This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
Reducing Hight-Lights And Fog. The process just mentioned can be employed to remove fog and halation, and to reduce high-lights or a streak of light crossing the negative caused by using an imperfect slide in the plate-holder. This latter, however, is a very difficult thing to rectify. It will be found best to work upon the broader patches with either the alcohol and pumice or rotten-stone or the reducing paste, but the narrower portions should be handled with a pointed piece of India rubber charged with dry pumice or rotten-stone, or a small stump may be employed to apply the reducing paste. No matter how much care you have exercised in removing a streak, it will, no doubt, be necessary for you to pencil and blend certain portions afterward in order to remove all trace of it. A stump dipped in fine pencil filings may assist in slightly building up certain portions which you may have reduced too far.
603. When working on high-lights you should not only consider their density, but you should also observe the range of gradation from the highest point of light to the deepest shadow and strive not to flatten or destroy the
roundness which originally existed in the negative. Your aim should be to produce as much of an atmospheric effect as possible, by softening the outlines of more distinct objects in the landscape scene.
604. In technical architectural subjects, less attention should be paid to the matter of atmospheric effect and your thought concentrated on producing as strong and clear detail in the high-lights and in the shadows as possible. You must aim in such architectural subjects to exactly reproduce the original and make a perfect record of it. When the making of such records is not required, but, on the other hand, a more artistic result is wanted, it is permissible to work along somewhat different lines. The technical view must be absolutely sharp in every portion, while the artistic subject demands only the foreground in sharpest focus, the portions toward the background and farthest from the camera gradually becoming diffused.
605. The retoucher must bear these points in mind when working on different classes of negatives, for it is just as essential to carry out the sharp idea in the technical negative as to aim for diffused effects in the artistic one. In every case it is necessary that the negative should have been correctly exposed and developed. If for any reason the photographer has failed to do his part, the retoucher must correct his mistakes, building up detail in those portions which lack it and accentuating high-lights which have not been properly built up in developing.
606. Sharp lines which need reducing should be worked on with the point of the etching knife, while broader portions will be best handled by scraping with the flat, or perhaps the curved side of the knife.
Penciling. When the process of reduction has been satisfactorily accomplished, the retouching dope should be applied to the negative, and whatever detail needs strengthening must then be worked in with the pencil. The pencil must be sharpened in two ways. In fact it is desirable to have two different leads, yet one lead may answer the purpose if you wish to use the two ends. One
end should have a round, moderately fine point, similar to that used in regular retouching, and the other should have a flat-edge shape as employed by draftsmen, the latter being especially useful for inserting detail in foliage and in building up or accentuating straight lines. As a rule, a fairly soft pencil should be employed, such as a B or BB lead. There is not so much danger of the pencil strokes showing in the work on landscape negatives as on the face of the portrait negative, for in landscape and architectural subjects you have to deal more with straight lines rather than with building up broad portions.