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Thread: Flashing still used with Multi-Contrast papers ??

  1. #11
    Steve Sherman's Avatar
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    Re: Flashing still used with Multi-Contrast papers ??

    Good news fellas, there are some very knowledgable people in this thread for which I’m grateful.

    First, I’ve seen first hand in dozens of prints that Bob Carnie has resurrected from mediocre and over processed negatives resulting in magnificent Silver prints . I consider Bob one of the five best printers on the planet, so I’m thrilled to pass along a Flashing technique I use most of the time. You can read about the entire evolution of this discovery if interested in an article I wrote for UnblinkingEye online magazine.

    https://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/F.../flashing.html

    Essentially the key is reducing the amount of Green ( 0 ) contrast light that is “projected” thru the negative. First hint of grey tone happens in the densest part of the negative. Therefore, the less dense (mid tones) get “contaminated” with unnecessary low contrast light. We all know, mid-tones and their respective contrast is the single most difficult area of a Silver print to affect.
    It’s all laid out in the article but I have found that by Flashing the MC paper with Green light to just below threshold I can reduce the amount of “projected” soft contrast light the negative sees by 33 % and in some cases as much as 40 %. There is a noticeable gain in mid-tone contrast, even when the entire sheet of paper is flashed.

    Lastly, my negatives by design are extremely flat, i.e. highlight density of no more than 1.00 above fog. So, many negative makers and I’m sure the negs Bob often gets to print are more dense. This Flashing technique may pay even greater dividends than I realize with my negative design. I’d love to hear your feedback.

    Cheers


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  2. #12
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Flashing still used with Multi-Contrast papers ??

    Thank you for the kind words Steve..

    I am interested in the phrase - (key is reducing the amount of Green ( 0 ) contrast light that is “projected” thru the negative ) -
    I know you are a fan of Ilford Warmtone as am I - you may be seeing somewhat some of the same things I saw with this paper. I found issues using a 0 filter... in my case I went to a slight higher filter and in your case you are reducing the amount of 0 - which in my layman mind thinks is pretty much the same thing just a different way... I found issues with using a 0 filter and Ilford Warmtone, btw I did not find this with other papers which was strange to me.

    It has been years since I took the higher low filter approach and frankly cannot remember the exact reason .. I think it had to do with one of the Tibetan Images with a lot of shadow detail which I saw issues, almost like a flaring or solarizing effect in the low end.

    I have no control over the negatives I get and therefore have learned to work with sometime extreme situations, My own negs are solarized so its a bit different in my darkroom.

  3. #13

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    Re: Flashing still used with Multi-Contrast papers ??

    Steve,

    I've got a few comments, not in any particular order.

    First, you conflate the effect of flashing with the effect of printing at a higher contrast "formula." You need to separate what is doing what in your print example. So let's get it straight: Increasing the contrast "formula" (or setting or filtration or grade or whatever term you wish to use for printing at a higher contrast) is what gets you extra contrast. Not the flashing.

    Flashing reduces contrast, which is precisely what you are doing: Reducing contrast in the highlights while simultaneously giving them a bit of exposure so they print with tonality. This is classic, ho-hum, everyday, plain vanilla flashing technique. Flashing VC papers with green or blue or some combination of the two to fine-tune the highlight response is as old as VC paper. None of this, by itself, increases midtone contrast. Not a whit, no way, no how.

    Certainly, the midtone contrast is going to be higher if you print at a higher-contrast setting. The problem that occurs without flashing is that the highlights often end up being underexposed. You've simply given some exposure with your flashing to get tonality in the highlights. Don't think, however, that the flashing adds midtone contrast. Au contraire! It's reducing the highlight contrast. What's increasing the midtone contrast is your higher overall contrast setting. Not the flashing.

    Printing your example print without any flashing would result in an even higher overall contrast, especially apparent in the highlights, likely with the sky burnt out. By adding the flashing, you are reducing the contrast in the highlight areas of the print, reining in the high values and getting some tonality in whites, which would otherwise be blank.

    Labeling or implying that this technique is novel, applicable to only VC papers, somehow a magic bullet, etc., etc. are all simply false.

    Flashing has been around since about day one of photographic printing. What you are doing is nothing new. Even flashing using green and blue separately with VC papers is nothing new.

    Flashing a higher grade of graded paper to rein in the highlights and making a print gets you more mid-tone contrast too. It's the same thing you're doing. Ansel Adams discusses it in his books. It doesn't matter how you change the paper contrast; either changing filtration settings or changing to a different grade, it's still the change of contrast grade or setting that gets you the increased contrast. Not the flashing.

    There is a trade-off with flashing, always, and that is loss of separation in the print highlights. There are many times when burning highlights is better, since it doesn't compress the highlight values. Flashing with blue light is better than green in this regard, but burning is better if you can do it, and with a higher contrast setting than the overall print contrast if possible if you want to increase contrast in the highlights. Flashing is just one tool and doesn't work well for a lot of situations. It's not a panacea or magic bullet in any way shape or form.

    What irks me most about this whole thread, however, is the way you disingenuously asked a leading question, prompting responses from forum members who thought they were helping you, while all the time having the goal of shameless self-promotion. I find this use of the forum to be objectionable and even unethical. Manipulating a thread with the sole interest of promoting your videos and workshops for your personal gain is not what this forum is intended for. While I don't begrudge you your livelihood, I do find such exploitation of what is supposed to be a neutral platform, where all advertising is forbidden, and which is intended to provide an objective and commerce-free exchange between members, deceptive and unacceptable.

    I feel tricked, taken advantage of and conned; I'll not be participating in your discussions in the future if they continue in this vein. If I were a forum moderator, I would warn you most strongly about ever doing such a thing in the future with the threat of excluding you from the forum if you ever did. I think you owe us all an apology and a change of behavior.

    Doremus

  4. #14
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Flashing still used with Multi-Contrast papers ??

    I thought highlight masking was fairly elementary, but whatever. Your needs, printing other people's work, Bob, obviously involves some problem solving routes that personal pre-tamed b&w negs rarely do. That kind of headache was routine with Cibachrome; but in b&w printing, it ended a long time ago for me.

  5. #15
    Steve Sherman's Avatar
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    Re: Flashing still used with Multi-Contrast papers ??

    Bob,

    I’m doing this from a phone so hopefully all goes as I plan

    I know you always said you believe using 0 filtration can sometimes cause solarization. I have not found that in my printing. That said my Green exposures usually run 4-6 seconds and are never more than the Blue exposure. I believe many of the negs you get from clients are more dense and may require much more 0 filtration which might well be causing the solarization you are seeing. You know I only print with 0 and 5 and feel very strongly about that.

    The phrase “projected thru the negative”. That’s the key to this Flashing technique. Consider the attach photo which shows all 5 exposure on the left side and all 0 exposure on the right side. With the right side 0 exposure, the lightest part on the print comes from the densest area on the negative. So, all the surrounding densities that are slightly less are the mid-tones. So, if we can reduce the amount of 0 filtration that is exposed “above and thru” the negative, by means of Flashing / bringing paper to threshold. The real gain is in the mid-tones which are less dense than the highlights. When the mid-tones “see” less 0 / Green exposure the contrast is increased because they are “less contaminated” with 0 filtration in less dense negative areas.
    The way I discovered this technique is because of a failed negative. Check out the link and the story, it also describes a flashing technique with a Blue gel instead of a Green gel.

    Cheers. Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #16
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Flashing still used with Multi-Contrast papers ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Sherman View Post
    Bob,

    I’m doing this from a phone so hopefully all goes as I plan

    I know you always said you believe using 0 filtration can sometimes cause solarization. I have not found that in my printing. That said my Green exposures usually run 4-6 seconds and are never more than the Blue exposure. I believe many of the negs you get from clients are more dense and may require much more 0 filtration which might well be causing the solarization you are seeing. You know I only print with 0 and 5 and feel very strongly about that.

    The phrase “projected thru the negative”. That’s the key to this Flashing technique. Consider the attach photo which shows all 5 exposure on the left side and all 0 exposure on the right side. With the right side 0 exposure, the lightest part on the print comes from the densest area on the negative. So, all the surrounding densities that are slightly less are the mid-tones. So, if we can reduce the amount of 0 filtration that is exposed “above and thru” the negative, by means of Flashing / bringing paper to threshold. The real gain is in the mid-tones which are less dense than the highlights. When the mid-tones “see” less 0 / Green exposure the contrast is increased because they are “less contaminated” with 0 filtration in less dense negative areas.
    The way I discovered this technique is because of a failed negative. Check out the link and the story, it also describes a flashing technique with a Blue gel instead of a Green gel.

    Cheers. Click image for larger version. 

Name:	D2945867-4D67-4D61-9C99-F337A9AE811A.jpg 
Views:	26 
Size:	105.0 KB 
ID:	202917
    Need to noodle this for awhile and let you know what I think , I immediately do not see where you are going... are you saying by flashing you get faster to the detail in highlights , but do less printing time through the negatve with the 0 filter , therefore less O filtration in the mid tones???

  7. #17
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Flashing still used with Multi-Contrast papers ??

    In the pre-digital photo restoration era, I had to salvage print all kinds of wretched negs, even fire-damaged ones. Highlight masks could be as simple as registering a sheet of frosted mylar with red dye or soft pencil smudge or Sharpie pen applied. Or brown fire stain could be filtered out on a pan film mask using an appropriate color contrast filter. One could be quite innovative if someone was willing to pay enough. But it was pretty rare I was willing to accept someone's miserable prize color slide and come up with a serious Ciba print, usually a favor for someone already purchasing my own prints. Nothing's worse than a badly exposed chrome.

  8. #18
    Steve Sherman's Avatar
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    Re: Flashing still used with Multi-Contrast papers ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
    Steve,

    What irks me most about this whole thread, however, is the way you disingenuously asked a leading question, prompting responses from forum members who thought they were helping you, while all the time having the goal of shameless self-promotion. I find this use of the forum to be objectionable and even unethical. Manipulating a thread with the sole interest of promoting your videos and workshops for your personal gain is not what this forum is intended for. While I don't begrudge you your livelihood, I do find such exploitation of what is supposed to be a neutral platform, where all advertising is forbidden, and which is intended to provide an objective and commerce-free exchange between members, deceptive and unacceptable.

    I feel tricked, taken advantage of and conned; I'll not be participating in your discussions in the future if they continue in this vein. If I were a forum moderator, I would warn you most strongly about ever doing such a thing in the future with the threat of excluding you from the forum if you ever did. I think you owe us all an apology and a change of behavior.

    Doremus
    Doremus

    Sorry you feel that way, actually very sorry as I respect your work and knowledge. The only reason I can put to my wording, my interest was to attract experienced printers and not the masses who expound on virtually every topic. Also, I never imagined that I would be the only silver printer using the Flashing technique in the manner. I can assure you, my only intention is creating greater mid-tone contrast, in that regard my focus and use of the technique is not traditional in any form.

    However you to choose to spin it so it sounds like traditional flashing is your call. Flashing in it’s traditional sense is used to reduce high light contrast as you point out, with “graded” papers. However, I would imagine, as I did for years, that with MC papers and the Green / Blue relationship to shadows and highlights would suggest to almost all silver printers the technique has out lived its use.

    Therefore, in the manner I am suggesting it is quite simple, when the amount of Green exposure which is “projected thru and from above” the negative can be reduced, in this case by means of bringing the paper to threshold there is a gain in mid-tone contrast. Of course it’s because the highlights realize a grey tone sooner, my interest is solely the benefit seen in the mid-tones and not in greater tonality in the high ligths.

    So, in my opinion, as much as you wish to twist my words around to suit an explanation of the traditional use of Flashing, I can easily defend that by saying my question was “Is anyone using the Flashing technique to control contrast ?? Increase or decrease contrast ?? I never eluded to the high light region or used the word "traditional", that is a label you assigned to what I am doing, and with some disdain in your wording. I believe many simply assumed that is the target purpose of Flashing as I believe you did initially.

    It's unfortunate that you feel the need to use the word disingenuous in regard to my intentions. While I don’t often contribute on these forums for a variety of reasons, I have over the years read scores of responses and opinions from you, never do I recall such a strongly worded response. Further, based on your response it’s apparent you didn’t take the time to read the linked article, which would validate the technique in the manner I am suggesting and possibly open your eyes to the purpose of this thread.

    The damage your comment further reinforces, those reading this tread in the manner I am suggesting the Flashing technique will quickly discount it not because of the quality of your printing or mine, those are unknown to the masses. What is known, your contributions on this forum far out number mine, therefore, the louder voice always carries the day with regard to the veracity of my claims.


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  9. #19
    Steve Sherman's Avatar
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    Re: Flashing still used with Multi-Contrast papers ??

    Quote Originally Posted by bob carnie View Post
    Need to noodle this for awhile and let you know what I think , I immediately do not see where you are going... are you saying by flashing you get faster to the detail in highlights , but do less printing time through the negatve with the 0 filter , therefore less O filtration in the mid tones???
    Bob,

    This is why I don’t bother with these forums much any more. I have a very narrow area of expertise, so when someone comes along who is knowledgeable with far more contributions on these forums disputes my knowledge, the louder voice always prevails. If you have further interest in what I am suggesting, read the article because it has clear and significant side by side visual comparisons to the benefits of what I’m doing or simply email me as you have my address.


    Real photographs are born wet !

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  10. #20

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    Re: Flashing still used with Multi-Contrast papers ??

    Steve, I read your article and plan on giving this a try. I use your EMA process for my negatives with great success and have no reason to believe that this will provide similar results.

    I am still rather new to this art form so this question may be obvious to everyone but me. Do you flash before exposing through the negative or after? I assume this is done before, but hope you will confirm this.

    I know that some feathers have been ruffled in this thread, but I always discover new things to try. If they work for me, I keep them. If not, I still learn something.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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