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Thread: TZS or NOT

  1. #1
    mwelsh's Avatar
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    TZS or NOT

    I downloaded some video from The Luminous Landscape yesterday and one of them had an incredible interview with Clyde Butcher a Florida photographer and printer who makes these incredibly large prints of the everglades. Highly recommended in my opinion to watch this interview if you can.
    He said something that really interested me because as a newly learning photographer, the zone system seems to be the standard exposure tool when it comes to black and white photography and I want to learn the zone system.
    However he said " If the light is right, you don't need the zone system."
    My question is what did he mean by that? I don't understand the distinction.

    Mark A. Welsh

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    chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
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    Part of the zone system has to do with setting exposure. Part of it has to do with determining whether to develop normally or to reduce the dev. time or increase it to adjust contrast in the photo. If the light is right...not contrasty or overly soft, then you use normal developing time, and I think that's what he's talking about. The exposure part is useful to me but lots of people just use what their camera's built in meter says and others use an incident light meter (zone system requires reflected light meter).
    Chris Crawford
    Fine Art Photography of Indiana and other places no one else photographs.

    http://www.chriscrawfordphoto.com

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    Fort Wayne, Indiana

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    I'm assuming he meant that with the right light his images are within the desired contrast range with normal exposure and development. This changes when the metered value structure exceeds the latitude of a given film. I think the most important thing you can take away from the zone system is the relationships between exposure and development.
    Last edited by Casey Kidwell; 09-12-2010 at 01:03 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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    juan's Avatar
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    Clyde Butcher told me himself that he looks over a scene, picks out what he wants to be on Zone V, meters that, then sets his exposure. That's not exactly what most folks think of as the Zone System.

    If you want to learn the system, get Ansel Adams' "The Negative." You might also look for a used copy of "The Zone VI Workshop" by Fred Picker (no longer in print.)
    juan

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    mwelsh's Avatar
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    I remember now I think he does say in the video that he meters what he wants to be middle grey and then sets his exposure. Its so good to have this kind of information availlable. Thanks you guys.

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    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwelsh View Post
    He said " If the light is right, you don't need the zone system."
    My question is what did he mean by that? I don't understand the distinction.

    Mark A. Welsh
    He's very approcahable. May take a bit to get a response. But why don't you just ask him. He could answer better than most.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
    APUG BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE
    DE Darkroom

    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

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    mwelsh's Avatar
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    Is he on here? I have no idea. And yeah I believe he probably is approachable. He seems very humble from what I saw. The kind of guy where I would just listen and not say a word soaking up everything he had to say.

  8. #8
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    I do not beleive that Clyde is on APUG. Bt you can get him through contact information on his page as I did a few years ago. He was very helpful and pleasant.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
    APUG BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE
    DE Darkroom

    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

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    mwelsh's Avatar
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    Thanks Chris

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    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    The Zone System is only a tool for the exposure of film and its subsequent development.

    It does not improve an indifferent photograph

    Most landscape photography is about the quality of the light rather than the quality of your developed negatives.

    As a beginner (and for almost all the rest of us too) we should worry more about the quality of the light rather than the nuances of metering and development.

    IMO, you should expend your time effort and money learning your craft for composition and understanding the qualities of the light the various weather patterns provide.

    The Zone System is only really useful if you short sheet film (so you can apply individual development to each negative) and in very challenging lighting conditions where the SBR is either much less than about 5 stops or much greater than about 10 stops.

    This is what I suspect it meant by "If the light is right, you don't need the zone system."

    I do shoot sheet film but only “Zone” when I need to (less than about 2% of the time)

    Martin

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