Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
You should definitely run some simple tests that'll give you film speed and development times for scenes of various subject brightness ranges. Fred Picker, Ansel Adams, Steve Simmons, Phil Davis, and a large number of people have outlined tests for this. In a nutshell, you give enough exposure such that you get the detail that you want in darker scene areas, and you develop such that the most important tones, usually mid to brighter tones, have the contrast that you'd like. You can make the system as simple or complex as you'd like. For example, I only use N, N-1.5 and N+1.5 development times, as I use variable contrast paper and dodging and burning to take care of fine-tuning. Others devise an exposure/develop system to a much higher precision.

When taking a pictyure, you set your exposure based on your shadow reading, and you base your development on your desired contrast, which people often figure out from the meter reading of the lightest area of the scene with important detail. If you take a reflected reading, the reading indicated by your meter is for a middle gray, often called Zone V. If you're taking a picture with shadows, and your meter reading of them gives F16 at 1/30th, that would be for making them mid-grey, which they probably aren't. If you need detail in them, the recommendation usually is to place them on Zone III, but many advocate giving more exposure to place them on Zone IV. Given the reading above, placing the shadows on zone IV would require an exposure of 1/15th at F16, zone III would be 1/8th at F16.... (You could alternately change the f-stop)
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