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Thread: Dodging & Burning 8x10 Contact Prints

  1. #1

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    Dodging & Burning 8x10 Contact Prints

    Not wanting to hijack a parallel thread, what are ways to dodge and burn a contact print? I have trouble seeing details on the negative well enough dodge and burn, given that the darkroom is dimly lit with red filtered darkroom lights.

    I did some contact printing recently. I finally gave up and finished with some edge burning.

  2. #2

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    Re: Dodging & Burning 8x10 Contact Prints

    Practice, practice, and more practice. Failures are teachers in disguise. It doesn't come easy in my experience. Keep detailed notes.

  3. #3
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Dodging & Burning 8x10 Contact Prints

    I have used a sharpie on the glass part way thru the exposure. Other types of masking are options, too.

    If the exposures are long enough, you can do a lot of 'playing' around. Take the frame from under the light or turn it off...change the masking, turn the light back on. Might be habit forming. Use cut pieces of rubilith to dodge large areas, or shaded (pencil?) on frosted mylar.

    There are (were) photographers who built masks for each negative on glass. Filed them away and used them if they needed another copy. Lots of possibilities.

    add: inkjet masks is another possibility.
    Last edited by Vaughn; 2-Mar-2021 at 13:30.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  4. #4

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    Re: Dodging & Burning 8x10 Contact Prints

    Practice (obviously), yes, but also selective masking (contours, pencil shading etc. etc.) can help when things are intricate and/or too difficult to see properly.

    Quote Originally Posted by neil poulsen View Post
    Not wanting to hijack a parallel thread, what are ways to dodge and burn a contact print? I have trouble seeing details on the negative well enough dodge and burn, given that the darkroom is dimly lit with red filtered darkroom lights.

    I did some contact printing recently. I finally gave up and finished with some edge burning.

  5. #5
    Eric Woodbury
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    Re: Dodging & Burning 8x10 Contact Prints

    There are red dyes you can use to 'dodge'. Paint them on the back of the neg.

    Morley Baer made 1:1 enlargements with 8x10 rather than contact print. This made dodge and burn easier.

  6. #6

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    Re: Dodging & Burning 8x10 Contact Prints

    it helps a lot to let your eyes get used to the darkroom. I also don't like a really bright darkroom when I am printing. I make contacts on enlarging paper using a cold light and under the lens filters (generally split filter with 00 and 4 or 4.5). It helps when I am used to the dark. It's easier with contact printing paper and brighter lights.

  7. #7
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Dodging & Burning 8x10 Contact Prints

    Useful tips!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Woodbury View Post
    There are red dyes you can use to 'dodge'. Paint them on the back of the neg.

    Morley Baer made 1:1 enlargements with 8x10 rather than contact print. This made dodge and burn easier.
    2022

  8. #8
    Tracy Storer's Avatar
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    Re: Dodging & Burning 8x10 Contact Prints

    Yep/ I worked in a repro lab for Polaroid and we made "dodging masks" out of layers of frosted myar taped to the back of the white plexi diffuser. These got filed with the interpositives we were copying onto 40"x80" Polaroid film. (This was the Polaroid Museum Replicas project that I helped on part time during my Boston 20"x24" days.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    I have used a sharpie on the glass part way thru the exposure. Other types of masking are options, too.

    If the exposures are long enough, you can do a lot of 'playing' around. Take the frame from under the light or turn it off...change the masking, turn the light back on. Might be habit forming. Use cut pieces of rubilith to dodge large areas, or shaded (pencil?) on frosted mylar.

    There are (were) photographers who built masks for each negative on glass. Filed them away and used them if they needed another copy. Lots of possibilities.

    add: inkjet masks is another possibility.
    Tracy Storer
    Mammoth Camera Company tm
    www.mammothcamera.com

  9. #9
    Maris Rusis's Avatar
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    Re: Dodging & Burning 8x10 Contact Prints

    I use an enlarger as a controlled light source for contact printing.
    As a guide to the eye I put a wet pilot print in a dry tray on the enlarger baseboard next to the contact frame so I have a visible "map" of where to dodge and burn.
    And I get the impression that contact work needs less dodging and burning compared to projection printing.
    Photography:first utterance. Sir John Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society. "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..".

  10. #10

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    Re: Dodging & Burning 8x10 Contact Prints

    In my experience, contact prints just seem to sort themselves out. IMO, burning is easier than dodging so I try to avoid the latter. I'll begin with a lighter print which effectively gives me a "dodge", then burn in areas I want darker. For burning, I lay a white card on top of the printing frame, then using another card I'll hit the foot switch as many times as necessary to work out the area to be burned. Then, while holding the "burn card" with one hand I remove the other card, switch on the light, and do the burn. Harder to write, than to do!

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