Over Zabriskie Point, 1980.
print before masking
print without the use of any masks. Some general dodging and burning
was done, but the dark values in the mudhills lack vitality and have
a dull gray appearance. The top half of the image (mostly the sky)
was burned substantially. There is detail throughout the image, including
the surface of the moon, but the "mood" that I sought could
best be achieved by the use of masks. Resorting to a higher grade
of paper contrast would destroy the delicate relationship of midtone
to highlight values, particularly in the sky (clouds/sky/moon) and
light mudhills in the middle area of the image.
to the image to view the before masking version.
If a change is not seen, allow more time for comparison image to
load (at least 30 seconds for a 56k modem).
print after masking
not point to the above image
image after applying a SCIM mask to the dark foreground areas.
Note the crisp black accents which contribute to more richness in
the dark values. On the fine print there is actually a perceived increase
of fine detail in these areas (which isn't clearly seen
in this low-res internet reproduction). Merely using a higher filter
grade to print the lower portion of the image would not yield the
same results. Also, substantial highlight brightening (using a Highlight
Brightener bleach formula) was done to the entire sunlit mountain
range in the background. If I were to use a higher contrast printing
filter when burning the top half of the image it would not have had
the extreme brightening effect that localized bleaching did and the
sky values would be far too harsh. Some additional burning was done
using a Fog Mask to precisely diminish some distracting bright
here to view an enlarged portion of the above image showing more detail
Badlands, 1998. Near Farmington,
NM. Straight print on left, final print on
right. Original negative was 4x5 Tri-x shot with a yellow filter and
given normal development. The straight print (left) was printed on
grade 1 paper. The mid-tone and highlight contrast looks good, but
the shadow areas are far too dark and lack luminosity and detail.
Overall, the print looks very gaudy and harsh - not at all the intention
I had for this photograph. This image is ideally suited to the use
of a CRM mask followed by a SCIM mask. On the final
image (above right), also printed on grade 1 paper to preserve the
delicate highlight values, the CRM mask lightened the shadow
values substantially (probably one to two full zones or values) and
increased apparent edge sharpness while the SCIM mask brought
richness and contrast back into the shadows by deepening the crisp
black accents, giving the image a very tactile and luminous feeling.
See the interactive example at the bottom of this page.
and Ice, 1978. Zion National Park,
UT. Straight print on left is made without
masks on grade 3 paper. Print on right was made on grade 3 paper also,
but I used a Dodge Mask to lighten the frozen sand ripples,
creating a very luminous and mysterious result. This mask only lightened
the sand (without increasing local contrast) and gives a result similar
to extremely detailed dodging. I also used a SCIM to deepen
the fine black accents, further delineating the sand ripples from
the surrounding icy water.
Thinnes House, 1991. Piedmont,
WY. Straight print (without
masks) on left, final print on right. A special contrast mask
was used to affect the contrast of all the interior values without
affecting the values of the open window area. On the straight print
(left), the interior values were a little too dark and "muddy",
while the values in the window area are just right. I could have used
two different contrast filters when making the print, a soft filter
for the window area and a hard filter for all the interior areas.
I chose instead to use a special contrast mask because the
result was more controllable and repeatable. This technique allowed
for a more accurate and seamless effect especially around the rectangular
window area where the drastically different contrasts meet. The contrast
enhancing effect of this mask is extremely versatile and can vary
from subtle to extreme.
the mask variations listed on the right to see mask effects
For proper viewing, please allow extra time for the
image variations to load.
If after a few minutes, all images do not load, please hit the refresh
button on your browser.
Canyon Petroglyphs, 1987. Death Valley
National Park, CA
+ Fog Mask
print (no masks)
First Contrast Mask - Contrast Masking Is Easy!
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photographs on this site are copyright © Lynn Radeka. All rights
Pin-Registration Carrier System copyright © 2002 Lynn Radeka. Patent
Contrast Masking Kit copyright © 2000 Lynn Radeka.