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Thread: Ansel Adam's books...what version??

  1. #21

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    Re: Ansel Adam's books...what version??

    Ansel Adam's books are I believe a must for a serious photographer to own and read. But they are a bit dated... When's the last time that you saw Super-XX film or Kodak Azo paper on a your photo dealer's shelves for FS? Other books that very much supplement Adam's books...

    photography: CONTROL & CREATIVITY by T.L Bollman and G.E. Dewolfe: I am bias a bit in that I took some of G.E. DeWolfe classes at RIT. His Sheet Film Attenuator construction is totally well worth the effort, and you only have to construct one to use with all the sheet films you will ever use. Doesn't really cover in depth what to do with your results though. Using the attenuator to calibrate both films and papers left out. Good precursor for Gassan's book.

    Beyond the Zone System by Phil Davis 4th edition: I think the best book on the Zone system. First edition of the book I found to be a little long winded. 4th edition much better. IMO the one to get if you only have one book covering the Zone System.
    ZONE SYSTEM FOR FINE B&W PHOTOGRAPHY by John Schaefer: not worth it IMO.

    handbook for contemporary Photography by Arnold Gassan: High point is the "Advanced Control" chapter. I believe that it was possibly the first publication to address sensitometrically testing of films.

    A Zone System for all Formats by Joseph Saltzer: Great general overview of everything including darkroom construction, the enlarging lens, print spotting and I could go on and on and on... More of a really great general reference book and not a guide.

    THE PRACTICAL ZONE SYSTEM by Chris Johnson: Good but doesn't cover sensitometry. Includes 2 zone system testing methods, but both I find too general for my liking.

    THE NEW ZONE SYSTEM MANUAL by Ehite, Zakia, and Lorenz: To me just an updated (1976) version of Minor White's original book. Excellent chapter on sensitometry, "The Graphs of Sensitometry"

    ZONE SYSTEM MANUAL by MINOR WHITE. A classic on the subject. If you follow the book and do all the darkroom work that he describes, you will indeed master the Zone System, but it will take you a lot and I mean a really lot of commitment and time. Using Step Tablets and a transmission densitometer will cut your darkroom time down by at least 95%... In the 1970s when I was a student at RIT followed Minor's prodigal... took me 2 semesters to complete.

    I acquired all the above books as each one came out so paid list price for them. I bet one could acquire the completer collection, except for photography: CONTROL & CREATIVITY by T.L Bollman and G.E. Dewolfe (because of its limited publication) for under $50.

    Comments and additions most welcome and I'm sure would be helpful for other FORUM members

    Greg

  2. #22
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Ansel Adam's books...what version??

    It should be pointed out that at Saint Ansel's suggestion, John Schaeffer updated the books to their latest incarnation, a two-volume set. It's been used as the text in a lot of college photo classes, so it's usually pretty cheap used and very, very good:

    https://www.amazon.com/Ansel-Adams-G...0841027&sr=8-1
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  3. #23

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    Re: Ansel Adam's books...what version??

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    It should be pointed out that at Saint Ansel's suggestion, John Schaeffer updated the books to their latest incarnation, a two-volume set. It's been used as the text in a lot of college photo classes, so it's usually pretty cheap used and very, very good:

    https://www.amazon.com/Ansel-Adams-G...0841027&sr=8-1
    Good to know, I didn't. There's just something about looking on my bookshelf and seeing AA's first printings up there residing by a 1967 first printing of White's ZONE SYSTEM MANUAL. AA's dust jackets torn and worn and same goes for White's SB and I'm proud of that....

  4. #24
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Ansel Adam's books...what version??

    Well, it often becomes unnecessarily overcomplicated when a beginner tries to pre-load too much technical what-if information up front. Basic conceptual steps need to be taken hand-in-hand with practical darkroom experimentation. It's entirely possible for one to be a great photographer and printmaker and to have never read a single one of those books. History proves that. When you need technical help, get it; but don't get all tangled up in a bunch of weeds and barbed wire doing so!

  5. #25
    Jim Graves Jim Graves's Avatar
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    Re: Ansel Adam's books...what version??

    I agree with Drew ... on the recommendation of my National Geographic photo-editor nephew ... I got ... and read ... all three Adams volumes and almost gave up photography. WAY, WAY too much technical information!

    I buried them in the back of my bookcase and just went out and shot, developed, and printed.

    They are great references BUT only if used sparingly, as needed, after you've gotten your feet under you. Way too intimidating for beginners.

  6. #26
    Do or do not. There is no try.
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    Re: Ansel Adam's books...what version??

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    <snip>...

    photography: CONTROL & CREATIVITY by T.L Bollman and G.E. Dewolfe: I am bias a bit in that I took some of G.E. DeWolfe classes at RIT. His Sheet Film Attenuator construction is totally well worth the effort, and you only have to construct one to use with all the sheet films you will ever use. Doesn't really cover in depth what to do with your results though. Using the attenuator to calibrate both films and papers left out. Good precursor for Gassan's book.

    </snip>

    I acquired all the above books as each one came out so paid list price for them. I bet one could acquire the completer collection, except for photography: CONTROL & CREATIVITY by T.L Bollman and G.E. Dewolfe (because of its limited publication) for under $50.

    Comments and additions most welcome and I'm sure would be helpful for other FORUM members

    Greg
    Since you say this book is hard to find, could you summarize the "Sheet Film Attenuator"? Is it a home-made step wedge, or something more?

  7. #27

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    Re: Ansel Adam's books...what version??

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    Beyond the Zone System by Phil Davis 4th edition: I think the best book on the Zone system. First edition of the book I found to be a little long winded. 4th edition much better. IMO the one to get if you only have one book covering the Zone System.
    ZONE SYSTEM FOR FINE B&W PHOTOGRAPHY by John Schaefer: not worth it IMO.


    Greg
    After you get done pulling your hair out get Phil's book. Once you get over the 1 stop = one zone you will make progress. TEST PAPER FIRST, then you know what neg to make. If you are shooting Fp-4 you can develop with Night vision goggles. No need for three boxes when traveling.

  8. #28
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Ansel Adam's books...what version??

    Still too complicated. How the heck do you know what paper you even like till you've done some printing already? I work with multiple papers, multiple kinds of films, several developers, multiple types of enlargers, and numerous films and papers have changed even within my darkroom lifetime. I have exceptional quality control in development. But every single negative needs to be approached differently if you want to make the most of it. THERE IS NO SILVER BULLET !!! I've done hundreds of densitometer plots, learned the Zone System long ago, and also learned its limitations. So yeah, I have done a lot of hard technical homework. But what is far more important is just learning how to make telling test strips for each specific scenario. It's fast and inexpensive. But behind that you need a reasonably versatile negative to begin with, not one straightjacketed to a single paper type. But I doubt anyone really does that.

  9. #29

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    Re: Ansel Adam's books...what version??

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Goldstein View Post
    Since you say this book is hard to find, could you summarize the "Sheet Film Attenuator"? Is it a home-made step wedge, or something more?
    Per the book:
    Attenuators for sheet films holders have a suggested range of .05 to 6.05, or 20 stops, although this is much more than is ever likely needed.
    2 slots are cut in a spare dark slide
    A No. 2 Step tablet is cut lengthwise into two strips 1/2 inch wide
    The strips are centered over the slots in the dark slide.
    One of the strips is covered with strips cut from a 3.0 ND gel filter.
    The dark slide attenuator is then used with the emulsion side of the strips toward the lens.

    Expose films using the attenuator and plot the densities for different developers and developing times per the Gassan book.

    Per my experience:
    It is hard to glue the edges of the step tablet inside the rectangular openings without some light sneaking by the edges of the step tablets. For mine I took an 8x10 dark slide and cut 12 square 7/8" openings. Filed down the edges of the openings, and inserted 1" square ND filters (none, 0.3, 0.6, 0.9, 1.2, etc) into the openings. Since the edges of the opening are filed down, the ND filters sit recessed over the openings. Glued the gel filters on their edges with Elmers glue with added Lamp Black Gouache. This dark slide gave me a 12 stop range. Gels used do not have to be optically perfect by any means.

  10. #30
    William Whitaker's Avatar
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    Re: Ansel Adam's books...what version??

    It was Ansel's writing as much as his photographs that first got me interested in photography.

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