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  1. #71
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    Actually the idea of planning backwards from the result is normal. Ansel was a big champion of that too. I'm sure Ansel wasn't first either.
    That's precisely what I meant.

    Basically, if you don't understand what your paper and paper developer does, developing negatives becomes like target shooting without a target.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  2. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    That's precisely what I meant.

    Basically, if you don't understand what your paper and paper developer does, developing negatives becomes like target shooting without a target.
    But for me the target is in the field of view, there after it is merely a craft done at leisure.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  3. #73
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    But for me the target is in the field of view, there after it is merely a craft done at leisure.
    And I'm talking about making the very best print that I possibly can. To make a print that is convincing, in my book, gets infinitely easier if the negative is targeted at a specific goal. Less waste in the darkroom too. It takes a lot of guesswork out of the printing stage.

    I'm editing this post to attempt a clarification, but leaving what I wrote above. I understand what you mean about having a target, and that to you primarily it's about the moment of exposure. Nothing wrong with that at all, and I'm not harping on it. Do what you like, and satisfy yourself; hopefully that is why we're all doing this insanely expensive thing for a passion anyway.
    But, think about this for a minute: Why did it take such a genius of a printer such as Sid Kaplan to print Cartier-Bresson's work? Why was someone of his (undeniable) razor sharp expertise to print those negatives? Because HCB was not interested in anything other than the moment of exposure, or capturing the moment.
    I can't afford just shooting for days, roll upon roll, and then have someone go through all of the film, contact sheet them, and print the good ones. I have to do it all myself. But I also have (I think) extremely high standards when it comes to print quality. For me it's a combination of the frame, and how it's conveyed in the print. The combination of those two makes a really great print for me. So, what's my point? I can't afford wasting sheet after sheet in the darkroom to get the print perfect. There's no way. So I have found a way of making it easier for myself. By figuring out what the paper and paper developer is capable of, what its limitations are, and strengths as well, I can design the negative by exposing it a certain way, and subsequently processing it a certain way (varies with exposure and contrast in the scene) so that it fits those qualities of the paper. That's what I mean with 'target'. It has nothing to do with subject matter, it is just a goal of what I need the negative to be in order to print with the least amount of waste in the darkroom.
    I have a real need to do this, and real needs breed creativity and inventiveness about how we do things.
    Last edited by Thomas Bertilsson; 07-28-2012 at 07:01 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  4. #74
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    But for me the target is in the field of view, there after it is merely a craft done at leisure.
    You have no idea what you want when you go out?

    No idea of what subject?

    No idea of where you might put it?

    If you don't have an idea of how a shot will be used, does having film in the camera even matter?
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  5. #75

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    I never know what I want or what I will shoot. Why should I?

    My life is not pre-planned.
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  6. #76
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    No one is saying to pre-plan your life or your shooting.

    This is NOT complicated. But if you know the paper you plan to print on and the look you want, you can work out the kind of film and type and method of development most likely to give you a negative which can easily yield that look you want. That film is then what you load in your camera. You still don't know what you'll see or how you'll frame it or even what exposure decisions you will make (though knowing something about how you want it to look should inform such decisions, at least.)

    This is a simple concept, and it seems it's being twisted into something very different just for the sake of argument, or else it's just not as clear to everyone as it seems to some of us.

  7. #77

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    Basically I don't tell anyone what they should expect or enjoy out of photography and I don't expect to be told.

    Understand it or not there are many of us that never print our photos and have other ways of enjoying them. The negative plays more of a direct role for those uses.
    - Bill Lynch

  8. #78
    Andre Noble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    Attached is not a very demanding situation for any of the films which have been mentioned. FP4 is capable of whatever you see from Plus-X.
    Well on the print every single nuance in the blacks and deep shadows is visible. I guess I agree with Drew, every film IS different. The nuances i appreciate in this photo may completely be un recognized in a photographer who is captivated by some other aspect of a print.

    Quote Originally Posted by wblynch View Post
    It's like losing your best girlfriend and dating her sister. It just won't be the same.
    Better to date her (of legal age) daughter.
    Last edited by Andre Noble; 07-29-2012 at 11:57 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Andre Noble, Beverly Hills California http://andrenoble.com/

  9. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andre Noble View Post
    Well on the print every single nuance in the blacks and deep shadows is visible. I guess I agree with Drew, every film IS different. The nuances i appreciate in this photo may completely be un recognized in a photographer who is captivated by some other aspect of a print.
    No. I'm saying while there are differences between these films, they are all capable of rendering "every single nuance in the blacks and deep shadows". The curves prove this. It is a matter of how you expose and develop the film, and then print the negative. You will not lose anything here due to the film.

  10. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    Actually the idea of planning backwards from the result is normal. Ansel was a big champion of that too. I'm sure Ansel wasn't first either.
    Quite true. Ansel certainly helped "codify" the process into a system, but E. Weston, Strand etc before him were doing the same thing.

    The notion of "planning backwards" may sound overly contrived to someone less concerned with printing, but it is the approach most good printers use - even if they don't realize it.

    I've gone on about this in other threads, but it's worth repeating (in my opinion) that treating the negative (ie exposure in the field and planned development) as something separate from the print constitutes a fundamental misunderstanding of what things like the zone system are really for. In order to make the best negative you can for a particular image, you must think like the printing paper, and then think about how you will expose the paper (ie burning, dodging etc), rather than just blindly doing the math (eg "highlights falling on zone XI = N-3 for grade 2"). This will work ok for scenes of average luminance ranges, but not as well for more complicated situations. Of course it sounds more complicated than it is - and decisive moment-people may balk, but with experience it all happens very quickly in the field. Planning backwards is the essence of visualization.

    I'm not sure there is necessarily a reconciliation of what Thomas and Cliveh are each saying. I think the philosophies are different. This is evidenced by the fact Cliveh routinely posts to technical threads to point out that the image is more important than the technical details of making negatives and prints. Unless someone is concerned solely with the science of photography, Cliveh's point is a valid, if obvious one. Clearly if an image is crap, there isn't much point to going further. But if we assume we are beginning with a worthwhile image, the characteristics of different films, papers, developers, and yes, sometimes even H&D curves, are indeed important considerations to someone attempting to make a print that communicates the image in an expressive way.

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