Photo Techniques: Ways To Brush Up With HCP

By: Lars Giertz

ANNOUNCING two ways in which we can help to make you better photographers: a three-day zone system workshop, and HCP's Technical Services Department, ready to answer your queries by telephone, now.

The early practitioners of photography had it rough. There were no ASA ratings, no light meters, no means whatever to determine correct develop­ment except by intuition, experi­mentation, and at best, previous experience. I would have quit. Incredibly, photography had been around for nearly one hundred years before someone finally came to our rescue. Ansel Adams, too, floundered for decades. Although his own pho­tography was well organized after years of practicing, he realized soon that a method had to be developed to simplify and organize the use of sensitized materials.

In 1940 Adams perceived a marvelously simple method for arriving at the correct exposure and development time to achieve the desired results in the final print. He called it the Zone System.

It has been erroneously assumed by some, that the Zone System is purely a mechanical system for arriving at correct results in exposure at the expense of creativity. Well, there are some practitioners who become overly preoccupied with the mechanical aspects of our craft, and let their fascination with sensitometry get in the way of their creative craft. It is easy enough to get embroiled in end­less tests and comparisons that only belong in the laboratory. In actuality, the Zone System liberates, rather than restricts, the photographer to produce images that communicate his feelings. The Zone System gives us away to capture the image and preserve it in the print the way we saw it.

Technical understanding of the materials we use is absolutely necessary in order fully to use their potential. To master the use of these materials need not be complicated or cumbersome. To be able to exercise our craft, we must get all the technical familiarization behind us.

In its efforts to provide as diversified a program as possible, the HCP is including in its continuing workshop schedule a class on the Zone System. It will be held at the HCP Center at 1440 Harold on April 5, 7 and 9. The class will be limited to 20 participants in order to allow us to work as a group. We will examine such things as exposure determination, normal and modified developments (ex­pansions and contractions), the Zone System, visualizations and image values, determination of personal ASA ratings, correct personal normal development time, and how to make the proper proof. We will also, as time permits, look at darkroom procedures, printing, toning, and paper selection criteria. We will spend some time talking about cameras, lenses and optics. You will hear about the use of Polaroid materials and the effect of various fillers, and review the use of light meters.

The course is designed for all levels of previous experience. I will assume that you have access to a black and white darkroom and have a camera in any format from 35mm to eight by ten. If you want more information or would like to apply, contact me at home at 723-6463. HCP is also furnishing a techni­cal services department to help you with any technical problems or questions you may have. The service is free…just give me a call.

In subsequent issues we will examine specific topics of common interest on technical topics. Your individual commu­nications are encouraged.