You have obviously put a lot of thought into this, thank you for taking the time to do this. Your thoughts are helping me.

Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Benskin View Post
What Dunn was discussing was a very specific set of circumstances and not a general concept. It was about how to handle a scene where the luminance range was greater than normal. He presented a number of approaches. Dunn’s argument for not reducing the development of the negative was that it compresses the tonal values too much causing the print to appear dull. He proposed normal development of the negative even for greater than normal luminance ranges.
The way I read his lead-in to this concept he is talking about everything except: "medium and low range subjects which are to be reproduced, via negatives, on to black and white paper prints or transparencies (lantern slides)".

To me that statement seems to define the special circumstance, rather than the norm, given that he goes on to say: "It has been found by experience, however, that while the shadow detail method is theoretically best for the particular type of work just mentioned, this is by no means the case for practically all other types of work."

I do agree that he is talking about a long scale subject specifically and I heartily agree with the thought that trying to straight print too long a scene scale results in dull prints.

Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Benskin View Post
This left a couple of options to control the higher negative density range printing when printing on a normal grade of paper. One was to use printing techniques such as burning, dodging, and masking. The other was to print for the highlights and midtones at the expense of the shadows. “…it is in such cases almost invariably at the expense of the shadows, especially when the latter are small.”
I apologize for focusing on the concept of letting the shadows go earlier in the thread, as I said I'm still trying to really wrap my head around this. I was describing the result rather than the reason.

Actually his statement "or (b), if - as is usually the case- the main interest is only at one end of the scale, to print for that end only and ignore the other end entirely." is the statement that most interests me. This idea can be applied regardless of where the interest may be on the exposure scale.

Placement of my main subject has always been my intuitive priority. In general though metering methods are not taught from that perspective.

For example with incident metering we are first taught to use the reading displayed, this is a dumbed down technical version of Dunn & Wakefield's concept, it works well for many, but it lacks the real thought that Dunn & Wakefield imply regarding the relative importance of different parts of the scene.

Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Benskin View Post
Personally, I use all three methods. While I agree that smaller areas can be printed without concern for detail, the question is always how small? It all depends on the intent of the photograph. Documentary and photojournalism are more concerned about the moment than detail in the shadows. With large format landscape photography, tone reproduction plays a greater role.
I agree completely and see no conflict with the book there.

Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Benskin View Post
Then there is the creative intent. The parameters in the psychophysical judging that lead to the definition of an excellent print for tone reproduction theory was for the image to produce in the viewers mind the impression of how closely it portrays the original scene. This means that print quality is based on the literal impression of a scene. If a photographer decides to deviate for creative reasons from this, it is no longer applicable to apply those concepts in judging the quality of the print. As the psychophysical determination of print quality is the basis for film speed, this also applies to the concept of “correct” or appropriate film speed and exposure.
One of the points made by Dunn & Wakefield really leapt out for me. It is about the time the viewer has to consider a given frame.

"But in viewing motion pictures the upper and middle tone areas - and particularly the human face - claim so much attention by virtue of motion (and sound where applicable) that the scene has normally changed before there is time for the shadows to be critically examined at all." page 33

If that "motion" doesn't describe the world we live in and the way photos are viewed today, I don't know what does.

Dunn & Wakefield seem here simply to concede to the norm of what people expect first.

My thought here actually falls at least partly outside the exposure question, in composition. If I catch the eye with the brightest spots where do I take them from there. Could be to smaller details rather than darker shadows.

In any case the shadows seem generally to hold only a supporting role

Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Benskin View Post
There is also the complex concept of the two aspects of tone reproduction: objective and subjective tone reproduction.
I do think that is part of what I'm trying to grapple with.

Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Benskin View Post
But where Dunn and I disagree is that I want the shadow detail on the negative to give me a choice to use it or not, where as Dunn feels that if it isn’t going to be used, “there is no point at all in exposing the negative for the shadows and thus forcing the required highlights far up into the very dense part of the negative characteristic.”
I see this as an artistic/technical style choice. Do I want to do that work with the camera or the enlarger?

Personally I'm with Dunn on this.

For me, I prefer making those decisions at the camera and I can't remember a single shot where I got the main interest right and said to myself, "darn it I wish there was more shadow detail."

Don't get me wrong, I'm not averse to using the latitude of a film to get a shot, or to make shooting easier/faster, or to avoid underexposure where there is something in the shadows I want but I'm not fishing for more ways to interpret a scene in the darkroom.

Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Benskin View Post
I’m not sure why the reference to page 10 as it is just an explanation of the basic concepts of exposure theory. You should check out Appendix B for a more detail explanation.
Page 15 actually, and I'm working through the appendix.

I have made an observation about myself with regard to calibration of late.

As I gain experience and my darkroom skills grow the people at Ilford and Kodak and Fuji and Sekonic all look smarter and smarter.

Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Benskin View Post
Don't let the examples of the affects of flare on the film curve fool you. Combining the film curve and the affects of flare on the same curve is more for convenience and can be conceptually misleading as to how flare works. Flare doesn't change the shape of the film curve. It just changes where the exposure will fall on the curve.
The point I remember Dunn & Wakefield making was essentially that flare has the effect of extending the toe making it tough to run away from.

The windmill diagrams you provided earlier seem to bear this out too. The +1 diagram shows a more pronounced/longer curve toe in the reproduction quadrant.