Quote Originally Posted by Rafal Lukawiecki View Post
I agree with you, Bill. Lately, I have started a more conscious consideration of dodging and burning, at the stage of negative exposure, and I try to optimise negative development to make its printing easier. What I mean by that is that I may indicate N+1 etc even if I have enough overall contrast (so otherwise N), but if I would like to add local contrast, which could be a bit harder to increase through local print manipulation. Having very recently discovered selective masking (for dodging and burning) and masked flashing, I am happier to be "accessing" parts of the straight-line of the curve which were previously too hard to burn or dodge, and therefore necessitated overall, global contrast adjustments. So, in some way, I would expect to need ZS less, but, on the other hand, it helps me decide what I want to labour on during printing.
The more printing skill and tools one develops, the less mechanical/formulaic one has to be when making exposure and development decisions with the ZS (or with any system). The negative becomes more about recording the information needed to support the visualization, and less about simply increasing or decreasing CI to fit the paper. Particularly when dealing with high contrast scenes, a "naive" approach to the ZS (eg: highlights on Zone XII = N-4) can sometimes lead to more loss than gain. Printing is power!! Or something like that anyway.