Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 31

Thread: How to separate shades of grey?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    444

    How to separate shades of grey?

    Yesterday I have had a real challenge.

    Misty weather, frosty temperatures, and together this gave nice ice crystals, which looked like snow on the trees and the leaves.

    But the whole scene has been more grey than white, and I haven't had a good idea for separating the misty background to the trees in the foreground (background more dark, front more bright):

    - Polarization filter - no function without blue skies, I believe..
    - Colour filters? Grey seems not to be a complementary colour of another colour..
    - Changing exposure and development times wouldn't spread the grey tones, in my opinion..
    - Darkroom action with Multigrade, dodging, burning?
    If the whole scene contains nearly one or two shades of grey, would this really help? I don't think so..

    If I'm wrong, please tell me, but I only can see the gradual ND filter as a solution in this situation, and maybe the blue filter for giving the mist in the background some more presence ...

    Thanks for your suggestions,
    Ritchie

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    Forest Grove, Ore.
    Posts
    3,318

    Re: How to separate shades of grey?

    You might try selenium toning your negative. It can pop the hightlights.

    I had a low contrast scene of a fireplace in a concrete bunker-armament on the Oregon coast. I gave the negative an N+2 development, but this wasn't enough. There were white streaks in the fireplace and in the walls that were really neat.

    After reading about John Sexton selenium toning his negatives and seeing examples, I gave it a try. It did indeed pop the highlights and turned this image into an excellent photograph.

    Another possibility is using a dilute, potassium ferricyanide bleach solution on the highlights of interest. (See in Ansel Adams books on clearing whites.) Of course, this stuff is deadly.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    444

    Re: How to separate shades of grey?

    Neil,

    I never heard about this, thanks for that; I only know about Borax in the negative step for giving more shadow details, as described by Andreas Weidner - but I never tried this myself.

    Ok, in general selenium seems worth a try, but - the misty background nearly have had the same tone as the greywhite wood, so I expect no advantages in this case.
    After "popping" the everall highligths, my fear is that I only will get a brighter print with the same graduation :-)

  4. #4
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    10,557

    Re: How to separate shades of grey?

    Longer (plus) film development, with a harder paper grade. These are the easy answers. What I like to do is attach a low-contrast full-range unsharp mask, which
    actually decreases contrast overall; but then I'll VC print right thru a deep blue 47 filter for high contrast, and this will accentuate all the subtle microtonality in the
    highlights impossible to retrieve by conventional methods.

  5. #5
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    4,491

    Re: How to separate shades of grey?

    Thin dof to remove the background detail.

    Appropriate and show the low contrast subdued minimalist mood rather than try to make it something different. You just won't have many shades of grey that way, but simple can be good.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    444

    Re: How to separate shades of grey?

    JP, DOF is a good idea, and I often use it for separating, but let me try to describe the yesterday's scene more detailed:
    the background has already been unsharp depending on the fog; but the weather was misty,foggy, so the wood in front came a bit unclear, too. A totally tone in tone, not so bad, yes, but
    I really wanted to separate the back-and foreground with different tonalities a bit.

    I have had some bad luck - there has been a little hole in the sky, which brought sensational whites and some glow to a handful of trees, a kind of spotlight - but totally out of my frame.
    But this bright light gave me a good idea of white trees in front of a darker background, but at this moment I really missed the right "tools", and I thought about my possibilities in the darkroom, but haven't seen much....

    Drew, masking sounds very special to me, I haven't any experience with this technique.
    Maybe I have to learn a bit more next time?
    Your description sounds good, really !

    What's about the good old orthochromatic film, which normally separates tones in a good way?
    Thisadays I use the actual charge of "Ortho 25" from Maco, which comes via Impex if I'm right.
    Does the good separation of tones work with brighter greytones, too?

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    10,557

    Re: How to separate shades of grey?

    Ortho film doesn't do anything you can't do with a contrast filter over pan film. I didn't mention this because you stated that the scene was misty. But IF the sun
    had been out, then all the tiny micro-shadows in the snow and frost would of course be blue, under a blue sky. So these shadows themselves can be darkened using typical yellow or orange or red filters which progressively darken blue, and hence help bring out fine gradations of contrast. A deep green filter will also work to attenuate blue light.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    444

    Re: How to separate shades of grey?

    Yes, foggy weather, obvisiously no advantages through the sensibilisation of ortho film. Just a spontaneus idea.. thanks, Drew.

    Today I prepared my bag for the next chance of identical scenes; I filled in an adapter and a set of gradual NDs, this seems to become the easiest solution.
    The other idea ist to bring in a blue coloured filter; this one could intensify the fog in the background and may give a better separation of the scene, like JP mentioned, but in an other way..

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    1,406

    Re: How to separate shades of grey?

    I used to be a news photographer in a place where it started snowing in October and didn't stop until April. It was a beautiful place, and the snow drifted and made the possibility of great photos, but the sun never came out. Potassium ferricyanide was my friend! You can print a bit dark, then after fixing make a weak solution and bring the print back and forth between the ferricyanide and fix, repeatedly, until you get what you want, but that doesn't work as well as going after the highlights individually with ferricyanide/fix mix in a 35mm film can, using a q-tip, so you can selectively pop out what you want, and leave the rest as it is. That's what I usually did.

    I liked the general look so much that I still do much of my digital printing that way by making highlight selections and running a small amount contrast/darkness to snap them up.

  10. #10
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    4,491

    Re: How to separate shades of grey?

    Let's see a failed photo if you don't mind.

Similar Threads

  1. C-41 Separate Bleach and Fixer any kit options?
    By Duolab123 in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 18-Oct-2016, 18:34
  2. Replies: 63
    Last Post: 27-Apr-2015, 01:46
  3. Do you separate important film to develop.
    By yuexiachou29 in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 14-Apr-2015, 13:59
  4. Best Separate Rangefinder Mechanism?
    By Frank Petronio in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 13-Jan-2009, 02:48
  5. C-41 Separate Blix?
    By Al Seyle in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 17-May-2006, 10:07

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •