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  1. #21
    dr bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomassauerwein
    I know I expose for the highlight and let everything else go. Then if theirs no highlight then expose for the grey . Once this is decided then quality of light, some light requires over exposure some normal exp.
    This got me thinking. I sort of do likewise: I usually meter the highlights and determine upon which "zone" they should be "placed". But I always check the shadow density and decide if I can live with losses that may occurr. In scenes having a narrow luminance range, which happens often here on the East Coast, I go for middle gray and then development becomes the more important factor.
    I love the smell of fixer in the morning. It smells like...creativity!
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  2. #22

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    Since I often must push process to get the photos I want to capture (theatre, other stuff in very dim light), I've already compromised the exposure factor. So in those situations I'd have to say that processing is the most important factor. I've conducted a lot of experiments to find out what works best for me.

    For the other 50% of my photography it's an even split between proper exposure and normal development.
    Three degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon.

  3. #23
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I'd say both are equally important, but with the caveat that some films will let you get away with more "error" than others. Regarding B&W neg film-- Underexpose, and you lose the shadow detail, so there's less to work with in making an expressive print. Underdevelop a bit, and you might be able to expand the contrast at the printing stage by printing at a higher paper grade, but underdevelop too much, and the tonal transitions won't be as smooth. Overexpose or overdevelop and you're okay if you don't hit the shoulder of the film, but if you do, then the highlights are lost or you might need to use contrast masking or complicated dodging and burning or physical retouching to get an expressive print.

    Having messed up both often enough (though I'm always getting more consistent), I can't see one as more important than the other. If I had to pick one worst condition, I guess I would say underexposure, because it's the least correctable.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  4. #24
    Ole
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrPhil
    <snip>
    However, if we mess up the development slightly, which produces a change in density range. Then we can print on a softer or harder grade of paper. From this viewpoint it seems that exposure is most important (provided your using VC paper). If you’re an AZO user, then your negs had better be good!

    Thus, I’m inclined to lean towards Les’ conclusion. Exposure is slightly more important since we can compensate for slight changes in development with VC paper.
    But a change in development doesn't only affect the density range, but also the "structure" (micro- and mesocontrast). So even with VC paper, two negatives with the same exposure, differently developed, will give different prints.

    Yes, exposure is important. But with the latitude towards overexposure of nearly all current B&W films, I still hold that development has the greatest influence on the print.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
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  5. #25

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    I would have to fall into the camp that considers exposure the most important. As already stated, if the information is not there you can't print it. A poorly exposed negative means more work in the darkroom and probably ends in a waste of chemistry and paper.

    From a creative stand point the exposure of the negative is still the more important. And leading up to that is metering of the scene and understanding the materials being used. You may see a scene and decide you want to make sure the highlights are just right, but that depends on how well you meter and make the exposure decisions. If the exposure is off, the print will not be optimal no matter what kind of expansion, contraction in development or printing techniques are used. That is not to say a great print can not be achieved, but exposure is going to go along ways to determine how much work is involved.

    David Vestal has always held that if the negative is poorly exposed, you just as well throw it away, because a good print usually comes from a negative that initially prints easy requiring minimal manipulation during the printing stage. I like that approach.

  6. #26

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    My best prints are those that come from negatives that I find are easy to print. I also have very little patience with difficult negatives, prefering instead (if possible) to reshoot the scene.
    Francesco

  7. #27
    lee
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    The late Fred Picker of Zone VI fame advocated looking at the scene and then deciding where zone VIII (last tone in the highlight) should be and then basing the exposure based on that reading. It works. And sometimes given a particularly difficult metering scenario, I will try this on at least one neg. Develop it normally and sometimes I will use that exposure. I agree with Francesco that a very good neg will yield a very good print. I, too, will likely reshoot a shot if possible.

    Good darkroom technique is important also. Like Les, I am not a fan of film development but I feel it is important to the creation of the fine print. That is my objective (the final print) and it is foolish to jeopardize that goal.

    lee\c

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