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  1. #1

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    I had a recent discussion with a friend about bracketing exposures. We both agree that some people can get it spot on every time with a good meter and familiarization with materials. But I find that bracketing seems to be inversely proportional to the cost of the format, at least for me. i will bracket with 35mm, especially if I am making test shots for a future return to the site with an LF camera. 4x5 I will usually make at least one more shot with one extra stop exposure, and for 8x10 I will also grit my teeth and shoot an extra shot.

    With 11x14 I almost never do unless it is something that I feel might make a good alternative process neg and will expose for that or I may make a duplicate exposure if I think I may want to use dyes or on the film masks.

    Of course, if it is something of once in a lifetime quality, I will make one extra shot of the one exposure I believe is correct.

    The funny thing is, I am almost always spot on with my first calculation and so I waste fim. Any suggestions on how I can improve my trust in my own abilities? And also, what are others attitudes towards bracketing exposures.

  2. #2
    lee
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    I feel for you Jim. I do the same thing. I have tried to limit this expensive compulsion but as of yet no joy. I rationalize it as helping my prevent industrial accidents in the darkroom.


    lee\c

  3. #3
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  4. #4

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    Learn to use the BTZS properly and you will never look back. When I used the zone system I had the same problem, I was never sure if my exposures were good and was forced to make at least two shots. Since I started with the BTZS every single negs has been on the spot unless I made a mistake. I gotta tell you I could kick myself for not learning it sooner, all that film I wasted.

  5. #5
    lee
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    Jorge,
    If I don't make a mistake my exposures are dead on using the zone system. I don't think I need to start over now.


    lee\c

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by lee
    Jorge,
    If I don't make a mistake my exposures are dead on using the zone system. I don't think I need to start over now.


    lee\c
    Well, my response was for Jim. If you are happy the way you are doing it all the more power to you.

  7. #7
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    I sometimes bracket color slide film, since there can be a range of about 2/3 stop where the exposures might all be "correct" but the emphasis or emotional quality will be different.

    I don't bracket B&W, but if there is a scene where I'm a bit unsure as to how much contrast will really look good at the printing stage, I'll expose a second sheet and keep it in reserve, though in the end the first development time is usually right, and the reserve sheet serves as a safety sheet in case the first one gets scratched or some distracting element walks into one of the versions.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  8. #8

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    With 35mm I bracket, but with large format I take my time I meter the scene from the highest value to the lowest value and set my exposure depending on the contrast range of the scene and the shadow detail I want. I then mark the holder/packet for N-, normal and very rarely N+ devlopment. Success is good enough for me not to change my ways.

    I did change my developing strategy when I migrated to a Jobo CPE2+

    - Mike

  9. #9

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    a lot of other things can botch a negative besides exposure. since I'm an imprecise weekend photographer, I usually take 2 identical and slightly overexposed (sheets in B&W. based on a shadow spotmeter reading, and use the second sheet to bracket development in case I get it wrong the first time.
    color transparencies are entirely different. there I'll rate an EI 100 speed film at 80 and take an straight incident reading or spotmeter the brightest value in the scene and place that at "zone" 7.5. As David said, with transparencies, the nuanced difference with a small bracket arount correct exposure is usually important.

  10. #10

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    Yes, I think in the next year I am going to explore BTZS. As I work with the larger formats I want to be more precise about tailoring negatives for alternative processes and contact printing.

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