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  1. #1
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    The Test Strip - a quick quote from Lootens

    When I think about writing about camera or darkroom techniques, I wonder if there is any need to write anything at all.

    Sometimes it's already been written as concisely and clearly as can possibly be expressed.

    Here is an example that struck me this morning...

    THE TEST STRIP

    A test strip is one of the simplest things in photography and yet it is one of the most scientific. As a matter of fact, despite all of the advances in determining exposures and correct printing papers for our conditions, this old-fashioned method of determining what is right for our needs has never been surpassed.

  2. #2
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Amen.

    “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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    When I think about writing about camera or darkroom techniques, I wonder if there is any need to write anything at all.

    Sometimes it's already been written as concisely and clearly as can possibly be expressed.

    Here is an example that struck me this morning...

    THE TEST STRIP

    A test strip is one of the simplest things in photography and yet it is one of the most scientific. As a matter of fact, despite all of the advances in determining exposures and correct printing papers for our conditions, this old-fashioned method of determining what is right for our needs has never been surpassed.
    it would be more popular if it was electronic,needed batteries,came in a hard-to-open-plastic case and costs lots of money.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

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    cliveh's Avatar
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    The reason a test strip is so valuable is because it is something you judge by eye and not a graph or mathematical computation. When I make a print I try to use a long narrow test strip with zero filtration on the enlarger, to cover a highlight, midtone and shadow. I can usually make a final print next, or in some situations within one or two more test strips.

    “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

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    Quote Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht View Post
    it would be more popular if it was electronic,needed batteries,came in a hard-to-open-plastic case and costs lots of money.

    And amen to that too. No doubt about it.

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    Test strips are very useful IF they are done correctly. Unfortunately most people use an arithmetic progression of exposures which is not very useful. This was discussed in a previous thread.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Gerald C Koch,

    You raise an important point about test strips, and Lootens emphasized that point as well.

    Lootens pre-dated Gene Nocon, who I give credit for coming up with the expression "f/stop time" as applied to test strips. And in modern times we have carried that idea to extremes of precision (1/15th of an f/stop for example).

    But Lootens knew of the idea. He wrote: "Another thing I want to stress is my insistence on the 5, 10, 20, 40, 80 second method of making a test strip." Lootens was a Pictorialist, and his test strip series reveal possibilities, including making a landscape "more dramatic by printing it darker than it originally appeared."

    The next time I print, I plan to use Looten's series instead of my usual third of an f/stop series. I think it will open up some possibilities...

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    When I think about writing about camera or darkroom techniques, I wonder if there is any need to write anything at all.

    Sometimes it's already been written as concisely and clearly as can possibly be expressed.
    Yes, I came to a similar conclusion (or realization) quite a few years ago. But I still write anyway.

    I like to think I'm pretty knowledgeable in certain aspects, as my entire adult working life has been in photography (the greater part being technical work with a high-volume studio/finishing chain). Yet almost anything I might write about has been done better, I'm sure, at some point in time. Some of it is more lucid than mine, some is more complete, and a great deal is more advanced.

    With respect to my writing, the saving grace is that many people either don't have, or don't know where to look for, the pertinent literature. Or they don't know WHAT to look for. So I think my main usefulness is being able to prod them along, perhaps pointing out aspects that they haven't yet seen.

    I'm a long-time fan of the books by auto-racing engineer Carroll Smith (I wish I could be as lucid as he). He mentioned a side benefit of writing, in that it has helped to clarify his thinking. I find the same thing. Sometimes, when writing about things that I understand well, I find loose ends that must be resolved (I can no longer overlook them when I write it down). Occasionally I find that I have "understood" wrongly for thirty years or so. I like finding such things, since it means that new opportunities for learning have opened up; a mental roadblock has been removed.

    Sorry, no comments about test strips, except to keep in mind that they are mainly an economic measure. (If they weren't, you'd make full-size test prints, right?)

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    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bill View Post
    With respect to my writing, the saving grace is that many people either don't have, or don't know where to look for, the pertinent literature. Or they don't know WHAT to look for. So I think my main usefulness is being able to prod them along, perhaps pointing out aspects that they haven't yet seen.
    I remember walking the halls of a city library and seeing row upon row of photography advice and technique books. I'd enjoy sitting in the same room today, but my local library has maybe five photography books I might be interested in reading. So I know there was once a vast amount written.

    One great thing about APUG is that when someone asks a question that might be contained in one of those volumes, rather than say "go find it in that book"... We have the opportunity to tell what we think the answer might be. It's great fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    Gerald C Koch,

    You raise an important point about test strips, and Lootens emphasized that point as well.

    Lootens pre-dated Gene Nocon, who I give credit for coming up with the expression "f/stop time" as applied to test strips.
    I think Lootens is underappreciated.

    Jerry
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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