It's the essence of photography, isn't it. Light and shade. Given the right quantities of each the subject matter is almost unimportant. It's what I've been concentrating on for the last six months or so with varying degrees of success.
As I've said before, it's not always easy to weigh up a scene and decide if there's likely to be an image left once the detail has been stripped away and there are only a few elements left in the picture. When looking through negatives of landscapes, it can be tricky deciding which one works and which one doesn't especially if there are some of those "marginal" (semi-failures would be another way to put it!) frames.
With the more graphic photographs I've found that the cut off point between good and bad is much more clearly delineated. I can almost have a quick glance at them and throw the marginal ones straight in the bin. But, while it's easy enough to see if I've been successful when looking at 2D negatives, viewing the 3D, detail-rich scene doesn't give me quite the same clarity.
I've sometimes wondered if I should get one of those monochrome viewing filters that reduce the colour in a scene to assist with black and white visualisations. It might help to see the areas of tone more clearly without detail getting in the way.
I suppose a similar effect could be achieved by carrying a small digital camera with the contrast set high and taking a picture of the scene before committing it to film. I've used the iPhone on a few occasions when using large format as a similar sort of aid. The angle of view of the iPhone lens seems to be roughly similar to what a 40mm lens would see on the 35mm format.
Happily, that coincides quite well with the 127mm Ektar lens I have for the 5x4 Speed Graphic or, as I found out earlier in the week, the 90mm Angulon on quarter plate film. Sometimes, the corner of the large format ground glass is so dim that it's not always easy to see what's at the edges of the frame. By sitting the iPhone on top of the camera I can take a pic of more or less the same scene (at least in the horizontal plane) and work out what's what by using the iPhone screen as a reference.
The pics here are from different rolls, one shot on the Leica and the others on the OM2n. The middle one is the Summicron shot in case you're wondering. As good as the Leica is, there's no way I'd have got the picture of the nettles growing inside an old tyre with it. Close-ups like this are where the 50mm f2 Zuiko macro excels, as you might expect from its name.
It's great being able to go seamlessly from a landscape photograph to something just inches from the front of the lens without breaking sweat. And it's one of the main reasons rangefinders and SLRs have co-existed for decades.