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Thread: would flashing help me in this situation?

  1. #1

    would flashing help me in this situation?

    Back in the darkroom after a long break. The negative is 35mm fuji acros. It was weird light the day of the picture, and the sky is overexposed versus the ground.

    In photoshop, I have no problem getting the sky how I want it to look, by making a curve, dragging the highlight point down and the 3/4 mid down and then making a mask right along the horizon line.

    At the enlarger, however it's a different story, I cut a shape of cardboard to try and match the horizon and am burning in with the 00 filter, but I have to open the aperture up all the way to 2.8 and even so I simply cannnot get the sky as dark and perfect looking as I can digitally. This was an 11x14 print on ilford warmtone but I was hoping to print is 20x24 once I'd figured out the negative. Even opening the lens up all the way I'm having to burn like 25 seconds with the 00 and my base exposure at between F4 and 5.6 is 30 seconds.

    I'm also printing with a fairly large white border. Would flashing/adding pre-exposure help me get the sky closer to my digital version? I can handle losing a little contrast up there, but don't want to lose contrast in the ground or not be able to have my white print borders. (I don't have actual image of the physical print as it's drying at the lab, but have approximated my struggle here on the scan) The band of overexposure on the top left edge is also frustrating, it seems to show up more on the analog print then the digital.

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  2. #2

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    Re: would flashing help me in this situation?

    Chester, in my opinion, your darkroom print looks fine. But I know how niggling things like that can drive one crazy.

  3. #3

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    Re: would flashing help me in this situation?

    I've had skies that were almost completely clear, but with a mask cut to the shape of the skyline (and movement during burning in) I was able to create a magnificent sky with clouds -- using a very long burn-in time and a #5 VC filter.

    I don't recall the exact time, but the base exposure was probably 20 seconds, and the sky was probably 2 MINUTES.

    You might be on the right track. Try it with a smaller print first, like a 5x7.

  4. #4
    jim_jm's Avatar
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    Re: would flashing help me in this situation?

    It looks like you've got detail in the clouds, the challenge here is bumping up the contrast enough to add some drama.
    Selective burning at 00 or 0 will take awhile to add any density to the darker areas of the clouds, so try a burn of the sky using your mask at grade 1 or 2. Keep the mask moving slightly to avoid any impact on your foreground.
    If your base exposure was 30 sec @ 5.6, try burning the sky only for an additional 5 or 10 sec @ 5.6 at grade 1 or 2. If the lightest areas of the clouds are still too close to paper white, then try burning the sky at 00, which should add some density there. Don't be afraid to go a little overboard to see how far you can push it before you start seeing halos or other artifacts, then just pull it back a bit.
    There's lots of methods you can try, and I'm sure you'll get other suggestions, but this is what I would try first. If you test on smaller prints first (same paper type) you should be able to work out your ratios for the additional exposures.

    This print below took more than a few attempts to get the look of the sky right, but the challenge was similar to yours.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5

    Re: would flashing help me in this situation?

    Thanks a lot, maybe I jumped the gun on dipping down to the 00. I will try with a higher filter...I've never been confident with flashing, only tried it a few times when I was working for other printers...

  6. #6
    おせわに なります! Andrew O'Neill's Avatar
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    Re: would flashing help me in this situation?

    For tricky burning or dodging situations, I like to use the dye/dodge technique, with frosted mylar and a soft pencil or watered down acrylic paint.

  7. #7
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: would flashing help me in this situation?

    I woild definitely try flashing. Burning with the 5 filter wil make the grain much more apparent, I often make 3-stop burns with the 00 filter.

  8. #8

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    Re: would flashing help me in this situation?

    You could use your burn cardboard to just flash the sky area. You will still need to burn the area after flashing. Give it a try.

  9. #9

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    Re: would flashing help me in this situation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Pere View Post
    You could use your burn cardboard to just flash the sky area. You will still need to burn the area after flashing. Give it a try.
    This would be the best way - localized (to some extent) flashing. Even using a moving burning card during the flash exposure (as if you were broadly burning in the sky area with a graduated burn) would be better than overall flashing. You don’t want to flash more of the image than you need to as flashing reduces contrast. If done carefully it can work well.

    It should be noted flashing will not be much different than burning at minimum contrast. However still worth trying.

  10. #10

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    Re: would flashing help me in this situation?

    Just be very careful.

    You start with flashing.

    Then you might advance to Streaking.

    Next thing you know you are arrested Streaking across the 40 yard line at the SuperBowl... ;-)
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

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