I think I will go back to some film photography. Somehow the thought of getting my hands into chemicals again, appeals to me. I was experimenting with it, recently, and essentially I had to re-teach myself a lot of stuff that I learnt three years ago. Wow – is it really that long since we spent all our Saturdays in the college darkroom, developing our negs and wrecking our brains about the perfect prints? Oh my – the amount of worry that split grading used to cause me…
It is actually amazing, what a difference the split grading made! I decided to do a split grade on an image and take no short cuts, just to show myself how it works again. My photo of a leaf on wet grass was a good example as there are a lot of different greys in the image. But the details of the leaf and the water droplets also need a lot of contrast.
So, in order to compare, I developed one version of the print to get the greys all balanced; and another one to get the details all right. In the two smaller images in the top row you can see the results: filter 5 at 16 seconds (left) and filter 1 at 16 seconds (right) .
Note how the image on the left is all very detailed and the highlights and lowlights are clearly defined. The grass and the leaf itself look rather washed out, though, and the water droplets are hardly visible. In contrast, the image on the right has lovely grayscale tones and gives more definition to the individual grass blades. The leaf looks textured and you can see the droplets.
Logical conclusion: Use both filters and split grade, yoohay! Which is what I did for the main image in my little collage here. I like it and I think it is just about right. But whoa – it is time consuming. Maybe Photoshop is not so bad after all???