I may add to point 2, that you meter the darkest area with a spot meter.
OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
Rolleicord Va: Humble.
Agfa Isolette III: Amazingly simple, yet it produces outstanding negatives.
With roll film a happy medium is almost unavoidable. I have found that for every day shooting with a 35mm, I just shoot everything at EI 250 (using HP5+ or Tri-X film) and give plenty of development. That way I get enough shadow detail at all times, and in 99% of the cases, decent negatives to print without too much darkroom gymnastics. These pictures are mostly about content, where tonal qualities in the final print are not as important as when I shoot landscape or things like that.
Originally Posted by Alan Klein
If I'm out with the Hasselblad or shooting sheets, I'm more careful, because I will want the negatives to print a certain way. This is when I pay attention to lighting and make lots of notes so that I can adjust development to perfectly develop the negatives.
You have to think about the end result. If you want a really fine print with amazing print values that sing a symphony of tones, it's best to have a negative with intentional results with as little left to chance as possible. I think the best way to achieve this is to use the same materials over and over and over again. Those that do often have a very consistent and cohesive look to their output. If you just look critically at the results, print the negatives often, eventually anybody will come to a place where they almost automatically learn how to compensate for varying lighting conditions.
Anyway, it is true that better negatives can be had by intentionally exposing to make sure there is enough shadow detail (an objective observer will realize that this is a subjective thing and not everybody will agree on how much shadow detail that is), and then learn how to develop the negative to exactly the contrast needed to make that amazing print.
"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
I really think it's all about what end result you are going after.
Everything I do is based on the mood I want to achieve. Some projects I expose the p*** out of the film and some I under. I might way over soup it to establish a heavy oppressive mood. There is a lot of amazing work out there that is very dark and heavy and some that is light and ethereal. I think you should determine what you want to achieve first. Some of our greatest discoveries and effects have been achieved merely by veering off course.
But have fun in your discoveries!
Sourdough, salami and blue cheese... and 2 dogs drooling with such sad, sad eyes. ... they're working me... they know I'll cave!
This is neither necessary nor (in general) helpful.
Originally Posted by baachitraka
The use of a spot meter can be very informative BUT you have to understand that, because a spot meter uses a lens, there are other factors at work. You have to then include in your testing the fact that a spot meter will have it's own flare issues (due to using a lens) and that will affect your results meaning that you need to interpret them with the experience that a novice will not have. The single most important thing that you need to do when using a spot meter is to fit the inner core of a toilet roll on the front to create an effective lens shade and be aware that the spot meter may be seeing a specifically dark part of your important shadow and this will give results that do not meet your intentions. Far more practical is to use an averaging meter such as any of the Weston Master range.
Correct, as it depends on what you want your final image to look like.
Originally Posted by VaryaV
“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”
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Of course you can control the highlights by using a compensating developer and adopting a stand or semi-stand regime. This is helpful when using roll film with lots of different photographs on it.
Excellent advice, especially the last sentence...
Originally Posted by VaryaV
How do you compensate for different colors in the shadows when metering? In other words, wouldn't you get different values if reading shadows in grass vs. shadows of a lighted colored rock? Do you just increase the exposure by two stops in either case?
Since I don't have darkroom, I would be getting film delvelope in an outside lab. They can pull and push 1,2 etc. What would I ask them to do at this point, just develope normally? Which film would be good to start with with medium format? I do landscape.
A little irreverent, but perhaps a way of pushing the buttons of those who get so hung up over the minutia of Zone Systems is Jim Brick's version:
There are four zones.
Zone Good, Zone Bad, Zone Ugly, Zone Butt Ugly.
To use the system:
Wake up. Get out of bed. Go outside.
It is light overcast, light shadows but good light direction. Normal contrast.
Expose normal (eg: ASA-100 @ 100) develop normal.
It is dismally overcast, no shadows, perhaps even drizzle. Low contrast.
Underexpose one stop (eg: ASA-100 @ 200) overdevelop 20%
The sun is out, sky is clear with puffy clouds, and there are blatant shadows. High contrast.
Overexpose one stop (eg: ASA-100 @ 50) underdevelop 20%
Zone Butt Ugly
The sun is squinty bright, cloudless sky, and the shadows really deep. Very high contrast.
Go in, and go back to bed!. But, if you are a die-hard...
Overexpose two stops (eg: ASA-100 @ 25) underdevelop 30%
Take it or leave it as you like, but don't let uncertainty over the process stop you from taking photographs.
Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada
Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points
system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...
Without being flippant or demeaning... It's OK not to get it, even though it makes sense and even though you understand it... You still will have a future point in time no matter how many times it is repeated to you, there will be a future point in time when you will suddenly "get" it.
Originally Posted by jsimoespedro
I was never a dummy when it came to photographic processes, I read Todd-Zakia Sensitometry cover-to-cover as a teenager. But I never felt the meaning in my bones, can say I never "got" it until I did film testing of my own, about the time I joined APUG. Now it is so obvious to me, I don't immediately know how anyone can not see what it means. I should be able to explain it to you in one post. I have to reflect back on my past to remember when I figured it out. And that point was when I painted the two-tone board and setup a film test with tungsten lights and exposing several sheets of film according to a complex pattern specified by Minor White. Not that it had to be his way. Zone System, BTZS, ring-around, all these methods you read about here on APUG could have done the trick. Once you do a test of your own, I think you'll "get" it.