Switch to English Language Passer en langue française Omschakelen naar Nederlandse Taal Wechseln Sie zu deutschen Sprache Passa alla lingua italiana
Members: 70,700   Posts: 1,549,194   Online: 1199
      
Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 21 to 30 of 36
  1. #21
    Ian Grant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    West Midlands, UK, and Turkey
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    16,289
    Images
    148
    Using the Zone system or BTZ leads to greater rendition of information in the negative and is intended to prevent loss of detail in the shadow and burnt-out highlights. So just the opposite to your question.

    Ian

  2. #22

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Shooter
    Large Format
    Posts
    1,646
    Ian, if film can capture up to 15 zones of information ( as Bruce Barnbaum states), then BTZS reduces that range so that the negative more closely matches the ES of the paper. Negative range reduction I would think would also have a corresponding loss of information. Am I missing something? Thanks for your help on this issue that has always puzzled me.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

  3. #23
    Ian Grant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    West Midlands, UK, and Turkey
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    16,289
    Images
    148
    The Zone System or BTZ are both used to increase the range of tones that a film can hold under contrasty situations, the decrease is in the overall negative contrast and usually film speed with increased exposure to ensure retention of shadow detail.

    The converse is in very flat lighting were you might want to expand the range of tones by increasing the contrast and thats when you expand the range of tones in a negative & subsequent prints.

    The degree of expansion/contraction that you use needs to be tempered by experience, as you may not want to lose mood in a lighting situation. An example of this is shooting in fog, I never increase contrast at neg stage or printing as that loses the atmosphere.



    Ian
    Last edited by Ian Grant; 05-12-2010 at 06:41 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: add the converse l& ow contrast image

  4. #24

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Shooter
    Large Format
    Posts
    1,646
    Ian, I can understand negative expansion when in low contrast situations; but still don't understand the need for neg contraction. With older films one might be approaching the shoulder and need to avoid blown out highlights. Contraction would spread out the zones and avoid losing highlight information. But with newer films such as FP-4 and especially new T-max 400 they are relatively striaght-line for a very long exposure range - maybe up to 10-12 zones. If you have a scene with let's say 7 zone range and am using the newer film, why (other than ease of printing) would you contract the DR of the negative? Instead, I normally expose based on the shadow reading and the highlights fall where they may (within reason). Obviously, I'm still trying to understand the need for the BTZS system, which may be my shortcoming.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

  5. #25

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Montreal, Canada
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    4,775
    It is perhaps easier to understand zone system expansion/contraction if you think about the printing procedure. It is true modern films can record separations well above zone X, making contrast reduction at the negative stage somewhat less critical than with earlier films. However just because the detail is in the negative doesn't mean your printing paper can hold that long a scale without substantial print manipulation. Black is black, and white is white. So if for example you have a full scale negative with useful detail from zone III to zone XII, in addition to printing on low contrast paper you will have to do alot of burning in to bring detail from those high zones into the brightest areas of the print (or do alot of dodging to maintain detail in the dark areas).
    The idea behind the zone system (contraction in this particular case), is to try and match the negative scale to the print scale as best as you can to minimize the printing acrobatics you will have to go through to achieve the print you visualize in your mind. So if we go back to my example here, if you visualize the zone XII areas as pure white in the print, but detail everywhere below that, "ideally" you would adjust your negative development to bring that zone XII down to say zone IX. In this way you are compressing the scale of the negative so that range of values fits better into the paper scale. What you have to be concious of in cases like this where the compression is quite substantial, is the fact you will be reducing the contrast between the various zones ("local contrast") as well. This has to be the case since you are compressing 12 zones into 9. So in addition to controlling the highest values, you also have to think about the overall effect on the entire visualization.

    Michael

  6. #26

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Shooter
    Large Format
    Posts
    1,646
    It comes down to how much effort are you willing to expend to get the print that the negative has to convey. A negative that matches the exposure scale of the paper/process you choose will make life in the darkroom alot easier. But even Ansel Adams was willing to go to herculean efforts to get the print he wanted. Negatives are a challenge. I may have to set aside many since they require skills I currently do not have or a process that I haven't mastered. But that's part of what many enjoy about traditional darkroom work - the challenge.
    Its also a matter of how many of a negative/prints do you need. Brett Weston, for his portfolio series, may have chosen easier over better. His best may have been "a bitch" to print; and therefore were of limited quantity. And he, for one, certainly didn't follow the zone system. He was willing to have deep blacks and blown out highlights if it matched his vision.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

  7. #27
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Minnesota
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    14,299
    Images
    302
    I think there are two scenarios here, and I always use incident metering:
    1. The light is very bright and flat. It's sometimes difficult to 'read' the light but it comes with practice. I meter from the scene towards the camera lens, and then I judge the light. If it's super flat lighting I will underexpose the film by up to a stop, and then over-develop the film. This takes your shadow values lower, stretches out the mid-tones for good local contrast, and with the right agitation I can get enough zing to the highlights that it makes for an interesting print.
    2. The light is very bright but there is also lots of contrast. Here I meter the same way, and depending on how much shadow detail I want I overexpose by up to two stops. I then process the negatives for a shorter amount of time and I also slow down agitation.

    In both these scenarios I focus very hard on what makes the picture interesting, and I try to bring that forward in the scene. If it's a landscape I want to know what part of the landscape is most interesting and then emphasize the hell out of it. If it's a portrait, skin tones and eyes are obviously important, so we try to bring that out. The goal, for me, is always to have to manipulate as little as possible in the negative when I print.
    This is also why I mainly use just one film and one developer (maybe two developers down the road when I graduate from the first one) - because it means less surprises in how the film behaves and responds to exposure and developing treatments.

    I can say with confidence that I have learned how to find what's interesting about a scene - to me anyway - and that I know by instinct how I need to shoot it and subsequently process it in order to get the print that I want.

    I don't think there's a secret recipe for this that covers all aspects of a photograph, but I do know that for the most part there's a certain range of tones I want to stand out, and usually those are in the high mid-tones to highlights. However I get there is a bit different each time, but the focal point is what makes it stand out.
    And, you can make the focal point of the picture stand out either by emphasizing it, or suppressing the 'stuff' around it, or a combination of both. So we're dancing with light, moving the mid-tones up and down the tonal scale like a yo-yo. Sometimes that means less shadow detail, sometimes that means purposely blocked up highlights. Whatever it takes to bring the picture forward. Show what the picture is about.

    I should add that I'm not successful every time. Of course I'm not. But it gets me closer with every roll that I experience.

    I don't know if that helps or not.

    - Thomas
    "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

  8. #28

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Shooter
    35mm
    Posts
    188
    The zone system is very useful and allows you to "place" tones in the negative. But what it leads you to ignore is that when you expand or contract development which alters the overall scale, it also alters the relative contrast between elements within the subject. That very often renders the result in a very different way than you perceived it.
    When we look at a subject our eyes are continuosly adjusting exposure subconciously so that shadow detail or highlight detail can be seen. But if you look at the subject highlight detail and try and see whats in the shadow detail from your peripheral vision you will see black or if you look at the shadow detail you will see blown highlight detail in your peripheral vision. A long contrast subject which fits the paper does NOT show what your eye sees when looking at a single point in the subject. So expanding or contracting the development fundamentally alters what you were looking at.
    The question is, what is most important in the subject? I'd suggest that exposing for a highlight and letting the shadows go black will produce a far better result than exposing for a shadow and letting the highlights get blown. This is because the "main subject of interest" is invaribaly mid tone to highlight tone and not shadow tone. Sure shadow tones help but not at the expense of the main subject being rendered incorrectly which expansion or contraction will cause.
    Take a leaf out of the colour film photographers book and go shooting when the subject contrast range fits the film and paper and don't beleive that B+W can be bent to fit any subject contrast unless you want to spend your time trying to do printing somersaults in the darkroom.

    Why do you suppose dawn and dusk are favoured times of day for professional photographers? The term "catch the light" is about optimum subject contrast for your materials and not only because of colour. Even AA spent long periods of time waiting for the light and he was the master of bending contrast to fit the paper.

  9. #29
    BetterSense's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    North Carolina
    Shooter
    35mm
    Posts
    2,872
    I can understand negative expansion when in low contrast situations; but still don't understand the need for neg contraction.
    I don't understand how you come to this opinion, when I have found just the opposite. Living in TX sunshine I will often pull development to save highlights. But increasing development in low-contrast situations (rainy days etc) makes no sense. This is because it is much more efficient to increase contrast with the printing paper. Highlights and shadows are always the slaves of the midtones. In the darkroom, you are more or less compelled to adjust contrast in the printing stage until midtone local contrast looks pleasant. Then, highlights and shadows are shoved onto the paper as necessary with D&B. In gloomy, low-contrast lighting situations, developing more will never separate local tonal values sufficiently and you will still have to increase paper contrast for midtone separation, the result being that you only end up spilling the absolute highlights and shadows off of the paper. In very flat lighting, I process normally or even pull development. Then when I print at grade 4 or whatever to get sufficient local tonal separation my shadows and highlights, such as there may be, will not need excessive dodging or burning.


    The idea behind the zone system (contraction in this particular case), is to try and match the negative scale to the print scale as best as you can to minimize the printing acrobatics you will have to go through to achieve the print you visualize in your mind.
    Not necessarily. The Zone system the way Adams describes it in his book is clearly not intended to make printing easier; it is designed to leave as many printing options open as possible, which may make printing rather hard indeed. Adams himself states that he doesn't intend that a 'Zone systemized' negative will print easily, only that it will contain the maximum amount of information possible.

    I prefer to make negatives that plop themselves undramatically onto the paper without fuss, which requires abandonment of some ZS principles. Adams would have loved TMAX with it's long straight line, but I find burning in highlights to be way too much work and use pulled Neopan 400. If I ever want the highlight information back, I'm screwed, but I don't really care.
    f/22 and be there.

  10. #30
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Minnesota
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    14,299
    Images
    302
    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    In the darkroom, you are more or less compelled to adjust contrast in the printing stage until midtone local contrast looks pleasant. Then, highlights and shadows are shoved onto the paper as necessary with D&B. In gloomy, low-contrast lighting situations, developing more will never separate local tonal values sufficiently and you will still have to increase paper contrast for midtone separation, the result being that you only end up spilling the absolute highlights and shadows off of the paper.
    If your method works for you - great. But I usually nail my negatives to such a degree that I don't need to adjust contrast in printing very much at all. I maybe fine tune with a half degree or so.

    I think your argument that local contrast in mid-tones can't be separated enough by expanding development is false, because I'm able to do it. For the most part. (I screw up sometimes).

    There is so much to learn about photography, and one thing you will want to acknowledge is that there are more ways than one to get to the results of a fine print. Just because you can't do something a certain way, doesn't mean that it can't be done, or that it wouldn't in fact be the preferred method by someone else.

    Not saying that you're wrong. It's just that it's not the only way, and your method is one I would personally not choose, same as you don't choose mine.
    "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

Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast


 

APUG PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Contact Us  |  Support Us!  |  Advertise  |  Site Terms  |  Archive  —   Search  |  Mobile Device Access  |  RSS  |  Facebook  |  Linkedin