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  1. #21

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    P.S. The answer to this thread was very simple: If the white shutter ends up at the density that will produce the zone on which it was placed when printed "normally, then you are calibrated.

    In other words, if you aim at something with the intent to hit it, and then you hit it, your intent has been achieved. It is as simple as that.

    Now we have moved into arguing minutiae of diction and other things. From my POV, the argument is to prevent the system from being understood in a mishmoshed way.

    The way it is being described by Mr. Lambrecht is a combination of the tonal placement aspect of Adams' practice with another approach, which states that each separate combination of film and development time is looked at as a tool that captures the luminance range at the scene in a unique, non-linear, way. With this approach, the concepts of place and fall are different, and are dependent on the S curve chosen to capture the scene, not on a theoretical, perfect, linear exposure scale. That is fine and works perfectly (in fact, better, IMO), but it is not an accurate description of the zone system as explained by Mr. Adams, which is the argument that Mr. Lambrecht is making. With Adams' zone system, films are manipulated in the testing stages such that they are as linear as possible in the zone I - VIII range, and then used. With the other method, films are not manipulated in the testing stage at all, but simply analyzed. I am not arguing that one is any better than the other (thought I do not think that manipulating, rather than analyzing, in the testing stage makes the most sense for most applications, nor do I think that the zone I - VIII range is the best range in which to shoot for linearity; I prefer the zone II - VIII range). I am just arguing that the two are being combined in Mr. Lambrecht's explanation of "fall".

    ...and yes, Q.G.. The problem is not the system itself so much as the unexplainable confusion that surrounds it. I don't get it, except to say that it just clicks with some people, and not with others. It works when (and because) it is simple, quick, and easy to employ. If it is not any of those things; if it does not "click"; if you do not "get it", then it is of no use to you. There are other ways to expose and develop your pictures that will work just fine, if not better. There is absolutely no shame in that. It is just one way of explaining and quantifying something that photographers have done since before Mr. Adams was even born. A tool is only useful to you if it is useful to you. You need to pick one that, as the most important element, makes perfect sense in your mind; that you fully understand and can employ quickly and accurately. I don't get the idea that the system must be learned and employed at all times by all photographers for them to be doing the "right thing".

    For purposes of this thread, I am answering the OP in regards to the Adams zone system, regardless of whether it is perfect or not. It is what the OP asked about, and what he is learning to employ at this point, so the more clear this particular take on it can be made, the better. Mushing it together with other outlooks on the system, while it will work perfectly in practice, will in fact make things less clear and harder for the OP at this stage IMO.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 08-01-2009 at 08:21 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
    I totally disagree. A placed tone is any tone that you decide to expose at the desired distance from middle grey (or at middle grey itself in some cases). The tones that "fall" are all other tones in relation to the placed tone on an exposure scale. They fall where they fall depending on their luminance relative to the placed tone. The term "fall" is independent of development, and relates to exposure only...
    2F/2F

    I agree! You place one tone, the others fall. So, if you meter for a shadow, you are placing it, and the highlights fall. I took objection to the earlier statement where it said: 'However, the OP is testing for a normal development time, in which case you do place a highlight.'. That is not correct IMHO.

    But I'm happy to end this with agreeing to disagree.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
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  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht View Post
    2F/2F

    I agree! You place one tone, the others fall. So, if you meter for a shadow, you are placing it, and the highlights fall. I took objection to the earlier statement where it said: 'However, the OP is testing for a normal development time, in which case you do place a highlight.'. That is not correct IMHO.

    But I'm happy to end this with agreeing to disagree.
    I would like to hear how you believe it is not correct in the Adams normal development method...because it is not incorrect at all.

    In the Adams method, to test for a normal development time, you do place something on a high tone (zone VIII specifically). Then you develop, and see if it ended up where you wanted it.

    There is a sentence from straight out of "The Negative" that should prove I am not b.s.ing. It is from the "Normal Development" section of the "Film Testing Procedures Appendix.

    "To test for normal development, set up the test card under uniform illumination as before. You must again be careful to control all test conditions, and use the same equipment and materials as in the first test. Read the luminance of the card, and determine the exposure to place the luminance on Zone V and then on Zone VIII, using the film speed established in the first test (Zone V is the exposure indicated by the meter, and Zone VIII is three stops, or 8x, more than the meter-indicated exposure)."

    (emphasis added)

    This is basic knowledge in using the zone system.

    This is exactly why people have trouble understanding it: people circulate incorrect and confusing information about it, and/or contradict correct and clarifying information about it.

    IMO, based on what Q.G. has said, people should read the book, figure it out them self, and refrain from asking another soul for guidance until they understand everything in that book. Too many people give out too much bad information on it to go around asking just anyone.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 08-01-2009 at 09:12 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

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  4. #24

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    2F, It was exactly that calibration for Zone VIII development that I was trying to do, and your explanation of what Adams wrote is consistent with my understanding. My confusion came from where to place the White door (VII or VIII)...now I know and understand that it is MY choice.

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  5. #25
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    The way I think about these things (subject to constant revision and refinement!) is this: there are zones and there are also transitions through zones. You have to consider both. Any you cannot consider both unless you mate exposure decisions to development decisions.

    If you consider absolute zone placement only and don't concern yourself with transitions, then it is possible to place your white object anywhere and then print it in a way that your white object is indeed white in your print.

    But!... (and this is the proverbial big but)... the quality of the transitions into and out of your white object will depend on where the zones fall on the tone curve of the developed film. E.g. if you place your zone 7/8 white object in the linear part of the tone curve then you run the risk of the highlight transitions being too fast. On the other hand, if you place your white object way off the edge of the curve then the neighboring highlights will develop to very similar density and then clump up and look posterized in the print. In either case, even if the object you want white is truly white, the neighboring transitions into that white object won't look good.

    I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks
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  6. #26
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    Honestly, I don't think it is simply 'expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights' is an accurate description because I can (and do) use it to give a scene a particular moodiness by, as 2F talked about, moving where the highlights fall. In that kind of situation, I don't expose for the shadows, I expose for where I want the highlights to fall, and I use the ZS to calculate what I want. Geez, even 'calculate' is too strong a word, perhaps 'shift exposure' might be better.
    Last edited by white.elephant; 08-01-2009 at 09:46 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: typo
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  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by white.elephant View Post
    Honestly, I don't think it is simply 'expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights' is an accurate description because I can (and do) use it to give a scene a particular moodiness by, as 2F talked about, moving where the highlights fall. In that kind of situation, I don't expose for the shadows, I expose for where I want the highlights to fall, and I use the ZS to calculate what I want. Geez, even 'calculate' is too strong a word, perhaps 'shift exposure' might be better.
    Indeed.
    It is a matter of 'giving it' a bit more, or less, as it is (was?) called.

    It isn't "'expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights", which is more about contrast control, getting everything on film that you want to have on film.
    And as such, it also doesn't even begin to be ZS.

    What you are asking is by how much you can overexpose a film without losing highlight detail, i.e the contrast range of a film.
    That depends on the film. Something you need to try.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
    I would like to hear how you believe it is not correct in the Adams normal development method...because it is not incorrect at all.

    In the Adams method, to test for a normal development time, you do place something on a high tone (zone VIII specifically). Then you develop, and see if it ended up where you wanted it.

    There is a sentence from straight out of "The Negative" that should prove I am not b.s.ing. It is from the "Normal Development" section of the "Film Testing Procedures Appendix.

    "To test for normal development, set up the test card under uniform illumination as before. You must again be careful to control all test conditions, and use the same equipment and materials as in the first test. Read the luminance of the card, and determine the exposure to place the luminance on Zone V and then on Zone VIII, using the film speed established in the first test (Zone V is the exposure indicated by the meter, and Zone VIII is three stops, or 8x, more than the meter-indicated exposure)."

    (emphasis added)

    This is basic knowledge in using the zone system.

    This is exactly why people have trouble understanding it: people circulate incorrect and confusing information about it, and/or contradict correct and clarifying information about it.

    IMO, based on what Q.G. has said, people should read the book, figure it out them self, and refrain from asking another soul for guidance until they understand everything in that book. Too many people give out too much bad information on it to go around asking just anyone.
    It seems that you have elected yourself as the judge over right and wrong.

    Ansel is talking about a verification test in that section. He recommends this test after regular film testing is completed and before the system is used. You are mixing Ansel's recommendations for testing, verification and usage of the Zone System. This makes it very confusing.

    The Zone System is very clear and utterly simple. Ansel describes the system in one 50-page chapter of his book 'The Negative'. To put his message into one sentence:

    'Place your shadows, check where the highlights fall, and correct this through exposure if you want them someplace else.'

    If you got something else out of his text and like to place highlights, be my guest. As long as it works for you, why not?
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by white.elephant View Post
    Honestly, I don't think it is simply 'expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights' is an accurate description because I can (and do) use it to give a scene a particular moodiness by, as 2F talked about, moving where the highlights fall. In that kind of situation, I don't expose for the shadows, I expose for where I want the highlights to fall, and I use the ZS to calculate what I want. Geez, even 'calculate' is too strong a word, perhaps 'shift exposure' might be better.
    'expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights'

    It is that simple, and has been true since Hurter and Driffield!

    Exposing for the highlights and working the rest out from there works too, but it turns the Zone System upside-down and makes it more cumbersome than necessary.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Q.G. View Post
    Indeed.
    It is a matter of 'giving it' a bit more, or less, as it is (was?) called.

    It isn't "'expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights", which is more about contrast control, getting everything on film that you want to have on film.
    And as such, it also doesn't even begin to be ZS.

    What you are asking is by how much you can overexpose a film without losing highlight detail, i.e the contrast range of a film.
    That depends on the film. Something you need to try.
    I don't think so. The Zone System is all about contrast control, and the 'usable' contrats range of film depends more on film development than on the film itself. You don't need to try that, you can accurately test for it.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

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