Quote Originally Posted by c6h6o3 View Post
I expose the hell out of 'em.
I get much better prints from ones which are a little too thin than I do from ones which are too dense.
Is this an oxymoron ?

Whatever it is, if you have problems getting negs to print easily you need to look no further than "Expose the hell out of them". Jim, you know as well as anyone that exposure and development are forever linked together, when one is wrong than the other has to be forsaken in favor of the first error, hence when one is wrong so is the other.

Personally speaking, changing to a pyro based developer and VC paper caused a fundamental change in exposure and development for me, naturally this didn't come about in one or two adjustments, it took many ill advised exposure and development choices before the puzzle became clear.

When you get to our stage Jim revelations don't come around that often. Back in the mid 90's switching to PMK was a revelation. Another revelation came in the form a phrase by a photog we both know and whose wife's work is much in line with our sensibilities.

The phrase "you must anchor your low values" opened my eyes to why so many of my negs were difficult to print. Prior to that conversation in Pennsylvania I used to meter and place my important shadows on Z4 with film rated @ 1/2 box speed. Since then and with more consistent ease of printing I have rated film @ a tick under box speed and first find a Z2 tonality and then determine the relationship between that Z2 tonality and what I perceive to be important shadow values. So long as those values are within 2 zones of one another I have found my exposure value.

Lastly, if you like the look you get from Reduced Agitation negatives you will best achieve that look by exposing accurately and developing to a lower contrast index and allowing the VC paper to do what it does best, lay down the most difficult part of the final print....mid tone micro contrast

2 cents,

Cheers