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  1. #21
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Aspen View Post
    Thanks, Thomas, for taking the time for an explanation; I learn something new each day!
    I'm certain I could learn a lot from you, Fred; there is little (if any) substitute for experience.

    I have found, over time, that I tend to gravitate toward negatives that are very bold. By being a bit critical about my results I have kept adjusting how I expose and process film, in order to get what I want in the print, and that has taken a lot of time. I could shoot and process my film so that my printing times would be shorter, but I find it more difficult to get a good print that way. The highlight contrast that Michael speaks of is pretty important to me; often that is where I find the real sparkle of a print is.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  2. #22

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    Just wanted to add one more observation to the discussion of David's question: I think it boils down to the "creative call" as mentioned above. I write a fair amount of fiction and I like to think I create images to tell a story. There are two camps here: one is trying to have one's images tell a story, or, making a record shot recording all the fine detail of a scene. Being a writer, I fall into the first category. Ansel, in my opinion, was in the second camp.

    (Secretly wanted to be a photojournalist but passed on the opportunity when it presented itself.) Oh well,...
    -Fred

  3. #23
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainecoonmaniac View Post
    It's always good to have some shadow detail in the bank with your negs right? You might want to use it later. If you want no shadow detail by under exposing your film, you're sure of yourself. It's like doing a crossword puzzle with a pen.
    Depends on your system and your experience. For slide shooters it's just how they shoot anyway.

    It can be done very reliably and there are truly good reasons people might want to minimize exposure on regular B&W negative film.

    It allows faster shutter speeds, reduced grain, and faster enlarger times.

    The biggest advantage for me is not having detail in the bank but having latitude so that I don't have to think about resetting exposure in the middle of a set, latitude let's me worry more about composition and timing.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  4. #24
    David Lyga's Avatar
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    Yes, thank you all for liberating me and refusing to allow me to suffer guilt in the process.

    It's true that you can have shadow detail in the negative but find that leaving it out of the print (because of the need for more contrast, perhaps) can make for a better print with far more impact. Viscerally, it SEEMS to be 'wasting' information but, with much print viewing, I agree that sometimes 'less is more'. Yes, to reiterate, the highlight contrast sometimes 'tells' the story better than anything else can, through its 'boldness' and (really) beauty. Much learned and confirmed here. - David Lyga

  5. #25
    Helinophoto's Avatar
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    IMO unless it's a high-key photo, shadows and blacks are totally natural.
    I find photos with absolutely no shadows quite flat and lifeless (this goes for photos with absolutely no highlights/white either).

    Just looks kind of funny when everything is squeezed into a few zones.
    -
    "Nice picture, you must have an amazing camera."
    Visit my photography blog at: http://helino-photo.blogspot.com

  6. #26
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Shadow detail is overrated. I came to this conclusion studying Brett Weston prints.

  7. #27

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    John Blakemore has played around a great deal with the extremes of tonality. Here's one from his Lila series with no shadows - http://ettagirl.files.wordpress.com/...icture-210.png

    That a photograph without deep shadows is 'lifeless' doesn't make any sense to me, it's a matter of intent and desired effect that gives an image life. It's interesting how you can instantly recognise a failure of intent, in spotting a photograph that has been printed 'too soft' - perhaps too much time spent looking at bad amateur work unwittingly printed this way conditions people to think low contrast = lifeless. With the linked Blakemore picture, you can immediately sense his clarity of thinking, seeing and creative decision making. When I look at this series of his, all the arduous trials of photography from shooting to printing have been revealed to me as one consistently clear minded process in the finished product. That's when I get excited about making photographs.
    Last edited by batwister; 11-27-2012 at 05:42 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #28
    Shawn Dougherty's Avatar
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    That's an awesome photograph, batwister. As you say, it's about intention and execution. There are SOO many tools in the photographic arsenal it can become mind boggling. I love Brett's photographs as well. Different choices and feelings evoked but both are beautiful... to me.

  9. #29
    CPorter's Avatar
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    This is such a matter of personal taste and intent. For me, I make distinctions between important shadows and not so important shadows as not all shadows are created equal, the term "shadows" is thrown around as if they are all the same. Plainly put, areas of full black are important to my prints, they provide depth, but slightly textured and fully textured shadows are just as important to my aesthetic.

  10. #30
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPorter View Post
    This is such a matter of personal taste and intent. For me, I make distinctions between important shadows and not so important shadows as not all shadows are created equal, the term "shadows" is thrown around as if they are all the same. Plainly put, areas of full black are important to my prints, they provide depth, but slightly textured and fully textured shadows are just as important to my aesthetic.
    I do agree, that personal taste and intent are the deciding factors.

    But I believe that David expresses a feeling that many of us feel. Guilt.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Lyga View Post
    Yes, thank you all for liberating me and refusing to allow me to suffer guilt in the process.


    It's true that you can have shadow detail in the negative but find that leaving it out of the print (because of the need for more contrast, perhaps) can make for a better print with far more impact. Viscerally, it SEEMS to be 'wasting' information but, with much print viewing, I agree that sometimes 'less is more'. Yes, to reiterate, the highlight contrast sometimes 'tells' the story better than anything else can, through its 'boldness' and (really) beauty. Much learned and confirmed here. - David Lyga
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

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