Dodge and Burn in the Darkroom

Hello Everyone! As I continue to work in the darkroom for my Advanced Black and White photography class, I’ve been working on an image that needed to be dodged and burned. If you don’t know, dodge is a wet darkroom technique for lightening a part of an image and burn is a technique for darkening parts of the image. There is a digital equivalent in Photoshop, but you don’t have Photoshop in the darkroom so in the darkroom, you’re basically the Photoshop. The image down below is the image I was continuing to work on.

The needed fix image

As you can see the image is very dark but through the frame the sky looks great. Even so, I wanted to make the clouds pop a little more. To make that happen, I had to block everything (cover it up) and burn the clouds. So, taking some cut up card stock I had to make a little contraption.

As you can see I managed to piece together to make a tool. I can’t bring phones in the darkroom so I can’t show how I used it. When making the new image, I let the time image continue the same 30 sec. I then changed the time to 10 just for the clouds so that section has 40 seconds of exposure total. When I pressed the button to begin the exposure, I put my contraption over the lens filter that is displaying my image and slightly move the tool. Once done with the exposure, I continue to process the print in the photochemicals.

Burned clouds

The image above was the final result of the burned clouds showing more detail. But the other thing I had to work on was the darkest spot that was the bottom. You can see detail everywhere else but the bottom you can’t see anything. I had to actually dodge the bottom halfway through my 30 sec time and continue to burn the clouds.

I took a small card stock that was similar size to the bottom. When the 30 sec was counting down I quickly block the bottom at the 20 sec mark and gently shake the card stock through the end.

The final image

Now we have a perfect image. We can see the wood line detail on the bottom rather than a pitch black bottom. It was fun making a tool to dodge and burn rather than on Photoshop its a little circle that you can adjust the shape and size. It taught me to be creative and actually take my time and work with the image. My teacher told our class that the tools on Photoshop or any photo image editing program all came from the darkroom processing!

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