Date   

Re: Feininger's Zone System remarks

John Denniston <john_denniston@...>
 

Hi Howard,

This information is not correct. Adams like a lot of photographers would save a difficult print with areas of dodging and burning marked on it as well as paper grade, developer, and exposure times so the print could be duplicated at some future time.

When I cleaned out my darkroom a few years ago I came across a box of my own "master prints".

That's not to say he didn't ever make a copy print for a particular project. Karsh did that with his pictures that were sent out to newspapers and magazines in the 1950's. I found a bunch of them when the newspaper I worked for moved it's newsroom to a new building. Adams possibly did the same thing for prints meant for publication in newspapers and magazine.

Regards, John

On 7/4/2011 6:44 AM, Howard Smith wrote:
Adams produced a single, master print
with the aid of considerable darkroom manipulation. When he had just the
effect he wanted, he used a copy camera to
produce "orignals" from his master print. It seemed
unlikely that any man could faithfully reproduce all those complex darkroom
moves in subsequent prints,
Is this information correct?
--
www.Johndenniston.ca
www.dirtbikephoto.com
www.sportpix.ca


Re: Professional Phot... (WAS: Feininger's Zone System remarks)

Paul Lawrence
 

Hi All

As a professional photographer I started out studying Ansel Adams and
adapting his teaching to something workable for me.

Then I moved on to Hans-Carl Koch and working in the studio with various
cameras (including a wonderful Sinar) endeavouring to get close to the 4
stops using reflectors mirrors and lots of blue tack...

Then I saw a brief review of 'Professional Photoshop' in the British
Institute of Professional Photographers journal just as I was starting
to use Photoshop... So now in the completely digital world where I spend
far more time in front of a computer than behind a camera my workflow is
based on the writings of Dan Margulis where I have found most of it
comes together...

best regards
Paul

Paul Lawrence T:01903 216621 M:07711 185478

On 04/07/2011 03:09, George Machen wrote:
Oh, I dunno'.... "4 stop photography"
sounds like the best thing since sliced
bread (or zeroing-out the raw developer)
- that is, if one wants better results
in post.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3065/is_n12_v16/ai_6153659/

- George Machen


Re: Feininger's Zone System remarks

Iliah Borg <ib@...>
 

Basically, and interestingly enough similarly to Dan's teachings, for most situations, what he proposed was to over expose and then under develop in order to get a flat neg, which would be easier to print because of the compressed tonal range.
Jenő Dulovits, 1937, Lichtkontraste und ihre Überwindung - the book where he exposes the technique he developed in 1932, adding later the use of pinacryptol green as a desensitizer to control the development of the film visually. I have his book from 1951, Meine Technik – meine Bilder. It sums up his experience and methods to achieve flat negs.


--
Iliah Borg
ib@...


Re: Feininger's Zone System remarks

Paco Marquez <paco@...>
 

Hi to all!

Ansel Adams came up with the Zone System when he taught at the Art Center College of Design where I graduated from. To understand it, we were assigned the dreaded "9 neg test." Basically, and interestingly enough similarly to Dan's teachings, for most situations, what he proposed was to over expose and then under develop in order to get a flat neg, which would be easier to print because of the compressed tonal range.

This is exactly what Dan proposes when he says that flatness is our friend. The proof of which is undeniable in the series There Are No Bad Originals.

As someone who started out as a B&W printer in a commercial lab, I can tell you that both approaches are identical in as to what the ideal workflow starting point is; be it chemical or digital.

And then, even though the starting point is good, both need work; maybe lots of it in some cases but... what does not?

All the best!

Paco Marquez
661 McKinley
San Juan, PR 00907
787-721-8554 Studio
787-587-7384 Cel.
http://www.pacomarquez.com

On Jul 4, 2011, at 2:26 PM, Lee Varis wrote:

Dan writes:
Adam's approach to photography was valuable in that it introduced a systematic way of thinking about the end results when you were planning the picture.


Re: Feininger's Zone System remarks

George Machen
 

Begin forwarded message:

George,

At [xxx] Studio we took 8x10 and 10x12
and 11x14 negs. Put them on a contact
printer. We did some work on the negs
themelves and then put waxed paper, etc.
below the neg but between the light
source, we dodged the waxed paper
further with grease pencil etc. to even
out the lighting and printed away. Each
one dodged and burned the same. Maybe
that's what Adams did.

Happy Interdependence day!

Bob
- George Machen


Re: Feininger's Zone System remarks

Lee Varis
 

Dan writes:

We have a lot more use for the Zone System's fundamentals today than a photographer of the 1970s would. As advice on how to expose a picture, as Feininger said, it was way too complex and probably caused more problems than it cured.
Adam's approach to photography was valuable in that it introduced a systematic way of thinking about the end results when you were planning the picture. The amount of control you could exert after the exposure was very limited by the technology of the day so it helped to have some idea of where one should start before you could pre-visualize the end result.

To say that many of his images were bracketed does not necessarily invalidate his conceptual approach to technical quality, identifying zones and determining how these would print, etc... Certainly exposure today is made easier with automatic through-the-lens matrix metering BUT I still feel we can benefit from the original concepts of identifying the real limits of the dynamic range of the camera through a testing procedure and applying this knowledge to exposure judgements to maximize quality.

Yes... one can simply defer all judgement to post processing by using an HDR approach (blending multiple exposures into a high dynamic range file and "tone mapping" to suit one's taste) but not all circumstances lend themselves to that approach and the statistical averages approach of matrix metering cannot replace a decision guided by informed human intelligence.

My own testing, using Ansel Adam's principals with modern digital technology, has shown me that most cameras (and exposure meters) do not respond the same under different color temperatures and that this is not something that is compensated for by any automatic metering system. There IS something like an ideal exposure for digital captures that minimizes noise and maximizes detail and tonal variation AND allows for maximum creative manipulation without negative side effects – very often this requires some level of human judgement to determine!

I think a lot of photographers have gotten lazy with the power of Photoshop to rescue less than ideal exposures and certainly the notion that files only need to be "good enough" is prevalent in the commercial world. Still, I would argue that the quest for excellence is relevant today even with all the technical advances in digital imaging.


regards,

Lee Varis
varis@...
http://www.varis.com
http://blog.varis.com
323-209-5376

President of the LADIG

Photographer & Author of
Skin: The Complete Guide to Digitally, Lighting, Photographing
and Retouching Faces and Bodies - 2nd edition
ISBN-10: 0470592125
ISBN-13: 978-0470592120
Paperback, 368 pages, Aug 2010
&
Mastering Exposure and the Zone System for Digital Photographers
ISBN-13: 978-1-59863-987-2
ISBN-10: 1-59863-987-0
Paperback, 257 pages, 2010

also:

the DVD series: "Beyond Skin"
http://varis.acmeeducational.com


Re: Feininger's Zone System remarks

dbernaerdt
 

I first came across this article from Sinar originally in the 80's.

http://www.sinar.ch/en/infos/light-metering

The lower density range papers (ie, newsprint) require even less range than 4 f/stops, however I wonder how many photographers understand how to use a spot meter to assess the brightness range of a scene. Likely a lost art in the age of histogram worshippers.

Darren Bernaerdt

--- In colortheory@..., George Machen <gmachen@...> wrote:

Oh, I dunno'.... "4 stop photography"
sounds like the best thing since sliced
bread (or zeroing-out the raw developer)
- that is, if one wants better results
in post.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3065/is_n12_v16/ai_6153659/

- George Machen


Re: Zone System (WAS: Is there a problem with our communication)

Dick Dougall
 

Thanks Mike.

Dick Dougall

On 7/3/2011 8:57 PM, Michael Demyan wrote:

Hear Hear!

Mike Demyan

----- Original Message -----
From: Richmond J Dougall
To: colortheory@... <mailto:colortheory%40yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Sunday, July 03, 2011 8:44 PM
Subject: Re: [colortheory] Re: Zone System (WAS: Is there a problem
with our communication)

Isn't wonderful to be alive and well in today's digital camera age when
you can shoot three or more bracketed shots and combine them with


Re: Feininger's Zone System remarks

Howard Smith
 

I seem to recall running across an article claiming that Adams used one
other technique that does not appear to have become common knowledge. From
my recollection, the author said that Adams produced a single, master print
with the aid of considerable darkroom manipulation. When he had just the
effect he wanted, he used a copy camera (not sure of the technical term) to
produce "orignals" from his master print. Until then it had been my
impression that he laboriously produced each new print with the same
labor-intensive technique he had used for the first print. It seemed
unlikely that any man could faithfully reproduce all those complex darkroom
moves in subsequent prints, but that appears to have been-and still is-the
prevailing thought about Adam's technique. So far as the Zone Method is
concerned, it would seem that Adams relied far more on his darkroom and his
copy camera than on trying to get the perfect exposure in the field.



Is this information correct?







Howard Smith

(drhobbes@...)



_____

On 7/2/11 Clyde McConnell included the following in his post:

The California Musuem of Photography at UC Riverside sometimes shows
material from the time that Adams was photographing campuses throughout the
University of California system, and I recall seeing a mounted proof sheet
of roll-film images that were likely taken in what looked like a desert
canyon (might have been a field station). It was a tough exposure situation,
with late, raking light and important shadow information. The exposures were
ALL OVER the place. No Zone System here, but rather a very profligate and
pragmatic bracketing in the face of near-total uncertainty as to what was
going to work, and what the "best" print would turn out to be...or if there
would be a print at all.


Re: Zone System (WAS: Is there a problem with our communication)

Iliah Borg <ib@...>
 

On Jul 3, 2011, at 8:44 PM, Richmond J Dougall wrote:
Isn't wonderful to be alive and well in today's digital camera age when
you can shoot three or more bracketed shots and combine them with
PhotoMatix or Nik HDR

For the same reasons print density can' reach much more than 2.5D (glare and flare) sensor capture maintains sufficient linearity within 11 stops. Stacking of bracketed shots makes sense when sensor dynamic range is less than that, or in order to decrease the noise in shadows if shadows are to be heavily pushed. Unfortunately that is not how HDR promoters claim. Vast majority ignore physics, and ignore obvious image degradation coming out of the HDR. Many times I heard the claims that a scene of 12+ stops is captured, but never supporting exposure meter data was given.

--
Iliah Borg
ib@...


Re: Feininger's Zone System remarks

George Machen
 

Oh, I dunno'.... "4 stop photography"
sounds like the best thing since sliced
bread (or zeroing-out the raw developer)
- that is, if one wants better results
in post.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3065/is_n12_v16/ai_6153659/

- George Machen


Re: Zone System (WAS: Is there a problem with our communication)

Michael Demyan <mdemyan@...>
 

Hear Hear!

Mike Demyan

----- Original Message -----
From: Richmond J Dougall
To: colortheory@...
Sent: Sunday, July 03, 2011 8:44 PM
Subject: Re: [colortheory] Re: Zone System (WAS: Is there a problem with our communication)



Isn't wonderful to be alive and well in today's digital camera age when
you can shoot three or more bracketed shots and combine them with
PhotoMatix or Nik HDR and then pull up a whole lot of variants with NIK
Color Efex Pro 2 or Silver Efex Pro 3? Gives you results so fast and so
repeatable and accurate that makes all this theory sound like drudgery
that cannot be rewarding anymore. Heck I was brought up on the chemical
darkroom and mixed my own chemistry from scratch -- and I have never had
better images than now when I have these fantastic tools at my fingertips.

Dick Dougall

On 7/3/2011 5:40 PM, dlruckus wrote:
>
> Long and long ago back in my infant photographer days I looked at the
> Zone system fad with B&W films.As a simple man;) ,I boiled all of it
> down into the dictum to expose for the shadows and develop for the
> highlights,ok with single film sheets but not as easily done with roll
> film and multiple subjects.
>


Re: Zone System (WAS: Is there a problem with our communication)

Dick Dougall
 

Isn't wonderful to be alive and well in today's digital camera age when
you can shoot three or more bracketed shots and combine them with
PhotoMatix or Nik HDR and then pull up a whole lot of variants with NIK
Color Efex Pro 2 or Silver Efex Pro 3? Gives you results so fast and so
repeatable and accurate that makes all this theory sound like drudgery
that cannot be rewarding anymore. Heck I was brought up on the chemical
darkroom and mixed my own chemistry from scratch -- and I have never had
better images than now when I have these fantastic tools at my fingertips.

Dick Dougall

On 7/3/2011 5:40 PM, dlruckus wrote:

Long and long ago back in my infant photographer days I looked at the
Zone system fad with B&W films.As a simple man;) ,I boiled all of it
down into the dictum to expose for the shadows and develop for the
highlights,ok with single film sheets but not as easily done with roll
film and multiple subjects.


Re: Feininger's Zone System remarks

Michael Jahn
 

On Sun, Jul 3, 2011 at 3:58 PM, Dan Margulis <DMargulis@...> wrote:

**
We have a lot more use for the Zone System's fundamentals today than a
photographer of the 1970s would. As advice on how to expose a picture, as
Feininger said, it was way too complex and probably caused more problems
than it cured.
- back in the 1996 - 2002 time frame, Quad came out with "4 stop
photography" - it was all about exposing transparencies of products that
were so flat - the scanner operators could "set it and forget it"

It was as welcome as an drywall sandwich.

I had no idea just how unpopular it was until just now - i can't seem to
find anything about it on Google.


Respectfully,

*Michael Jahn*
2137 Shielah Way,
Sacramento, CA 95822
*(805) 217-6741*


Re: Feininger's Zone System remarks

Dan Margulis
 

Clyde writes,

I know Dan won't let this thread morph into a heated or tedious exchange, but I'd like to make one observation. The California Musuem of Photography at UC Riverside sometimes shows material from the time that Adams was photographing campuses throughout the University of California system, and I recall seeing a mounted proof sheet of roll-film images that were likely taken in what looked like a desert canyon (might have been a field station). It was a tough exposure situation, with late, raking light and important shadow information. The exposures were ALL OVER the place. No Zone System here, but rather a very profligate and pragmatic bracketing in the face of near-total uncertainty as to what was going to work, and what the "best" print would turn out to be...or if there would be a print at all.
Yes. These two artists were talking past each other but what they were saying is still relevant.

Ansel Adams would be a far more significant figure today if he had lived a quarter-century later. He was an interventionist who would immediately have seized upon Photoshop as a creative tool and would have shoehorned his way into the production process whether the prepress industry liked it or not. He was very inquisitive about new techniques and surely would have led the photography field into embracing the new possibilities. The Zone System as described is a predecessor of what all professionals do digitally today. Its problem was that it anticipated methods that did not exist at the time.

As visionary as the concept was, I have to agree with Andrea Feininger's remarks *given the era in which he made them.* Today, every serious practitioner would agree that some kind of digital tweaking is necessary every time, and that there is no default method to process a picture to optimize results. Feininger was saying the same thing, given the time frame: every picture benefits from some kind of tweaking in the darkroom.

His condemnation of the Zone System indicates that he was taking Adams's writings at face value. As Clyde notes, Adams talked up the Zone System for shooting--for other people. When the chips were down, he didn't use it himself, he simply experimented with multiple exposures, with which we can all sympathize.

We have a lot more use for the Zone System's fundamentals today than a photographer of the 1970s would. As advice on how to expose a picture, as Feininger said, it was way too complex and probably caused more problems than it cured.

Dan Margulis


Re: Zone System (WAS: Is there a problem with our communication)

dlruckus
 

Long and long ago back in my infant photographer days I looked at the Zone system fad with B&W films.As a simple man;) ,I boiled all of it down into the dictum to expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights,ok with single film sheets but not as easily done with roll film and multiple subjects.In practice it worked out to: expose as much as you can without causing damage to critical highlights and hope for the best or plan for set lighting if a must.With color films it has pretty much always been the latter choices.
Digital,including film scans,has made that game somewhat better because now techniques are available to help extract much more from that film image relatively easily.Unfortunately the printed image is not yet available on papers that conveniently wax bright or less bright to model for changing environments and color.
Adams ,I think,did the same thing we all do,that is, what ever got the job done.
Regards,
Duane Ruck

--- In colortheory@..., Rick Gordon <lists@...> wrote:

Is that really the case?

Ansel Adams, who was certainly one of the primary forces in the development and acceptance of the zone system, routinely did prints of his works that differed substantially (and intentionally) from other prints of the same negative.

My understanding is that he considered the zone system 1) a means of creating a negative that contained the maximum information for making a print with with detail in the shadows and in the highlights, except for zones 0 and 10, which are clipped black and white; and 2) a vocabulary for describing ranges of luminosity.

Both of these aims seem very consistent with your own goals and practices.

Minor White, the other foremost exponent of the school, produced prints which would be considered flat. In the examples I've seen, he always utilized a full tonal range from zones 0 to 10.

Rick Gordon


Re: Is there a problem with our communication

Iliah Borg <ib@...>
 

Dear Jacob,

On Jul 3, 2011, at 1:52 AM, Jacob Rus wrote:

Iliah Borg wrote:

In terms of printing - here is the short story that happened just recently.
A very good man called me with the question - why are his prints so dark
compared to my monitor, both are calibrated and profiled, profile check
shows very little deltaE error. Obviously, I know this is one of the most
frequent questions asked, and usually I simply answer - because your
monitor is too bright. [...] So, I asked him if he realizes that L* is not an
absolute measure, but a relative measure depending on the maximum
brightness one can reach on the media.
This is a good reason to use a color appearance model, something which
explicitly takes the surrounding lighting and degree of adaptation
into account. CIELAB’s purpose, as a model, is to help people hit
specific color targets and measure color differences, within the same
viewing conditions. It’s not anywhere close to the state of the art
comparing colors across different viewing conditions.
I experimented quite a lot and can't say my results with colour appearance model are encouraging. Before solving the problem of colour the problem is calculating working adaptation for different brightnesses must be solved. This I do not see.

--
Iliah Borg
ib@...


Re: Old books : - 'there a problem with our communication"

Dan Margulis
 

Fred Yocum writes,

While on the subject of worthy out-of-print books.

About a year or so ago I purchased a copy of "Photoshop Channel Chops" by David Biedny, Bert Monroy, Nathan Moody, printed in 1998 and now out of print. I continue to be amazed at how pertinent the information is. The sections on blending modes are my first stop whenever I am confused on the subject.
I'd echo the sentiments, and point out how difficult it is for a book to remain relevant in a field that is changing as rapidly as ours. Fortunately some ideas are timeless, even though their implementation changes.

Dan Margulis


Re: Is there a problem with our communication

Jacob Rus
 

Iliah Borg wrote:

In terms of printing - here is the short story that happened just recently.
A very good man called me with the question - why are his prints so dark
compared to my monitor, both are calibrated and profiled, profile check
shows very little deltaE error. Obviously, I know this is one of  the most
frequent questions asked, and usually I simply answer - because your
monitor is too bright. [...] So, I asked him if he realizes that L* is not an
absolute measure, but a relative measure depending on the maximum
brightness one can reach on the media.
This is a good reason to use a color appearance model, something which
explicitly takes the surrounding lighting and degree of adaptation
into account. CIELAB’s purpose, as a model, is to help people hit
specific color targets and measure color differences, within the same
viewing conditions. It’s not anywhere close to the state of the art
comparing colors across different viewing conditions.

Cheers,
Jacob


Re: Is there a problem with our communication

Iliah Borg <ib@...>
 

Dear Michael,

This issue always troubled me after I say my first Cibachrome - when i
wondered "gee, you can get something that is reflective that is close to a
transparency" - then - when I worked for Pantone, was all about Hexachrome.
Too bad it never took off.
Since last year we print repro works in CMYKBOG using Hi-Fi colour and 20-mkm stochastic rasters. Separation is a major pain, a lot of trial and error, but results are much improved.

--
Iliah Borg
ib@...

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