I use Fred Picker's little red notebook in my Hassey bag and one of Jason Brunner's LF books with my Zone VI 4x5. Seems backwards?
absolutely------it's where some of your best learning will take place, if you find you made a particularly good negative and print, it's helpful to look back on some notes to see what contributed to it----the same if you make a particularly poor negative. Like JBrunner mentioned, LF is especially suited for it because a single sheet of film can be exposed and developed to a very particular set of circumstances that apply to just that sheet. For roll film, unless the roll is exposed to pretty much the same conditions of contrast, your development of it may ideally suit only a few frames, but less extreme differences can be compensated for in the printing phase, however to arrive at a satisfactory print.
If you are just starting out and learning the process, take lots of notes------but if I were to suggest the one thing you should take particular note of, it would be the apparent subject contrast that you subjected the roll to----and with film development, take note of your time and temp, always stay consistent with your temp, but you will learn that alteration of dev time adds another dimention of control to the final outcome. Generally speaking, increased development for low subject contrast and reduced development for high subject contrast. Keep note of these things.
Usually not in my camera bag. I need it all the time, whether a bag is with me or not. Sometimes I don't even carry a bag. If it fits in my coat pocket, that's where it is. If not, I carry it.
I almost always have a sketchbook with me. Right now, I like those cult books, you know, Moleskine. I buy the ones that have unlined pages that are much thicker than a "notebook" would have. Light paper doesn't hold up. Sometimes I erase as much as I mark.
I have probably a dozen or so such sketchbooks of various sizes and type from past years. Some of them have blank pages left. Some of them overlap because I might need one, grab one that is lying around, and use it. I try to remember to date the entries. I'm rubbing some acrylic color onto the covers now to provide some modicum of identification.
If I have any ideas (once in a while, I actually have one) I will write it down. Observations. Or I will draw, which can take a variety of forms. Regarding stuff like f/stops, shutter speeds, zoney baloney, etc. I will record it if there is a reason to do so. Usually there isn't, so very little of that gets in. For awhile, I would draw what I THOUGHT my weird pinhole camera would see. Every once in awhile I will go through one of the books. It is invariably amazing.
My avatar, "Lizard Man at the Crossroads" was scanned from one of the books.
One could ask how what I put in these books differs from what would go into a stack of loose papers on my desk. Good question!
Last edited by bowzart; 01-26-2009 at 10:30 PM. Click to view previous post history.
For years I've carried a notebook or post it notes, and used them less than half the time - either I was in too much of a hurry, or it was too cold, or I couldn't find a pencil, or some other reason kept me from keeping accurate notes. I recently got a small digital recorder and it's far more convenient and much faster to just press a button and talk into it - it's a big improvement for me.
My photo teacher started us out taking field notes on every F stop and shutter speed. Since we were shooting B+W negative film with something like 10 stops of dynamic range the usefullness of such notes was limited. I think something else like EI for the roll and development time are more critical.
Once I start shooting more slide film I'll probably take notes that say something like the "metered LV" but more importantly how much I chose to deviate from the reading based on the scene in terms of stops. That would probably help more. Though these days with these zone system 3D matrix meters built into any 35mm camera there is less and less need. Maybe I might record especially long exposures to figure out reciprocity of various films. Of course the problem with buying whichever film happens to be the cheapest is that you always have a different film.
One problem I had was that I learned to shoot color on digital (blah) which made me mad because I'd start losing color saturation around zone IV, which would make me underexpose until I saw the correct colors on the LCD and add a curve to the images in "photoshop". This procedure does not work with color slide film. I had such a bad habit of instinctively pulling the exposure back on every shot that all my slides come out uniformly underexposed.
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What REALLY is useful is what decisions you make and why you make them.
Originally Posted by tiberiustibz
When I do write photo stuff in my book, it usually is about conditions, what those conditions call for, what I might need when I come back to shoot, etc. The recording of f/stops and shutter speed that many photographers so often perform without the rationale is most often, seems to me, a more or less meaningless exercise.
Additional to a small refillable notebook, I've kept a 2-hole journal in my pack since 1996 and virtually every exposure is accounted for.
The journal (my "Little Red Book") contains information on location, position/triangulation, route info, exposure, camera body, lens, filter, film and any extra observations about light and the environment, the latter recorded separately.
Last Sunday night I photographed star trails and diligently recorded the descent of Venus, shortly after observing a quite striking flash as a star fell from the glittering chandelier in the heavens to the silent depths far below. Exposure wise, I recorded: 1hr, 15min Bulb exposure on Provia 100 @EI125 with additional –0.3 (to add contrast for the stars given the light from Venus), TS-E 24 with +8mm shift and +4° pan tilt aimed 45° up at the Small & Large Megallanic Clouds, skylight 1B, position markers at 20m intervals (flashing red LEDs so I can locate the camera through trees: I stayed on a friend's 69acre property and it was a long walk from the cottage to the location), 3 snakes ("identity unknown"), 6 curious kangaroos (these big guys pose a hazard to an unattended camera by knocking into it on their night rambles, so I attach an iPOD to a tripod leg belting out Puccini's Nessun Dorma to shoo them away), a dry, 24°c temp at 10.40pm, light ESE wind and a starry, starry night! It was gorgegous, like so many hundreds before it (and to come...).
Much of this information is separate from exposure info (that is, there are 2 notebooks with links to exposures). I don't keep a record of exposures made with digi camera.
So, a notebook in your bag can serve as a repository for memories that may have faded but could well be nurtured back with great nostalgia in years / decades to come.
Last edited by Poisson Du Jour; 01-26-2009 at 08:08 PM. Click to view previous post history.
“The photographer must determine how he wants the finished print to look before he exposes the negative.
Before releasing the shutter, he must seek 'the flame of recognition,' a sense that the picture would reveal
the greater mystery of things...more clearly than the eyes see." ~Edward Weston, 1922.
Rite-in-the-Rain, or Kimdura.
Originally Posted by JBrunner
If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284
I meant to today while I was out, and forgot to grab a notebook. So I ended up texting myself some quick notes on exposure and meter readings. Worked pretty well! Even if I didn't have service, I think the phone would have saved my texts for later, so I wasn't going to lose the information.
I'm attempting to relearn photography. I have a notebook and record camera, lense, film, iso setting, shutter spd, apature and then spec notes such as +1/open shaded areas, etc.