Enthusiasm in photography does not really qualify you to write about it. From the essay:
When Ansel was dissatisfied and decided to make his own tests, he discovered that he got much better results using a different ISO. He typically rated Tri-X somewhere between ISO 160 and ISO 240 based on testing each emulsion according to his own methodology for testing film. This gave him far superior shadow detail versus using the film according to the manufacturer's specifications. He also discovered that using dilutions, agitating procedures and processing times that were quite different from the manufacturer's specifications he got better results. Finally, he developed (pun intended!) fixing and rinsing procedures for better archival permanence of the original negatives.
But the methodology needed to be refined further. This is a long story and there is not enough space in a short essay to go through it all. To summarize: As we all know, after many years of hard work, this culminated in the invention of the Zone System. Working with the Zone System one often ends up with complete departures in ISO settings, exposure (versus the standard exposure indicated by a light meter) and development times that are drastically different from the manufacturer's recommendations.
Ansel Adams himself states that his work is just applied sensitometry. He actually took the work of others to formulate the Zone system. He says the Zone System was just an attempt to help photographers visualize the relationship between exposure and development. He, unlike the author, credits his work along side Fred Archer. All of the factors the author states that Adams used, agitation etc., were known before the Zone System. Adams admits to reading the work.
As far as single development recommendations, Kodak actually does not do that in their data sheet and the large volume of material they released to help photographers. If you understand film processing and tone reproduction, you also understand the what the published speed is. The large-format Tri-X I ever used was rated at 320 ISO by Kodak. If you understand the idea is a personal exposure index as Adams did, simply the shutter/lens/development combination can easily get you to working at lower ISOs. That does not invalidate the published speed. It also ignores all the publications Kodak made that states recommended film speed is based on certain criteria and how the criteria changes that.
While the author is correct that it is important to control the photographic process, he seems to be creating myths around photographers at the same time and giving a very distorted view of Ansel's contribution at the expense of others.
I am glad Mark enjoys photography and I am glad he has found a frame in which to define it for himself. However, this is simply a personal frame. I see no historical basis for his claims--how does he explain how Horst became one of the greatest fashion photographers when his fist job he got he never even used a camera, I believe the employer was Paris Vogue. There are all levels of technical skills in the work of photographers that are historically important.
I also do not see what he sees as "obvious" conclusions. I prefer the snow image with the "dimple." I do not find his canyon image very natural--the colors are over saturated. Nor can he claim that the highlights in his sand shot actually "make" the shot.
This article would have been better if he constrained it to what he personally does and likes. Invoking others to try to support his opinions does disservice to those photographers.