I agree with you, 100% Michael. No problem with that all. In fact, I have used BTZS, have tested film and paper, and have worked extensively with densitometers, especially for photogravure. I think knowledge is a wonderful thing, and yes, it can certainly lead to a better understanding of "how" things work. I just don't think it that, in general, all of this knowledge gets applied to produce meaningfully better images/prints. Actually, in many cases, it tends to bog down the photographer to a point where he/she becomes too enthralled in the details and forgets about the larger picture (pun intended)
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
From personal experience, when I have used BTZS and ZS, with paper testing, I was able to produce "ideal" prints. With all tones in the right place, without much dodging or burning needed, etc etc. Correct prints, yes. Moving? For me, not. It wasn't until I realized that to print what I had in mind, to achieve my vision, I had to throw away some rules and think outside the box a bit more. The latest batch of prints I have posted are the results. Of course, not everyone will like that, but I do. It's how I see things. If I was going to play by the rules, those images/prints, would not look that way. I am over-exposing, I am overdeveloping, and printing on grade 5. All of it without the use of a densitometer of course. Interestingly enough, most of those prints, have required no dodging or burning at all, except for maybe a few cosmetic reasons, and not to fit the negative on paper.
Anyway...these are just my opinions, of course, and I think Stephen does wonderful work by sharing his incredibly extensive knowledge.