Thank you again David and Lee. It’s late and I’ve already had my wine so I hope I don’t make a complete fool of myself with this post.

Ed, I felt that when I shot the gray card for a Zone 1 and it came out on my contact sheet as a “1” that I had calibrated my meter. Am I incorrect?

I understand much of what you way but certainly not all. I will look for a place with a transmission densitometer tomorrow.

<<That means subtract the clear frame density from the ones that are suppose to be zone I. Once that is found, use that for your ei and re-shoot the gray card but open up 3 stops.>>

But once I have subtracted my clear frame density what do I do about changing my meter? Lets say I have a “number” how do I translate that into changing my ASA setting for my meter? I don’t recognize “ei”. What is it and what are its implications.

<<Zone I is determined almost entirely by exposure. Once the Zone I area on the negative has been fully developed, you can increase development time all you want, but you won't increase Zone I density--and therefore you won't increase film speed--by changing the development time or temperature (though you can genuinely increase film speed sometimes by changing developers).>>

I understand this except that portion about “increase film speed”. What do you mean increase film speed when you are developing? I believe if you use a compensating developer that you can increase film speed when you shoot but I don’t see how film speed increases in development.

&lt;<If Zone I isn't developed fully, say when you reduce the development time for -1 or -2 development, then you may want to increase exposure to support the shadows.>&gt;

Ok, and after increasing exposure it’s back to the densitometer right? And you contact print to find the standard contact time to print z 1??

&lt;&lt;After doing all the tests properly, you might find that the film isn't giving you the look you want, so you can adjust your EI to emphasize different parts of the film curve. Say for instance, that you have a film with a long scale (plenty of room before the highlights hit the shoulder) and a long toe--you might reduce the EI (or increase exposure), to push the shadows off the toe.&gt;&gt;

“EI” again, I looked in my books and can’t find a reference. Sorry, I’m slow on this. Also, when you say “push the shadows off the toe” you mean bring them up Zone so they have more detail, right?

Of course what I am seeking here as an end goal is that my meter will read the scene well enough that when I spot meter or “see” a shadow and want to make it a z 3 or what ever that I will have a reasonable chance that I have accurate enough information to do that. Then I want to establish standard development times that will give me a ‘normal negative’. All this can be calibrated to one paper.

Now if need be I can push or pull my film to gain more control over my final negative. A question at this point really is how much do you change development time up or down to push or pull one Zone?

Also, my instructor suggested that I should switch to Ilford developer. Sounds good to me since I only use FP4 film. What developer would you suggest?