', I'm guessing this translates into something like the eye being pulled to the edge and prevents the eye from moving freely over the print or disrupts the way you want the eye moving over various parts of the print. I agree that rules like 'no white near the edges' might be counter-productive but I think this is something that is worth paying attention to since it is telling you something about how you want your prints to look. The answer is probably not in technique but in 'seeing'. In general, one of the things we get, especially in LF, is a sensitivity to edges and corners. The trouble is that it often stops at a 'make sure corners and edges are sharp', whereas it really is a 'seeing' thing - do the edges and corners work together with the other things. Sometimes some technique like edge burning or flashing works but that can become a way to deal with insufficient clarity at the 'decisive moment'.

I'll describe the way this has played out in my own printing and you can decide whether it is helpful to you or not. I contact print and so I care about clarity at the moment of 'seeing'. I think it was Michael Smith who pointed out that while Edward Weston and Cartier Bresson worked in very different formats, they both had a common aesthetic in the 'no cropping, integrity of vision at time of exposure' sort of thing. In general, I do not care for paper white, except for certain situations such as specular reflections in snow or things like that - the general rule of 'good white to good black' is good when learning printing controls but eventually you have to grapple with how you want your prints to look given your visual concerns rather than just relying on some rule or the other. I do not have a problem with high values in the edges and corners, if it works with the rest of the image but I do have a problem if it interferes with the movement of the eye across the picture plane - and lots of things in the edges and corners can do that, very dark areas, out of focus areas etc. The usual rules for edge burning etc really reinforce the notion that edges and corners are devious buggers - corners already have compositional 'gravity' since you have 2 'lines' meeting at right angles - the eye tends to be drawn to such 'unusual' juxtapositions, edges have similar 'gravity' because they stop the eye from going beyond. So, I think it is important to be particularly sensitive to what is going on there - you need to have ways to send the eye back to other areas in the picture. Obviously there are many ways to accomplish this - lines/tones etc leading back inwards, lines/tones that echo this corner that make your eye flick back inwards.

In other words, I think grappling with this is important for 'vision'. So, to a certain extent, I guess I'm saying this might be part of an individual struggle to understand one's own 'seeing', and that is probably why we photograph anyway. So, I would suggest you should embrace this rather than look for a rule o circumvent the issue since it is telling you something important about yourself that might inform your future pictures in significant ways.

Cheers, DJ

RodinalDuchamp
25-Apr-2015, 05:37
This does seem a compositional concern. What I'm hearing is that plain paper white near the edge of the print bothers you compositionally and I think there is something to that. Given your 'vision', I'm guessing this translates into something like the eye being pulled to the edge and prevents the eye from moving freely over the print or disrupts the way you want the eye moving over various parts of the print. I agree that rules like 'no white near the edges' might be counter-productive but I think this is something that is worth paying attention to since it is telling you something about how you want your prints to look. The answer is probably not in technique but in 'seeing'. In general, one of the things we get, especially in LF, is a sensitivity to edges and corners. The trouble is that it often stops at a 'make sure corners and edges are sharp', whereas it really is a 'seeing' thing - do the edges and corners work together with the other things. Sometimes some technique like edge burning or flashing works but that can become a way to deal with insufficient clarity at the 'decisive moment'.

I'll describe the way this has played out in my own printing and you can decide whether it is helpful to you or not. I contact print and so I care about clarity at the moment of 'seeing'. I think it was Michael Smith who pointed out that while Edward Weston and Cartier Bresson worked in very different formats, they both had a common aesthetic in the 'no cropping, integrity of vision at time of exposure' sort of thing. In general, I do not care for paper white, except for certain situations such as specular reflections in snow or things like that - the general rule of 'good white to good black' is good when learning printing controls but eventually you have to grapple with how you want your prints to look given your visual concerns rather than just relying on some rule or the other. I do not have a problem with high values in the edges and corners, if it works with the rest of the image but I do have a problem if it interferes with the movement of the eye across the picture plane - and lots of things in the edges and corners can do that, very dark areas, out of focus areas etc. The usual rules for edge burning etc really reinforce the notion that edges and corners are devious buggers - corners already have compositional 'gravity' since you have 2 'lines' meeting at right angles - the eye tends to be drawn to such 'unusual' juxtapositions, edges have similar 'gravity' because they stop the eye from going beyond. So, I think it is important to be particularly sensitive to what is going on there - you need to have ways to send the eye back to other areas in the picture. Obviously there are many ways to accomplish this - lines/tones etc leading back inwards, lines/tones that echo this corner that make your eye flick back inwards.

In other words, I think grappling with this is important for 'vision'. So, to a certain extent, I guess I'm saying this might be part of an individual struggle to understand one's own 'seeing', and that is probably why we photograph anyway. So, I would suggest you should embrace this rather than look for a rule o circumvent the issue since it is telling you something important about yourself that might inform your future pictures in significant ways.

Cheers, DJ
I have to agree with what you are suggesting. Surely this is something that must be considered much before the image ever gets to the printing stage.

Sometimes we can wait out a particular cloud, but maybe the cloud isn't the problem at all it's the way the entire picture must be cohesive. Maybe there is no way to wait out something of intense high value and it may be a necessary element in the image the question is then raised about shifting the composition to allow for that subject. Or maybe though probably rarely we can not wait or recompose and then this is where darkroom skills (I wouldn't call them tricks or cheats) can help bring the original vision back from an otherwise detrimental state.

Great response, thanks

Jim Jones
25-Apr-2015, 06:16
First make the print with low to high-middle tones that are acceptable to you, then 'flash' the paper with a moment of light (removing the negative from the carrier.) The objective is to make the burnt-out highlights ever so slightly darker than paper pure white.

.

Rather than flash the entire image, using a small flashlight to flash along edges that are too white often works better. The flashlight should have a very diffused light pattern. White masking tape over the lens seems to work well. The amount and width of flashing is controlled by how close the light is to the paper and how fast it is moved. It may be easier to control the exposure by doing as Jac says without a negative in the enlarger, but burning in only the edges like we often do with the negative in place.

For us who print digitally with a white surround incorporated in the photo paper, a 50% gray one pixel hairline along the edges of the image gives an almost subliminal separation between blocked up white at the edges and the surround.

Randy Moe
25-Apr-2015, 06:37
Rather than flash the entire image, using a small flashlight to flash along edges that are too white often works better. The flashlight should have a very diffused light pattern. White masking tape over the lens seems to work well. The amount and width of flashing is controlled by how close the light is to the paper and how fast it is moved. It may be easier to control the exposure by doing as Jac says without a negative in the enlarger, but burning in only the edges like we often do with the negative in place.

For us who print digitally with a white surround incorporated in the photo paper, a 50% gray one pixel hairline along the edges of the image gives an almost subliminal separation between blocked up white at the edges and the surround.

I will try that! Great idea.

bob carnie
25-Apr-2015, 06:48
This is a very good question .... I have an northern perspective (well I would be considered a southener by many northern Canadians) .. I see a lot of snow scenes or scenes with very neutral sky's up here in my practice.

I have learned that the best representation on the edges is to have a very slight density in image and able to see the blades of the easel.. If this means a pre flash of the paper to bring up these areas so they show tone so be it.

We have wonderful vision adaptation so that when the viewer looks at a photograph they will consider this slight tinging of tone as white and move on.. I have found that giving this slight hit of tone as well adding in another hit of grade 5 to define any dark objects in sky or snow will also create a visual effect of white...

I remember patiently waiting for a Fred Picker print that had snow in it years back (he was the marketing genius of the time) and I remember how dissapointed in the blank - no detail white - it was terrible and a good
lesson to learn.
Our eyes will adapt and create whatever we want.. but IMHO there is no need for pure white other than specular's or a defined white fence in bright light... I think a lot of printers get fooled on this aspect of printmaking.



See that's a clue. I've never trimmed off any edges on my prints. I usually leave the print intact and at say 16x20 I've left 1/4" of paper showing between the image and the mat.

Guys I get this is a personal choice, in asking because I'd like to expand my understanding of other people's practices.

Mainly because when we view images online its not clear what kind of consideration is given to the framing in these regards.

bob carnie
25-Apr-2015, 06:50
Also- it is a very good practice to use the minus density of white space and compositionally offset it with the darker tones to create a negative space that is directed by you the photographer

jp
25-Apr-2015, 07:07
Not having a much pure 100% white like you were concerned about a month or two ago makes this certainly less of a concern. Even my copious volumes of snow photos have texture and tone in the white.

Another option is alt-process printing for images that are suitable. It's fashionable to discard the concept of neat rectangle and make the shape of the photo whatever shape you spread the chemicals on the paper. Could be no borders, hand drawn borders, borders made of film edges on the inside and brush strokes on the outside.

RodinalDuchamp
25-Apr-2015, 07:13
Not having a much pure 100% white like you were concerned about a month or two ago makes this certainly less of a concern. Even my copious volumes of snow photos have texture and tone in the white.

Another option is alt-process printing for images that are suitable. It's fashionable to discard the concept of neat rectangle and make the shape of the photo whatever shape you spread the chemicals on the paper. Could be no borders, hand drawn borders, borders made of film edges on the inside and brush strokes on the outside.
JP its still quite impressive to me at least to have that level of control. Separation of tones is key and requires in the situation you mention a level of mastery I certainly don't have yet. I would end up losing too much low value detail to get snow to look truly textured. I live in FL though lol. My problem is puffy clouds that appear almost year round, clear skies here only in the winter. From now until about December I'll have to contend with clouds in all of my skies.

djdister
25-Apr-2015, 07:19
If a white sky is too often problematic, I would suggest using either a polarizer or a filter when shooting. This will avoid having to flash or print down the sky tones. Then you would only have to deal with clouds - which the polarizer/filters may help bring out details.

Richard Wasserman
25-Apr-2015, 07:28
Clouds, much like snow, also have tone and texture. Certainly vision plays a very large role here, but it sounds to me that you are primarily having issues with technique. I recommend getting a good grip on exposing and developing your film to get what you want. Also filters are your friends. Then of course there is learning to be a more adept printer—this should all keep you busy for a while...

It's not really hard, just takes time, an open mind, and concentration. Much of it can be done with either rigorous testing, or if you are wired more like me, trial and error will get you to the same place, although it may take a bit longer. Judging from previous questions you've asked you seem to be attracted to general rules. The only one I know is that the first rule states that there are no rules. Creativity rules.

neil poulsen
25-Apr-2015, 08:11
One of the advantages of developing for the highlights, I'd want some texture in this area. At least a little. I edge-burn to keep the viewer in the primary area of the image.

My concern would be with having a compendium lens shade that would enable me to keep any of that edge from reflecting off the bellows and bouncing around inside the camera.

Thom Bennett
25-Apr-2015, 13:09
Would something as simple as printing the film rebate help? In a workshop with Michael and Paula, they looked at our work and commented on a variety of things and one thing they recommended to me was to get rid of the rebate except (in general) with high-key backgrounds such as Avedon. Otherwise, the image has nothing to contain it. I contact print and I happen to like having the black border on my images but I don't dismiss the advice. Perhaps a thin black line would help you. M&P did emphasize (and showed, with their work) to pay attention to the edges of the frame. Composition is supremely important and I admire you for searching for a way to make your photography better.

Jerry Bodine
25-Apr-2015, 16:05
...Perhaps a thin black line would help you...

There is a method for achieving this thin black line around the image in Way Beyond Monochrome 2nd Ed., described with illustrations, to resolve this concern when necessary. I've not tried it yet, but then I've always found a brief edge burn to work just fine. Ignoring the paper's dry-down is NOT the answer. :D

RodinalDuchamp
25-Apr-2015, 16:08
There is a method for achieving this thin black line around the image in Way Beyond Monochrome 2nd Ed., described with illustrations, to resolve this concern when necessary. I've not tried it yet, but then I've always found a brief edge burn to work just fine. Ignoring the paper's dry-down is NOT the answer. :D
I've just about surrendered to fiber paper. I think for at least the next few years I will only use RC even for larger prints. Fiber kicked my butt the last 3 months.