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Pawlowski6132
9-Apr-2011, 05:38
Do most of you folks, when printing, first try to get the high values done correctly and then work on the dark and black values?

Robert Bowring
9-Apr-2011, 06:17
I don't know how "correct" it is but when using VC paper I will determine the exposure for the high values then adjust the contrast for the low values. Works for me.

paulr
9-Apr-2011, 06:46
The way you describe is the most efficient. But before figuring this out, I spent half my printing life doing it the opposite way, just out of habit.

Pawlowski6132
9-Apr-2011, 06:47
I don't know how "correct" it is but when using VC paper I will determine the exposure for the high values then adjust the contrast for the low values. Works for me.

Yeah, that's kinda what I've been figuring out seems to be easy.

jp498
9-Apr-2011, 06:48
Nothing bothers me much more on my prints than stuff that's supposed to be black being dark gray. Doesn't have to be pitch black always, but obviously black. And I want the right amount of detail in the shadows. And I want the right amount of detail in the highlights too. Adjusting the contrast usually gets me both. On most normal images, I try to get the darks right with exposure adjustment. Being cognizant of the dark tones really helps visualizing potential dry-down issues for me.

It's a rule/method that's meant to be broken though.

I can be a little more flexible with some highlights, but not others. I will not be flexible about highlight exposure on snow, people's faces, white car hoods, or boat hulls. Can't have that blown out white. Other things, like the light bulbs, chrome reflections, sun in the sky, windows out of focus in indoor scenes, I don't mind losing highlight detail in those things. That's what I can be flexible about.


If on the rare occasion I have to dodge/burn, it depends on whether dodging or burning is easier. If the shadow area is pretty simple, it's easier to dodge and print for the highlights. If the highlight area is simple, I print for the shadows and add some time after for some burning.

I try to get it right in the negative so I don't have to dodge/burn or make compromises or split-grade print. That mostly entails, to me, choosing to use PMK for bright high-range or contrasty scenes versus Xtol for more overcast or artificially lit scenes.

jeroldharter
9-Apr-2011, 06:48
I assume you are talking about split contrast printing?

I don't do that anymore, but when I did split contrast printing, I would usually place the blacks first. I found that I could visualize the print better that way even though many people recommend placing the highlights first.

However, for some prints that were more high key or where highlights were the main elements of the print I would place the highlights first.

It really does not matter which way you go. You just want to develop enough consistency so that when you inspect the negative you have a confident game plan for the print.

Robert Bowring
9-Apr-2011, 07:02
I have found in over 45 years that the best method is the method that works for YOU. Try them all and find the combination you like the best and gives you the results you are looking for.

Mark Sampson
9-Apr-2011, 07:50
Mr. Bowring's approach mentioned above is correct. I learned that quickly, shortly after I was hired as a b/w printer at a custom lab. But precise terminology is important here; get the high values (very light grays, or Zone VIII) correct, then adjust contrast. The highlights (as in reflections off chrome or glass) will be pure white anyway.

ic-racer
9-Apr-2011, 09:43
Do most of you folks, when printing, first try to get the high values done correctly and then work on the dark and black values?

I work hard to get the overall feel and intensity of the image in terms of overall exposure and mid tones. Then tweak contrast settings as needed. In my own experience I found that if I concentrate on getting a good black or a good white the prints can still suck. I think the beginners advice to print to have a maximum black and maximum white is something I find myself deviating from almost all the time. For example, in my hands, the two-exposure systems are impractical because of the inability to independently adjust the mid tones.

Robert Bowring
9-Apr-2011, 10:49
I agree with Mark Sampson. The exposure for the high values should have some texture and not be the maximum white. A maximum white or a maximum black really doesn't tell me anything. I know there are some who say a "fine" print has to contain a maximum white and a maximum black and everything in-between but in my opinion that is hogwash. I also agree with ic-racer about the "two-exposure" system. I think what he is talking about is split filtration printing. I have tried it and have never seen the advantage. I have compared prints I have made with split filtration and ones made by adjusting the contrast on my Aristo VC head and to me the prints looked identical. But again, that is just me. Some people swear that split filtration printing is better and that is fine with me. It just seems to be a lot of extra work for me. Also the most important thing in making a good print is to start with a good negative. If your negatives are "properly'' exposed and "properly" developed it is not really that hard to make a good print no matter what system you use.