For almost all sunlit scenes, I place shadows on Zone III and make sure development takes the highlights to Zone VIII (mostly N-1). This will give me a flat negative, but it's easy to print the shadows down to Zone II if needed.
Originally Posted by brian steinberger
You're going to get a lot of subjective answers, so here's mine.
There are development methods / techniques to control ANY lighting / contrast scenario.
That said, why than do the the very best pros always make photographs, color or black and white during early or late light?
The quality of light will always be the determining factor in the success of a photograph. Traditional film responds best to a less harsh light and lower color temperature than light found when the sun is above the horizon.
I've photographed the natural environment for nearly 30 years, on the rare occasions when I make photographs when the sun is out I always say to myself, "It would be better in soft light".
Invariably, I find I almost never print the negatives that I do occasionally make durning harsher lighting conditions.
My 2 cents
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.
That is just a different way of saying the same thing. Trying to make a negative that more closely matches your desired print scale is the same as making a negative that gives you more options. It will take a little less work to get an "informative" (as Adams would call it) print, and that in turn means you have more flexibility to achieve your visualization. It doesn't mean you're going to make straight prints. It just means hard work might get you closer to your goal (or maybe a few less hoops to jump through to get there).
I think you miss the point. If the subject has 11 stops and you are only going to get 7 or possibly 8 stops on the paper, then it is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. It won't fit. The only way to make it fit is too shave the corners off so you have a round peg to fit in the round hole. The point being that what you end up with can't possibly be the same as what you saw. It's no longer the same.
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
Sure you can make a good print but it can't have the same dynamic range as the subject did. You may be able to give the impression of great brightness range if you are a good enough printer but you can't replicate it since the paper is incapable of that. So it comes down to printing skill because a straight print will never do it.
Exactly, so what is the printing skill required to give the impression of brightness that was in the original scene?
Originally Posted by tlitody
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You are of course limited to the luminance range of the paper, which is typically less than 200:1. The subject luminance range on a sunny day can be a few times that. You can still create the illusion of a bright sunny day by considering a few points:
Originally Posted by brian steinberger
(De)emphasize important Print Features
Use dodging and burning to emphasize and de-emphasize print features. This improves local contrast and guides the viewers eye.
Create Brilliant Highlights
Specular highlights have no density and are reproduced as pure paper-white, adding brilliance. Diffuse highlights are bright and have a delicate gradation with clear tonal separation, without looking dull or dirty.
Optimize Midtone Contrast
There is good separation, due to high local contrast, throughout the midtones, clearly separating them from highlights and shadows.
Protect Detailed Shadows
Shadow tones are subtle in contrast and detail, but without getting too dark under the intended lighting conditions. The image includes small areas of deepest paper-black without visible detail, providing a tonal foundation.
Select the Right Mount
Brilliant white mounts compete with and degrade the highlights of the print. Chose an off-white or light gray mount for print highlights to get the 'upper hand'. Stay away from black mounts as they only degrade the shadows.