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View Full Version : "good enough" what does it mean to you ?



jnanian
16-May-2015, 11:10
everyone has their own definition of "good enough" whether it is
with the negative ( exposure and processing ) or printing ...
for some it is rigid, and perfections ( or as close to it as possible )
to others no so much.

there used to be a saying "f8 and be there" which i think applies to the "others not so much" camp.

there is a lot of middle ground, i realize some folks get a great exposure and can make 40 different interpretations of the same negative
depending on process, and where their head is at, but just the same, there is a "good enough" involved no matter ...

what does good enough mean where you are standing at the moment, and i know it is a fluid set of words because in 3 days or 3 months you may change your position ..

Vaughn
16-May-2015, 11:30
For my personal work, good enough is the best I can do...how good that actually is depends on my present skill and knowledge level, the materials available and time restraints. Many times it is not 'good enough' and I will wait until the time, skill, materials, and opportunity all come together to give it another try.

"Good enough for gov't work" is a phrase I also tend to use -- and to me that also means doing the best I can do. When I worked for the USFS (from packing mules and maintaining wilderness trails to cleaning the campground outhouses, from counting fish to fighting fires) I always worked harder than the 5 bucks or so per hour I was getting paid.

Peter Lewin
16-May-2015, 12:14
In photographic terms, "good enough" for me means that when I look at the finished print I don't see anything that I want to change or correct. Which is not the same as looking at a print and seeing something else that I would like to try. A concrete example: I have a still life I shot which I basically like, but there was a smudge on the background paper which shows on the print. That is not "good enough" because I immediately see the imperfection. Perhaps someone else would look at the print and like the image, so clearly "good enough" is a personal standard for each of us.

Lenny Eiger
16-May-2015, 13:23
For me, photographically, there is no such thing. It's either right or it isn't. Further, when speaking about things that matter, the words suggest everything that has gone awry with the American culture. They are offensive.

Lenny

Michael R
16-May-2015, 14:09
John,

For me it depends on which part of the process we're talking about. By nature I'm an obsessive perfectionist and uncompromising, so when it comes to the image itself or the print, there's no "good enough". I suppose I'm either satisfied or I'm not (and this can change over time too). However there are other aspects of the process - exposure/development of the negative for example, for which "good enough" does indeed exist. The latitude built into the excellent materials we have at our disposal affords us that.

Nodda Duma
16-May-2015, 14:15
Lenny from an engineering standpoint, "good enough" means any additional effort expended would be a waste of cost and materials. So from that point of view the phrase implies you know when you're done. So it is not necessarily always a bad thing.

That said, my "good enough" is when my wife says I can put a framed print up on a wall (does not happen often).

Randy Moe
16-May-2015, 14:31
According to my Father, 'Nothing is Good Enough'.

ymmv

Peter Lewin
16-May-2015, 14:54
The following article may provide for some interesting commentary: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201106/why-perfect-is-the-enemy-good

The title is "Why Perfect Is the Enemy of Good: Why obsession with perfection can paralyze."

Lenny Eiger
16-May-2015, 15:08
Lenny from an engineering standpoint, "good enough" means any additional effort expended would be a waste of cost and materials. So from that point of view the phrase implies you know when you're done. So it is not necessarily always a bad thing.

I can't disagree. I just built a new darkroom sink and I could have built it out of platinum, but maybe that would have been just a little unnecessary. The question is one of diminishing returns. For example, would a temperature control device add to the sink's usefulness? Would it be 10% better. If it were, does the 10% justify the added expense? Of course there are many types of temperature controls, some more expensive than others, each with its concomitant percentage improvement from the less expensive one. Generalizing here, the engineers among us would usually go a step or two further than the bean counters towards a higher goal of better performance for a little more. At some point, holding a tenth of a degree isn't going to help very much for developing film, or other photographic processes.... and then we label it "academic".

However, when it comes to the art itself, its quite another matter. "Good enough" is thought of as a commercial metaphor. "Satisfies the Art Director's need... or desire", for example. When it comes to a Fine Artist, the viewer can usually sense how far a person went to achieve the desired result. When someone makes an exquisite print, it shows. When an artist has a show and the prints have a visible consistency, then its clear that the approach was deliberate. Many artists are willing to make as many test prints as it takes until it feels right to them; there is no concept of "good enough" for that kind of process.

Lenny

mdm
16-May-2015, 15:14
I think it often takes time to appreciate what I print, or to discern that the end point has been reached. I was making some photopolymer gravures some time ago, and there is always this or that needing to be improved. But looking back some months later it's clear where I should have stopped. Experience is what teaches us when to stop.

Alan Gales
16-May-2015, 15:39
I recently shot my Father-in-law's birthday at a local restaurant with a digital Fujifilm X-100s and the built in flash. The restaurant was typically dark with a large group seated around the table. When shooting the people on one side of the table with their backs to the wall the photos came out quite nice. Shooting the people on the other side of the table was hard to get the same exposure with everyone due to my position with the flash. After cropping and fixing red eye in a couple shots the prints turned out nice and everyone was thrilled with them. I'd say the results were "good enough".

Now when shooting large format, doing the best I possibly can is "good enough" and sometimes it isn't "good enough". ;)

Bill_1856
16-May-2015, 15:42
I can't always tell when stuff is "good enough," but I can usually tell when it AIN'T. That's the stuff that gets thrown away (or deleted). Other stuff needs to be looked at again in a few weeks or so.
"Family stuff" is ALWAYS good enough, and should NEVER be thrown away.

jnanian
16-May-2015, 16:07
For me, photographically, there is no such thing. It's either right or it isn't. Further, when speaking about things that matter, the words suggest everything that has gone awry with the American culture. They are offensive.

Lenny

hi lenny

i ddin't mean to offend you ...
in a sense every work of art can be considered "unfinished" because something can always be done to improve whatever it might be ..
when whoever made whatever it mght have been and stopped at a certain point, that was when it was good enough to stop.
i live down the road from the gilbert stuart birthplace. it was a snuff mill, and he was a painter. his unfinished portrait of george washington graces our 1$ bill ..
and it was unfinished ... and clearly was good enough as an unfinished work to become priceless.

where i stand is in between the obsessive camp and the other side. i know i could always work on something and never finish it and a certain point i think it is good enough and stop before i continue
to waste more time and effort maybe not even making the finished image any better than it was before i decided to continue ... many of my exposures are not good enough, and i have to make up for lost time
on the other end ... and often times those results are not good enough either ...

Alan Gales
16-May-2015, 16:07
"Family stuff" is ALWAYS good enough, and should NEVER be thrown away.

Even if you accidently cut their heads off in the shot? :rolleyes:

John Kasaian
16-May-2015, 16:29
Depends on a few things.
F8 and be there means (to me) getting an image. Not a perfect image but an image from a time and place where perfect conditions simply aren't going to happen. If an image is interesting enough, I figure imperfections only bear witness to the difficulty of the task so I don't worry about it.
With equipment I'm afraid I'm nearly as cavalier. It doesn't matter if my lens is an antique 100 years old or a modern 50 years old lens--if it's capable of good images that's really what matters most to me---it's "good enough" and I won't stop shooting until I can get a new mortgage to finance the latest glass from B and H---I feel I am more than capable of taking bad photos with the most expensive gear on the planet. It's a knack I have ;)
With negatives and prints I try to do the best I can---anything less isn't "good enough."
I agree that it is easy to over react as mdm mentions above.
I made prints of a 10th Century Spanish Cistercian Chapter House that had an oddly shaped white blemish on every print. I couldn't figure out the cause and nearly attempted to spot it (it was a huge spot) until I realized it was light from a slit window.That how it was supposed to look and if I tried to remove it from my prints, it wouldn't be, well, veritas.:cool:

Nodda Duma
16-May-2015, 17:04
Lenny good description. Now the other side of engineering in this respect can be summed up by the saying "There comes a point in every project when you must shoot the engineer and begin production." :)

Randy Moe
16-May-2015, 17:07
Lenny good description. Now the other side of engineering in this respect can be summed up by the saying "There comes a point in every project when you must shoot the engineer and begin production." :)

+1 Million

Drew Bedo
16-May-2015, 18:11
"Good Enough" Correction for Bellows Wztension:

To correct for bellows extension, onwe must properly measure the distance from the film plabe to the primary node of the lens. and apply the formula.

I frequently use a 150 mm lens0151which is about six inches. I measure from GG to the front of the lens board. For every inch of extension beyond six inches I allow an additional one third of a stop of extra exposure.

that is close enough for most shots I take.

Chance2
16-May-2015, 19:05
That I'm free to move on to the next photo.

Randy Moe
16-May-2015, 19:24
From another LFPF thread about enlarging.

"It doesn’t matter how you get there, if you don’t know where you’re going.
—The Flying Karamazov Brothers"

Doremus Scudder
17-May-2015, 03:42
Often when the phrase "good enough" is used, it means settling for second best.

For my personal work, my motto is: "Good enough isn't."

Unless I'm enthusiastically happy with something, it doesn't make it to keeper status. I prefer terms like, "excellent," "stunning," etc. I would never want a viewer to say, "good enough" about any of my work.

Doremus

Jim Jones
17-May-2015, 05:33
I wonder if Ansel Adams's Moonrise at Hernandes was ever good enough for him. Certainly the initial capture wasn't. Some of the many variations in printing would have been good enough for most of us.

Iluvmyviewcam
17-May-2015, 06:53
OP...Forget perfection, either the pix works or not.

That being said, you anal LF guys should make pretty perfect pix unless your Sally Mann and wet coat things. I do doc work, if I come in with 70% to 80% of what I was after it can still be a success.

When I process an image I take it to the best I can do with it. Sometimes it is version 12 sometimes it is version 43 and then I decide it is not going to work.

jp
17-May-2015, 07:06
Something better than the previous time I shot the same subject. In what area it is better will vary, it has to be some sort of improvement to be satisfactory.

For family stuff, my wife and I are both fussy. We went out to do family portraits with another couple, we chimped the photos of us and my wife noticed feet were cut off, and suggested they be shot again!

Good enough for government work is considered a low standard where I am, the work of the low bidder or the protected employee coasting along till retirement doing no more than necessary.

bob carnie
17-May-2015, 07:24
I have stopped going after the perfect print - a simple concept and attitude - after almost 40 years of printing for others perfection is an impossible print to make.

I prefer to make modifications on certain images over years, in fact if a photographer wants me to match what they consider a perfect print I decline the job. I think
by taking this attitude it has allowed me to expand my skill set and now as ever I still make three versions of any image and let someone else decide its rating.

Right now I am playing with pigment over palladium and there are lots of mistakes, some surprisingly great interpertations of an image. Long ago I was taught by
a very decent photographer/printer to make three variations of contact sheets . This opened many variations that many miss since they are striving for perfection.
I find it very funny to read the stress people subject themselves trying to under stand spot metering, or placing zones. From a technical viewpoint I get it but the charts
need to be done ONCE and then start making prints.

When printing a large body of work - I am most pleased when I step away - quite far away actually from the other side of the room and observe how the whole body work together, as
well watch viewers looking at the show and gage their reaction.
One of the most amazing shows I ever saw was Salgados's Migration show at George Eastman House.. there were actually people crying viewing some of these images... I am sure
S Salgodo did not think about perfection, he was showing raw emotion in his prints, and btw there were many defects. But as a whole it was simply an example of an amazing printing session and I
was changed after this wonderful show.

John Kasaian
17-May-2015, 08:01
Just to stir the pot a little more:
GK Chesterton once wrote "Whats worth doing is worth doing poorly."
Meaning that what we call perfection comes at a price, and that price is the dues you pay to acquire the requisite expertise necessary.
It is not only the failures, but the "not quite right" images that teach us problem solving so we can nail it the next time.
I wish I'd kept my very first LF image---a badly over exposed Type 55 POS/NEG of the curb at the Tunnel View in Yosemite(the front standard slipped!)
It was "good enough" to teach me a valuable lesson about taking the time to check that everything is locked down securely.

Bill Burk
17-May-2015, 08:33
After the last batch of prints, one I felt like hanging up by my desk was "good enough" at first.

But after looking at it for a while, I imagine it could have been better printed on a higher grade of paper...

Now, where am I going to get Galerie Grade 4 again?

Bruce Watson
17-May-2015, 08:57
For my personal work, good enough is the best I can do...

+1. Well said.

Richard Wasserman
17-May-2015, 09:40
Just to stir the pot a little more:
GK Chesterton once wrote "Whats worth doing is worth doing poorly."
Meaning that what we call perfection comes at a price, and that price is the dues you pay to acquire the requisite expertise necessary.
It is not only the failures, but the "not quite right" images that teach us problem solving so we can nail it the next time.
I wish I'd kept my very first LF image---a badly over exposed Type 55 POS/NEG of the curb at the Tunnel View in Yosemite(the front standard slipped!)
It was "good enough" to teach me a valuable lesson about taking the time to check that everything is locked down securely.


Ah yes, the concept of failure, a whole other topic unto itself. As Winston Churchill said: "Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm".

For an interesting discussion of how vital failure is to success I highly recommend Sarah Lewis' "The Rise—creativity, the gift of failure, and the search for mastery".

Now back to the regularly scheduled program...

paulr
17-May-2015, 09:41
It means one notch above inadequate and one or two notches below better than necessary.

Randy Moe
17-May-2015, 09:43
I hang my failures on my wall, to study. Some stay a long time.

Vaughn
17-May-2015, 10:01
When I was making silver gelatin prints, 16x20 from 4x5 negs, my initial exposure would be a little light and around 20 seconds. Then I would burn in selected areas for the next 5 to 15 minutes -- almost sculpturing the image. I would work on one image over a 10 to 12 hour period, and about 10 pieces of paper. It was an intense way to work, and working with 16x20 allowed me to visually walk around in the image. I marked each print in sequence and if the negative was well exposed/processed and the vision excellent, I could usually nail it down in 7 sheets and then make three good copies with the last 3 sheets in the pack.

Thankfully I marked the prints. After many years, I am hard pressed to tell the difference between #4 and #10!

mdarnton
17-May-2015, 10:08
For me, "good enough" is that I can walk away and leave it, and not let it eat away at me. When that happens depends on the job and how important it is to me.

Vaughn
17-May-2015, 10:12
It means one notch above inadequate and one or two notches below better than necessary.

Does this mean that better than necessary is good enough for you? ;)

Jac@stafford.net
17-May-2015, 14:46
Good enough for me means no futile pursuits for a perfection that arises from my personal perfectionist angst, practically a pathology, which serves no effective end. As in investing, a thousand second class stocks beat the leader in the long run, although I admit I have not time enough to spend it, nor to be recognized in the deluge, the dilution of our work in art/photography.

DrTang
17-May-2015, 18:42
means I'm bored or tired

Michael Clark
17-May-2015, 19:06
YEP, me too.
means I'm bored or tired

Ray Heath
17-May-2015, 19:48
Photography, and most things in life, are dictated by "good enough".

4x5 is "good enough" even though larger formats are available;
my local landscape is "good enough";
I'm not HCB but I'm "good enough";
my family and friends are "good enough" to make portraits of.

The important thing is not whether its good enough, but what you do with it.

Adrian Pybus
18-May-2015, 01:45
I find you can overwork photos/paintings until you look at the technique used rather than the wanted image.
E.g. the grays in the photograph are so good looking you don't see the picture anymore.

Doremus Scudder
18-May-2015, 02:37
The problem with "good enough" is that we usually use the term when we settle for second best, or simply give up trying to do better when we run out of time, patience or skill. Sure, in an engineering environment, "good enough" means "adequate for the task." This is fine for a lot of types of photography as well.

I'm trying for excellence, however. And, while I realize that "the perfect is the enemy of the good," I like to get to the point where I look at a print and at least say, with a satisfied smile, "that's good!". Better is, "that's excellent!" I don't think it is too much to demand of myself that I do good to excellent work. I think "good enough" is a step below that, so I'll reiterate: for me, "good enough, isn't."

Best,

Doremus

jnanian
18-May-2015, 05:19
there is a difference ( to me at least ) that something is "good enough" versus it is sub par / junk ..

i suppose we all have our standards. we try to make excellent work, and to us, the work we are proud of and display
meets those standards and is "good enough" but to someone else they might roll their eyes and have a different
set of standards, skill set, understanding of the subject, experience with the subject and materials &c so the same thing
that might have been good enough, isn't to them.
when i was in college i took a class through what was called "the ex-college" ( ex= experimental ) it was a class
designed by and taught by students. one of the teachers came to class late one night with 2 drawings, HIS and one done by his professor.
he had been at the museum of fine arts in boston copying a drawing. i remember him unfurling it and showing our class what he had done
it was a charcoal drawing and i have never seen anything like it since ... he spent hours drawing it and then he unfurled the drawing by his teacher ..
done not in hours but in front of him in a very short span of time. what was good enough for the student, and maybe for the teacher were 2 completely different things.
i still keep in touch with the teacher, and a few months ago mentioned this story to him and he chuckled because he didn't remember any of it ... it was just another day at the smfa ..

Jim Jones
18-May-2015, 05:52
In college I would photograph an evening event and next morning present a good variety of 8x10 prints to the publicity department. They would select what they wanted, and I would spot those then and there with a ball point pen. Perhaps no contributor to this thread would consider this good enough for their own work. Yet, in halftone reductions it was more than good enough.

Michael E
18-May-2015, 07:59
Thankfully I marked the prints. After many years, I am hard pressed to tell the difference between #4 and #10!

I should do that, too. It has happened way too many times that I just couldn't tell which one was the "final" print and which was hours earlier in the process... After years of striving for perfection, I try to live by the 80/20 rule now. You get 80% of the end result with only 20% effort. If you want those extra 20% result, you have to put in those extra 80% effort.

BrianShaw
18-May-2015, 08:07
In college I would photograph an evening event and next morning present a good variety of 8x10 prints to the publicity department. They would select what they wanted, and I would spot those then and there with a ball point pen. Perhaps no contributor to this thread would consider this good enough for their own work. Yet, in halftone reductions it was more than good enough.

This is a good point. Standards often are based on the intended usage of the product, not just high-and-mighty idealistic ideals. At some point no amount of time and money expended to make a photo in this scenario better would be worth it... in any way, shape, or form.

Dennis
18-May-2015, 10:03
Good enough is depending on context, but for me in my Pt/Pd printing I jump through several hoops (starting with film exposure and processing) to get the best Dmax I can and the smoothest tones and the proper contrast and avoid mottling and grain. I jump through every useful hoop I can to do the best I can do and if I ever discover another useful hoop I will start jumping through that too.

Dennis

Drew Bedo
19-May-2015, 05:49
There is a lot of discussion on this thread about excellence versus mediocrity. With regard to the finished print, I only show what I consider to be my "best" work. However with regard to the process of photography there is compromise in nearly every step of capturing and creating an image.

There are photographers who apply the zone system with meticulous precision; testing and adjusting and keeping extensive notes. This is an effective creative process. Bless them. With all that, there are things beyond anyone's ability to control. One thing that comes to mind is the variability of mechanical shutters. I could be wrong on this, but I understood that acceptable (achievable) accuracy is considered to be plus-or-minus 20% of the marked setting. Please correct me on this if I am mistaken.

The above deals with hardware. Compromise extends into the subjective area of image creation. This is a medium that can respond effectively to the "Sunny Sixteen Rule" for on the fly exposure calculation. I n a limited number of situations, this in fact may be "good enough". When shooting in the field I do not calculate bellows extension corrections. I know my 150mm and 210mm lenses and my Zone VI. For the 150 I allow 1/3 stop of extra exposure for each inch of extension beyond 6". For the 210, this correction is 1/4 stop per inch beyond 8" (yes, I know that 210mm is more than 8"). This method is not exact but is "good enough" for field work. I know of a photographer who set up the camera standards with a measured stick for hyper focal settings and stops down. His work has been published. For him, that was good enough.

pdh
19-May-2015, 06:28
I'd expect that many folk here - those for whom an unspotted print, for instance, is anathema - would treat my personal "good enough" with derision and contempt.

I'm not a careless worker, but if a photograph does everything that I want it to - compositionally, emotionally, tonally, whateverly - then a scratch or dust doesn't bother me in the slightest.

Having said that, I was showing an acquaintance some salted paper prints recently and she jumped on the scruffiest one and wanted to buy it. I refused because it had just been a test print on a spare scrap of paper.

Hmm.

Still, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds as RWE said :D

Lenny Eiger
19-May-2015, 10:19
This is simply an exercise in talking about a cliche. It gives everyone an opportunity to say "I did my best" while printing, or some other part of the process, or "I don't consider that important enough to fuss over it incessantly." I also fell prey to this. I'm not sure anyone learned anything. I'm surprised (and happy) that people didn't start attacking each other mercilessly. I think this evaluation of a cliche is perhaps not so useful...

Vaughn
19-May-2015, 11:23
Perhaps an evaluation of a cliche is not so useful...:cool:

Vaughn (consistently foolish)

BrianShaw
19-May-2015, 11:38
I'm learning something.

Vaughn
19-May-2015, 11:48
I should do that, too. It has happened way too many times that I just couldn't tell which one was the "final" print and which was hours earlier in the process...

I do not clip the corners of the work print (straight print with no burning/dodging, Print #0). I then clip the upper left corner of the next print (print #1) -- going around clockwise, clipping only the upper right corner for #2. Working around, print #5 would have both upper corners clipped, and so on. Print #9 (and the last one from the pack) will have all four corners clipped. Works for me.

Generally, I was disappointed by what I would see on the work print. But somewhere in the 12 hour printing session, the image would change and come alive in my eyes. I think this is one of the reasons I like printing so much and find it equal to the joy of exposing the film. But it was always a bummer to see the dry prints from one of these sessions and find that none of the prints were good enough. If the problem was fixable, I would print it again. If it was a problem with the original seeing, or if would require too much work, I would put the negative away and print an equally enticing negative instead. Life is too short for shitty negatives.

Iluvmyviewcam
19-May-2015, 19:22
If a photo is good enough to get into a museum it is generally good enough for me...but not in all cases.

Iluvmyviewcam
19-May-2015, 19:24
I do not clip the corners of the work print (straight print with no burning/dodging, Print #0). I then clip the upper left corner of the next print (print #1) -- going around clockwise, clipping only the upper right corner for #2. Working around, print #5 would have both upper corners clipped, and so on. Print #9 (and the last one from the pack) will have all four corners clipped. Works for me.

Generally, I was disappointed by what I would see on the work print. But somewhere in the 12 hour printing session, the image would change and come alive in my eyes. I think this is one of the reasons I like printing so much and find it equal to the joy of exposing the film. But it was always a bummer to see the dry prints from one of these sessions and find that none of the prints were good enough. If the problem was fixable, I would print it again. If it was a problem with the original seeing, or if would require too much work, I would put the negative away and print an equally enticing negative instead. Life is too short for shitty negatives.


Yes, lots of work to get a crapper in shape. I spent 2.5 hours on this one.

nsfw

https://danielteolijr.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/sunlit-slipper-silver-print-vs-inkjet-print-copyright-2013-daniel-d-teoli-jr.jpg

Bill Burk
19-May-2015, 20:28
Generally, I was disappointed by what I would see on the work print. But somewhere in the 12 hour printing session, the image would change and come alive in my eyes. I think this is one of the reasons I like printing so much and find it equal to the joy of exposing the film.

Is this with Carbon?

Anyway, I found your thoughts here valuable... After all... Good enough should be when it comes alive!

Darin Boville
19-May-2015, 21:38
what does good enough mean where you are standing at the moment

It means I'm exhausted and should put things on hold until I've had a bit of rest...

---Darin

LabRat
20-May-2015, 03:51
I think this abstract needs to separated and divided up a bit...

Is there a technical problem one is trying to overcome??? Is the glaring problem something that started before the printing session, like a thin neg, new (old) box of paper or something??? Or something in that session, like a cold developer, prints not snapping due to overused developer, etc??? These are problems that are affecting the outcome, and there is a solution somewhere...

I find that with a good neg, all the other ducks-in-a-row, and consistent process, wet printing should be fairly straightforward... If something looks weird, there is a problem somewhere...

Is it just that you don't like it??? That's another matter...

Maybe you have never printed that neg before... Maybe you expect the print to look like something else??? I think that at that point it's a good idea not to beat it into your submission, but to go through one's normal process, not to make the final call on the fly, but wash/dry it, move on to the next print, and see if what you dislike carried over... Before it makes 'you nuts, (and you waste a lot of material) put it aside for a few days without looking at it, and then take a fresh look at it when you are not so tired... It's new, and has a personality of it's own...

Often before truly drying (like 48hrs, then hot pressed flat in a dry mount press), some DWFB papers don't have a good bite/mushy tones/blacks not solid/highlights to light etc...

And maybe your mood is coloring what you see...

My usual big mistake is choosing a more difficult neg to start my session with to get it out of the way... So if I have trouble with it, I've started the session hammering on my own brain, and likely to make me feel irritated for the rest of the session (and cloud my vision)... Now had I warmed up with the easy negs, I'd be more in the zone during the workout and more confident finding a solution to the harder negs... And have more good prints to show for it in the end because I got into the zone early... Not just that one tough print at the end...

Yes, I respect and practice pre-visualization, but a important milestone for me is that I realize that I don't control the process, it controls me... That is, I create an environment the best way I can for the processes to do their thing during the "birthing" stage, but it will find it's own potentials... But I help it along, give it what it needs to grow, and I hopefully have the experience to second guess it while it grows... (Like plants or children) And it's important to be able to know when to walk away from it because IT reached it's potential...

Good enough??? I think it's like rolling a rock up a hill... You have to roll it as high up as you can, because it will roll back down on 'ya, but maybe it will end up in a OK place you are cool with...


Steve K

Vaughn
20-May-2015, 11:13
Is this with Carbon?...

No, this was with silver gelatin printing, up to about 1992. But 99% of my printing sessions for the past 30 years go from about 8 or 9 in the evening, then through the night.

A carbon printing session will see me make about 8 exposures over the 12 hours. Exposure times under the UV lights are 1 to 2 hours and I have a couple exposing at a time. I spent two years printing carbons before getting prints "good enough" (pre-internet fora, so I was learning on my own and a magazine article). Then perhaps I would get one or two 'keepers' per printing session -- but many times none...many many prints were not 'good enough'...if I managed to get a print at all.

But the way I approach an image is totally different now that I am carbon printing and platinum printing. All that burning, dodging, and creative work I did under the enlarger lamp with silver printing I now do as part as the act of seeing when I compose on the GG. My carbon and platinum prints are full frame with no dodging or burning. I reject a lot of my negatives because they were not seen good enough, and/or not technically good enough (exposure, contrast, focus, etc).

Peter Spangenberg
21-May-2015, 15:58
I have this Stieglitz quote pinned up in my darkroom:
"Nearly right is child's play."
I can't count the times that quote has resulted in me going to bed to take a fresh look the next day.