This section is from the book "The Barnet Book Of Photography", by Herts Barnet. Also available from Amazon: The Barnet Book Of Photography.
Here we have one of the most fascinating and necessary adjuncts to pictorial work. Now with regard to the manipulation, combination printing in the bromide process is considerably more difficult than in any printing-out process, but not by any means beyond the capabilities of the tiro, while at the same time the possibilities with regard to effect and individuality are infinitely greater than with any other form of photographic printing.
The simplest form is that of sky printing. This may be carried out in two ways: by a double exposure before development, in which case the exposure for both landscape and cloud or sky negative must be accurately determined beforehand ; or by printing and developing the landscape first, and re-exposing the wet paper for the sky, in which case the exposure for the landscape only need be very accurate.
The first method is an extremely risky and uncertain business altogether, and as after a very few efforts I gave it up in disgust, I am perhaps not competent to speak on its merits, if it has any.
The second method, on the contrary, is extremely simple and efficient, needing but a little care and patience.
It must be remembered that bromide paper after the application of the developer becomes slightly less sensitive, and more so in the presence of bromide, so that some allowance should be made for this if the print is exposed several times.
If the depth of tone required in the landscape is such that it may be developed right out—that is, as far as it will go—then the printing and development of the sky is a very simple matter, being controllable at will.
Ascertain the exposure for the landscape, and develop it with a normal developer as far as it will go; then rinse the print and allow to drain by standing the dish on end. Now place your sky negative in position, and if not already found make trial exposures for the sky, and develop with a normal developer. The wet but drained print is now placed in the proper position on the screen by holding it carefully but firmly at the top, and allowing the bottom to rest on or touch the screen first, the yellow glass in front of the lens enabling this operation to be performed with ease.
If the previously determined exposure be increased by a tenth it should be quite sufficient for a second printing. The landscape portion of the print-is shaded in the usual way with a piece of card held at such a distance from the print as to give a marginal line of diffusion about a quarter of an inch deep ; and if the horizon line be very uneven the card must be roughly cut to it, but smaller to such a degree as to fit the horizon line when held at the stated distance from the print. During the exposure the card or shield is slowly lowered till the sharp edge of the horizon is distinctly visible, and then slowly raised till it just disappears. This manipulation should be repeated several times. The print is now redeveloped and controlled to obtain any desired effect in the sky. Where the development of the landscape has to be controlled for any desired effect, the sky may be developed with a brush or cotton wool, the print being inverted ; or, after some technical skill has been attained, the exposure and development adjusted to suit both printings.
In the case of compound work where landscape is added from another negative, or figures and other incidents are to be included, the manipulation is considerably more difficult. I have found that by far the best plan is to make a contact print of the figure or incident, and after accurately cutting it out, lightly paste it on the paper in the required position before the first exposure. This leaves a blank space to be filled in the second printing. The print from which the figure was cut is now pasted on the glass side of the corresponding negative, in such a manner as to leave only the figure visible. Place the wet developed print on the screen in the usual way, but in accurate gauge with the projected figure or incident, and make your exposure. I have made eight printings on Barnet platino matt paper in this way when making up a landscape, without any deterioration of the emulsion ; and it speaks well for the rapidity and stability of bromide paper when I say that the work only occupied three hours, and the whites remained perfectly pure.
Fig. ii shows a print from original negative. Fig. 12 shows a combination print, the figure of the monk being photographed in my own house. The excessive high lights and other parts of the picture have also been manipulated during exposure.
The possibility of altering the perspective of a picture is a feature of considerable importance in enlarging. Thus in architectural work, where the perspective is faulty owing to the plate not having been vertical at the time of the exposure, it may be corrected by inclining the screen on which the image is projected to such a position that the bottom of it is nearer the lens than the top. In this way any converging lines will be straightened, but it generally involves the use of a smaller stop if universal definition is required. The worker will no doubt also see further advantages for pictorial purposes.
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