When I did commercial work shooting 4x5 chrome film, I made notes on exposure. It's handy for pushing or pulling film. I rarely record my exposure. When I shoot B&W sheet film, I sometime make notations on how to process the film. For example I'll make a note of "N" for normal or N+1 to push the film. I also put the exposure index on the tape also. I always put tape on my film holders noting the type of film inside the holder. After shooting the film and reversing the dark slide, I tape the slide to prevent accidental opening of the holder.
While I setup/compose a shot, I use a notebook to record pertinant information such as working title, lens, film, EV, aperture, filter/bellows compensation, push/pull, and time. I also write the same information on label on each holder. (after I take the shot) When I process the film, I transfer the label from the holder to my processing notebook. (for colour work for the lab, I stick the labels on the box so I know what it is that I'm taking in.) It sounds like a lot of work, but it is acutally very quick, and the information is a valuable reference for future work.
Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada
Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points
system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...
I used to wrrite down everything. Film type, f stop, shutter speed, filter, and lens. What I ended up with was a note book full of information that I never used again. These days, since I almost always use the "sunny 16" rule, it all seems (to me at least) kind of pointless to record the exposure info. Personally I would rather shoot than write. Oh, and the voice recorder thing, I get enough "this guys out to lunch" looks as is when out with one of my classic shooters. So talking to no one imparticular may land me in a rubber room.
This discussion is very interesting. It seems we have three kinds of people here so far:
- Those who do not write anything down
- Those who record their exposure information with great detail and seem to benefit from this
- Those who used to record their exposure information but didn't find it useful.
Interesting. Please, keep sharing your thoughts about this, it's all very insightful to me.
When travelling, it can be really useful to record info (which cathedral was that?).
If you are using something unusual, or testing for future use, recorded exposure information can be really helpful.
In 35mm, if I am going to shoot multiple rolls, from time to time I'll shoot the first frame of a card that identifies the date and film. In 120, that would decrease the film available by between 1/15 to 1/10, although it would solve the 6x7 negative dilemma (the negative preserver sheets only hold 9).
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
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I use LF and keep notes in yellow Rite-in-the-Rain waterproof notebooks. Date, place, film, lens, filter, exposure, a couple meter readings, a small very rough messy drawing of the scene, and later on, how I developed the neg. No form that I fill out, just a standard way I right the info down -- maybe two of three lines in the notebook. Pretty compact. I transfer most of the info onto the paper negative envelopes that hold the negatives.
Why -- 1) tells me how to develop the sheet of film later, 2) when I do something right, I'll know how to do it again, and 3) the books become a journal and record of where and when I have photographed over the last 30 years of using LF cameras. Many times I have gone back to the notebooks to see when, for example, I photographed my boys at the base of Bridalveil Falls, or what year and season I took a particular road trip.
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.
I'm with you Vaughn, I'm learning LF and want to know what I'm doing right and wrong. It also helps me to remember what I shot(old-timers memory).
“What is a master but a master student? And if that's true, then there's a responsibility on you to keep getting better and to explore avenues of your profession.”ť
I used to worry about recording exposure data but nowadays, it seems irrelevant to me. I used to record the data to check and learn about exposure at the very beginning, besides if i try to do it now its just gonna be papers and note card that will get mixed up. I don't feel like the exposure data is going to help anything anymore. Wait, i do mark down aperture sometimes when I am testing out a 'new' lens, correct me if I am wrong. The only "exposure data" i record nowadays is in the darkroom, for reproduction.
[ Insert meaningless camera listing here ]
I record exposure and lighting condition details so if the exposure is incorrect , the next time I encounter the same conditions, I can learn from my mistakes.
I'm reminded that i do record something else: when and where the negatives were made. And when not immediately obvious, also what they are pictures of.
I do that later, on the sheets i keep the negatives in.