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Thread: Paper Zones

  1. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rafal Lukawiecki View Post
    I agree with you, Bill. Lately, I have started a more conscious consideration of dodging and burning, at the stage of negative exposure, and I try to optimise negative development to make its printing easier. What I mean by that is that I may indicate N+1 etc even if I have enough overall contrast (so otherwise N), but if I would like to add local contrast, which could be a bit harder to increase through local print manipulation. Having very recently discovered selective masking (for dodging and burning) and masked flashing, I am happier to be "accessing" parts of the straight-line of the curve which were previously too hard to burn or dodge, and therefore necessitated overall, global contrast adjustments. So, in some way, I would expect to need ZS less, but, on the other hand, it helps me decide what I want to labour on during printing.
    The more printing skill and tools one develops, the less mechanical/formulaic one has to be when making exposure and development decisions with the ZS (or with any system). The negative becomes more about recording the information needed to support the visualization, and less about simply increasing or decreasing CI to fit the paper. Particularly when dealing with high contrast scenes, a "naive" approach to the ZS (eg: highlights on Zone XII = N-4) can sometimes lead to more loss than gain. Printing is power!! Or something like that anyway.

  2. #72
    Stephen Benskin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndreasT View Post
    To quote PE “Well, to continue, imagine that you are a news photographer following a breaking event. No time for the zone system.”
    I don't think that was a fair comparison to begin with. Fine art and photojournalism use photography for different purposes. A photojournalist isn't going to reject a negative of the burning Hindenburg just because the depth of field is too shallow.

    I find it interesting that throughout this discussion, with all of the contrasting opinions, we all seem to agree upon the importance of understanding the materials we use.

    Finally, I don't need to know anything technical to make a photograph, but I choose to know.
    Last edited by Stephen Benskin; 05-01-2013 at 08:51 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #73
    Stephen Benskin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    But few people want to study sensitometry, so the ZS provides an alternative - a reasonable, simplified framework for exposure and development of the negative to support visualization. It isn't meant to be more than that.
    I agree.
    Last edited by Stephen Benskin; 05-01-2013 at 11:37 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #74
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    Some of the finest "art" that I have seen using photography came via photojournalism.

    I don't think that I need say more.

    PE

  5. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    ... But few people want to study sensitometry, so the ZS provides an alternative - a reasonable, simplified framework for exposure and development of the negative to support visualization. It isn't meant to be more than that.
    ... and, for those of us who do not have the time or inclination to devote to sensitometry, the ZS gets us in the ballpark. That's all that's really needed, and I think it is somehow better than overexpose and dodge and burn... I agree with Stephen that many ZS practitioners have a false sense of precision. There are those of us, however, that strive for precision and realize we're lucky if we get within a stop or so. That's not a reason to abandon the system or to stop striving, however,

    Best,

    Doremus

  6. #76
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    The most important thing that the zone system brings to the table, IMO, is a simple way to talk about tieing real subject matter in a scene to specific tones/placements in a print.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  7. #77
    AndreasT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Benskin View Post
    I don't think that was a fair comparison to begin with. Fine art and photojournalism use photography for different purposes. A photojournalist isn't going to reject a negative of the burning Hindenburg just because the depth of field is too shallow.
    It is funny that you mention that. I enlarged a glass negative of a German photographer who actually photographed the exploding Hindenburg.

  8. #78
    Stephen Benskin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
    ... and, for those of us who do not have the time or inclination to devote to sensitometry, the ZS gets us in the ballpark. That's all that's really needed, and I think it is somehow better than overexpose and dodge and burn... I agree with Stephen that many ZS practitioners have a false sense of precision. There are those of us, however, that strive for precision and realize we're lucky if we get within a stop or so. That's not a reason to abandon the system or to stop striving, however,
    Nothing's perfect. So it's always a good idea to understand the strengths and limitations for any process or methodology. One of the inherent difficulties with photography is that it's not just psychophysical, like the perception of color. It includes creativity which isn't quantifiable and is often the exception to the rule.
    Last edited by Stephen Benskin; 05-02-2013 at 07:09 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #79
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    PE and Stephen,

    I wouldn't mind seeing a course co-ordinated between you two!

    Maybe I'm taking the things said on this site too personally. Or maybe I'm just sensitive to heretical comments about Zone System tradition because I want to teach an overview of the different approaches to the Zone System. If the whole idea is proved invalid, then I fear my book will be brief and won't sell many copies.

    I went back to the first post of this thread Stephen, and the thought occurred to me - I was being bull-headed about holding onto the Ansel/Archer Zones on the meter. So I couldn't see how you could implement your other ideas such as Munsell.

    But there is no reason Zones have to be evenly spaced on the light meter! Let go the "one stop" spacing on the meter and you can explore all your examples!

    Say for example, you wanted to explore the Munsell model. Tone Reproduction tracings could be used to work backwards to light meter readings that lead to Munsell spacing on the print.

    Then, exploring a scene with a light meter so calibrated, you could interpret the scene according to Munsell.

    Now.. back to choosing a typeface for the book. I'm thinking something transitional...

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