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Printing in Clouds

landscape, mask, sky, print, printed, card and negative

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CLOUDS, PRINTING IN The landscape or marine picture should be printed first and the clouds added subsequently. No attempt should ever be made to block out the sky on the landscape negative, even if it should print to a pale grey tone. Painting out a sky leaves the outlines of the distance hard and crude, instead of delicate and soft, as they invariably appear in a landscape print, even if sharply defined throughout. It is no disad vantage to print a sky over a pale tone of grey ; the clouds are softened in their contrasts, and frequently harmonise better with the tone of the landscape. At times, the grey tone of a sky may be a disadvantage when it is desired to add a sky that should be as brilliant as possible for a special effect. In that case the sky may be kept white by shielding. A card is roughly cut to the shape of the outline of the landscape, and supported over the sky part of the picture during printing, the edge of the card being directly over the outline of the landscape. This plan allows the landscape to print fully, but the sky will be vignetted off from its full printing, where it joins the landscape, to a pure white for the greater part of its area. The suddenness or the gradual nature of this vignetting will be determined by the distance of the card from the surface of the negative. When the landscape print is obtained, a mask is also required, to be used to shield it from the action of the light while the clouds are printed. The most satisfactory method of obtaining this mask is to take a rough silver print of the landscape, and cut it carefully to the outline of the subject. Any small dark objects, such as a church spire, the branches and twigs of a leafless tree, may be disregarded in cutting this mask, as the clouds may be printed over them. But the mask must be cut so as to shield any light object, excepting in special cases which must be determined on their merits. The landscape and mask are shown at A and B. The landscape print must be placed in position behind the cloud negative, care being taken that the horizon of one is near the horizon of the other, so as to ensure that the cloud forms are in correct relation to the landscape. The clouds must be

printed in a frame one or two sizes larger than the landscape, the frame being provided with a sheet of plain glass so that the smaller negative can be printed without difficulty. The large frame allows space for arranging the landscape print in the correct position on the cloud negative irrespective of the extent to which it may project in any direction.

If a large number of prints are required from one negative, the most satisfactory manner of using the mask is to attach it permanently to a piece of glass the same size as the print. If only a few are wanted, the mask may be wetted sufficiently to render it quite limp ; it will cling to the glass thoroughly satisfactorily, without risk of movement, while the sky is printed. In either case, the mask is adjusted in position on the outside of the plain glass in the printing frame when everything is ready for printing the clouds. The frame should be in a horizontal position.

The mask should be carefully adjusted so that it overlaps the landscape very slightly, about one-sixteenth of an inch, or less in small wor k The fact that there are two thicknesses of glass between the mask and the print—the plain glass of the frame and the sky negative—will cause the mask to print with a soft or vignetted outline, and this slight overlapping is to compensate for the manner in which the light diffuses under the mask, and it prevents the print from showing any hard junction. In addition, a card should be supported over the landscape portion, as shown at E, while the clouds are being printed ; this card should project over the sky to a small extent to soften off the depth of printing near the horizon. The extent and nature of this softening will be determined by the extent to which the card projects beyond the landscape and its height above the surface of the negative. The edge of the card may be either straight or cut approximately to the out line of the landscape, according to the subject. This vignetting off towards the horizon becomes absolutely necessary when a grey sky has been vignetted into a plain white, as described earlier.

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