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Contrast Masking The Traditional Print - Example Images

By: Lynn Radeka

Example Images
All photographs below copyright © Lynn Radeka. All rights reserved.
Abandoned Building Straight Print
Abandoned Building, New Harmony, UT. 1978
Abandoned Building, New Harmony, UT. 1978 - Final
Final Print with Masking

Final Print with masking: The problem with this image is a lack of brilliance in the white door and a lack of richness and separation in the foreground fence posts. Without masking I was able to get good smooth and soft values in the wooden façade and the blowing grass (accentuated by a long exposure) but I felt the white door was not brilliant enough. I also felt the fence posts did not separate well enough from the surrounding gray grass values. If I were to resort to a higher grade of paper contrast, the door and fence posts could be improved but the overall softness of the blowing grass and wooden siding would be far too harsh. I decided to use a highlight mask to brighten and increase local contrast in the door and the tiny areas of chipped white paint on the window frames. I then followed up with a Shadow Contrast Increase Mask designed to enhance the richness and detail in the two fence posts. The final print is remarkably different than the straight print.

Rock Forms, Red Canyon, San Rafael Swell, UT. 1985
Rock Forms, Red Canyon, San Rafael Swell, UT. 1985

Rock Forms, Red Canyon, San Rafael Swell, UT. 1985 - Final Print
Final Print with masking

For this image I wanted to isolate the flame-like structure of the alkali-crusted boulder against the darker rock values. This can often be done using extensive and sometimes elaborate burning techniques, but I decided that using an inkjet dodge/burn mask would make printing far easier with far more control than standard techniques. This inkjet mask was easy to make and very effective in darkening the surrounding rock values. Additional burning and dodging was still done in various areas of the image, but far less than if I had not used the inkjet mask. A Fog Mask was also used to locally darken some distracting areas in the surrounding rock resulting in a cleaner, more eloquent image.