Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
Isn't this what the Dorst and Jones/"Windmill" diagrams show?

The real problem is people think they can simply apply N-X development to a negative to "fit" the paper, and maintain N local contrast. This is a real problem with how people think about compensating development for example. There's this notion out there you can somehow compress total contrast in the negative without compressing local contrast. Lucky for them they don't get as much compensation as they think they do.
This is interesting.

My thinking the last few years (simply stated), has been to make generously exposed negatives and then develop them (in Rodinal) to the point where they print well between grades 3 to 4, a high grade but with room on each end in case of an error. The reasoning behind this is that exposure pushes the shadows up onto the straight line part of the curve, the development tames the hightlights (or sometimes expands them) so they are reasonable to print or burn in (with various filter grades) and that the high paper grade of the base exposure helps to give a bit of punch to the local contrast as well.

This practice has done well for me, and by that I mean that I'm happy with the resulting prints. I'm wondering however, if what is actually happening is that which I've listed above or something else and it's just been working for me... Curiosity and a better understanding of my materials being the driver for my question.