This Made Me Chuckle


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Wynn Bullock and the Zone System as Told by Edna Bullock

Wynn Bullock was a contemporary and good friend of Ansel Adams. While Wynn was renowned for his print quality, he rarely used a light meter and when he did it was in the most rudimentary fashion—aim at the subject and take a reading.

Ansel was often seen coercing Wynn to learn the Zone System. Finally, Wynn acquiesced and purchased a spot meter and densitometer. Ansel told him what to do, and Wynn began testing his materials.

Wynn’s darkroom was in the basement of his home which was accessed by wooden stairs outside the back door of the house. One day his wife, Edna, was in a back room working on a project of her own. She heard Wynn clumping up the stairs from the dark- room, the back door thrown open, and then the sound of “clunk and clang” as Wynn tossed something into the circular metal trash can next to the back door.

She then heard him say, “To hell with this damn testing! I’m going out and make some pictures!”

After he had stormed off with his camera and tripod Edna went to see what he had thrown away. There in the trash can was Wynn’s spot meter and densitometer. She fished them out and later Wynn gave them to Ansel.


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Over the years, I've read somewhere that Brett Weston did something similar...he tried to use a light meter once, decided it was wrong and never used it, again! Loved your story about Mr. Bullock.