I think I know what you were thinking regarding hogwash - some photo books might be a waste of your time.
Originally Posted by DannL.
But I don't know how familiar you are with the whole idea of f/stop timing when enlarging. I swear by it, and find it makes me MORE confident with the times I finally decide, because the differences are visually evenly spaced. When I use third of an f/stop times and Grade 2 paper, I find each step to be practically the "least noticeable difference". I don't often feel any compelling reason to choose a time between steps - either one or the other is right. But in a "Goldilocks" situation, I WILL set the dial between the marks.
So when Lootens talks about test strips from 5-80 seconds, in f/stop times, he's not telling me anything I don't already appreciate regarding the doubling of each successive step.
But he reminds me of a nagging suspicion... that because my usual sequence is a tight series (third-stops down from 40 seconds)... I might be overlooking dramatic possibilities. So my prints might be dramatically different than they might otherwise be because my skies are printed at 40 when they might have looked amazing at 80.
He advised adjusting the enlarger lens aperture to make the 5-80 seconds test strip appropriate because it's a good range of time that gives you time to dodge and burn. But he also spent some time back-pedaling that hard-and-fast rule when circumstances require longer or shorter exposure series.
Since starting this thread, I haven't had the chance to turn on the water... but I have a negative lined up that I plan to print. The negative is one of my "failures," for which I don't have a pre-conceived idea how I would like it to turn out.