Ive been printing for over 20 years and I'm still conflicted about the Zone system and shifting zones through development. I started printing during the 80s when multi-grade paper was pretty good. I worked for an old school photographer years ago that was using graded paper only. His philosophy was that MG paper was for photographers that didn't have their craft down. He told me that I always should "build" a negative for grade 2 paper. Sometimes when I shoot and process with a standardized time, I get negs that are so flat that I have to bump up the contrast to grades 3 or 4 to get the contrast I wanted. I heard of some photographers just use a standard percentage increase or decrease in processing time depending on how flat or contrasty the scene one is shooting. I like MG paper because I can have half grade increments when I print, where most graded paper are full grades. Another advantage is MG paper is being able to using many grades in a print. Reading Andrew Sanderson is an eye opener. http://www.thewebdarkroom.com/?p=479 I have great respect for the masters and their graded paper prints, but maybe don't be so tied to the Zone System? Everybody's thoughts are appreciated.
The proper definitions of placement and fall are important. But the idea that shadows are the only thing that one may place in all cases is just wrong. You can place a metered subject on any zone, and let all the other tones fall around it. In practice it is usually lower tones that are placed, but not 100 percent of the time.[/QUOTE]
That was my statement regarding "place" and 'fall" but somehow attributed to Steinberger in your post #13.........anyway, I don't disagree with you. In my own work in keeping with the ZS, I "place" shadows, so it was the example I used.
I cannot fully agree with that. If you want to have a real black in your image you have to use the minimum time for maximum black for the print. Doing so you have a deep or "black" black in every image.
Originally Posted by brian steinberger
Increasing the contrast you get more visible details in the shadows, that is true. And, of course, the muddy white come out more lucide.
The Anchell quote was based on a printing technique of first finding the correct exposure for the highlights of the prints. If, then, the blacks are not "black enough," contrast should be increased by changing paper grade (or developer manipulations, etc.). I use this approach also, but with graded papers. This is the printing counterpart of "expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights." It is reversed for printing: "expose for the highlights (the least dense areas of the print, just like the shadows are the least dense areas of a negative) and adjust contrast for the shadows (the most dense areas of the print, like the highlights are the most dense areas of a negative).
If you key on mid-tones when printing and then adjust contrast to get the snap you want in a print, then the Anchell statement doesn't apply. There is more than one way to skin a cat.
I think it depends on how you approach printing. I was taught to expose my photo paper for the highlights, and to adjust contrast from there. It sounds as if you do the exact opposite.
Originally Posted by CPorter
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So far, posts 13, 23, and 25 are "Reply With Quote", but the quote in the post is not accurately crediting the person who said it. What's up with that?
Pegging the mid-tones is exactly how I shoot and print because that's where the most important parts of my shots fall. For me the tones surrounding the main subject are simply supporting characters and fully expendable to get the main subject right.
Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder
This is driven simply by my choice of style and subject, it is fully personal in nature and took a lot of work to figure that out for myself. Chasing Ansel's ghost taught me a lot but in the end I apply my tools much differently that he applied his.
Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
I am better able to judge dodging and burning times when my negative is suited to Grade 2.
I don't believe it is true, but I use the working assumption 1/3 "f/stop" time causes the least noticeable tone change on final print.
By definition, the "f/stop" time to create least noticeable tone change varies with paper Grade.
So at Grade 4, I might have to assume 1/6 "f/stop" would be least noticeable. This means instead of dodging 6 seconds, I would have to dodge 3 seconds (if I thought something should be "a little" lighter). Tolerances are tighter at higher grades.
I prefer working with the more relaxed tolerances that Grade 2 permits.
For me it is harder to control tone on higher grades of paper.
Yes, I work the other way. But the last step ist fine tunig for the highlights because they are mor improtant for the image.
Originally Posted by piu58
My method has (for me) at least one advantage: By changing the filtering the minimum time for maximum black changes slowly. Another rule: To get the highligts 1/3 a stop brighter use 15% more magenta. This is handy if you use test strips which a 1/3 a stop apart.
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...