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12-11-2007, 11:37 AM   #1
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Question about Ansel Adams books

I'm interested in learning how to process my own film, and I always hear about Ansel Adams being one of the great processors.

So I'm hoping on buying one or more of his books, and doing a little research.

Is there any that you'd recommend over the others?

Plus are there any more books that you'd recommend me getting at the same time.

I should mention that I'll be working mostly with B&W, but might cross over to the dark side of color from time to time.

Thanks
Stu

12-11-2007, 11:48 AM   #2
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He wrote a 3 book series, the camera, the negative, and the print. I have heard they are great, either the negative, or the print, or possibly both talk about processing in the dark room.
12-11-2007, 12:15 PM   #3
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i highly suggest buying The Camera, The Negative, and The Print, and reading them all. they serve to refresh you on things you may have forgotten, or teach you things that you didn't know in the first place. they apply to digital as well as film, also, so it's not like it's only useful for one or the other
12-11-2007, 06:58 PM   #4
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Thank you very much,
I guess that I'll be shopping for a few books next week

I've actually never worked in a dark room, however my local camera store owner will be giving me a lesson or 2. I'll have fun taking it from there.

12-11-2007, 07:11 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by little laker Quote
Thank you very much,
I guess that I'll be shopping for a few books next week

I've actually never worked in a dark room, however my local camera store owner will be giving me a lesson or 2. I'll have fun taking it from there.
These are three superb books. You should be able to read them from your lending library while waiting to find them to purchase.
12-11-2007, 07:18 PM   #6
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Thanks Albert,
I'll see if they have them, if I have the time to read them before they arrive.
12-11-2007, 08:39 PM   #7
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My understanding and recollection is Ansel diagrammed out the dodging and burning areas and printing exposure times and gave them to his darkroom printer.
12-11-2007, 09:11 PM   #8
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They are indeed great books...part instruction, part art appreciation, part philosophy. Beware of color, though. It is an entirely different kettle of fish.

12-11-2007, 11:07 PM   #9
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With all the examples of his work, philosophical discussion, instruction and anecdotes, even if one never touches developer, these are great books to have. I think Ansel would have loved working with RAW!
12-12-2007, 04:56 PM   #10
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I have all three also. My copy of 'The Print' is a first edition. Highly recommended even for the digital darkroom.
12-14-2007, 10:35 PM   #11
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I have all 3 but would recommend getting something else to start with. Any basic one will do. Kodak actually published a good one. Buy a A.A. picture book for inspiration for now and then The Negative and The Print later once you understand some basics. Not sure The Camera would be of great value as it uses language applicable to View cameras. Alternatively, Ilford used to have lots of step by step instructions on their website but now they are known as someone else (Harman Technology... website is http://www.ilfordphoto.com) Have a browse around that.
12-15-2007, 01:23 PM   #12
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You might also want to get involved with Ansel's Zone system of determining exposure. He did quite a lot with getting the overall exposure balanced to the tonal range available to the film. Since he shot mostly in B&W - he "saw" shades of grey that only experience can provide.
For a simplified zone method - you can go here - the guy is a little over the top, but the information is not all that unreasonable.
Zone System: Digital / 35mm / Medium Format!

A another set of books that covers the extreme basics of film, exposure and print is the Time/Life series on Photography. Check out the local library, they may have copies. I have assisted in the building of three darkrooms, two pure b&w the other color (still have the Beseller 23c color head enlarger). I also have a set of Kodak data sheets for the films I used (Plus-X and Tri-X -- in 100 foot rolls), plus some of their "how to" technical books. Hard to find now - if they even exist.

I for one miss three things from a real darkroom.
1. The thrill of watching an image come up off of a blank sheet of paper.
2. Real dodging.
3. Real Burning.

Get coated paper - it will not absorb the chemicals - look into methods of recovering the silver. But most of all enjoy what you are doing.

The Elitist - formerly known as PDL
12-16-2007, 12:31 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the replies, they are all very helpful.

I'll be picking up a couple of books in the next few days, and doing a fair amount of research.
I'm really hoping that I can start producing some nice results soon.

It looks like I'll have the use of the local camera stores room for a short while anyways.
They haven't used it for anything other than storage in several years, and made the offer.

It sounds like the owner will even show me the basics and let me go from there
12-16-2007, 08:25 PM   #14
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Another very good book, if you can find a copy, is "Black and White Photography-A Basic Manual- by Henry Horenstein. It is written in a very easy to understand format and covers a lot of territory.

Cheers,

Phil
12-16-2007, 11:13 PM   #15
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The truth.

You can learn to develop film from the package inserts and the data sheets found on various manufacturers websites. Starting with the Adams' books is a good way to waste a lot of materials and time. It's doubtful that more than 5% of the readers of The Camera, The Negative or The Print have the prerequisites or intelligence to begin with the Zone System. And four of five of those will endlessly cycle until they give up in frustration.

If you can find a copy of Kodak's Black and White Darkroom dataguide, you will have all the basics and a lot of out-of-date info that's at least interesting. They make a color guide as well, but you would do well to forget about that process for a good long time. After a couple dozen rolls of B&W you might ---no, you will have better luck with processing color slides anyway.

There is more information in Anchell's film and darkroom cookbooks about actual analog workflow than all the reprints of the Adams trilogy combined. Don't go the way of the ignorant snobbish elite, get stuff that starts with mix powder A with 700ml of water at 102 degrees F or similar. Forget the dodging and burning, the multi-contrast filtration etc, at least until you soup a few rolls and make a few prints.

Hell, forget the books entirely. Get a couple of good stainless steel tanks, the thick diameter wire spools to match (pro-grade), 2 daylight changing bags, thermometer, graduated beaker and solution bottles and I'll walk you through the entire film process in 500 words or less.

{one time offer}

QuoteOriginally posted by little laker Quote
I'm interested in learning how to process my own film, and I always hear about Ansel Adams being one of the great processors.

So I'm hoping on buying one or more of his books, and doing a little research.

Is there any that you'd recommend over the others?

Plus are there any more books that you'd recommend me getting at the same time.

I should mention that I'll be working mostly with B&W, but might cross over to the dark side of color from time to time.

Thanks
Stu
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