Hi calling over from Blurt it. Really enjoyed your site, with best wishes, The Artist
Great article, nice to get a primer on the zone system. Helped me decide to buy the book by the master.Thanks!
HiNice blog.Best regardLéonardhttp://www.photographemariage.fr
Great article. I attended the Weston Workshop back in the eighties. I was An Air Force Photographer in those days. I now paint Portraits and realistic Land & Sea Scapes. I have been experiementing with using the zone system in translating to color for paint. Have you ever heard of anyone trying this. I have a few projects in mind next year in attempting to paint some images in the grays scale (using the Zone System) as my guide palet. SO keep it up it helps me review some long lost knowledge. Tom.email@example.com
hi very good blogphotographe mariagehttp://www.mariagephotographe.fr
I was looking for a nice concise article to forward on to someone who had a question about this topic. You've posted a really good, clear and practical explanation - thanks!
A really interesting photographic article. I am a great admirer of Ansell Adams and his landscape pictures.
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Hi, all --Adapting Zone System to digital photography has fascinated me ever since I got my first dSLR camera back in '06. Forever a fan of Ansel Adams, I was not able to experiment with his Zone System in my younger days as I never had access to a sheet film or changeable-back camera. But, I figured, digital photography would at last allow me to experiment with his famous technique.I've read Adams' books, The Negative and The Print, so I think I have a fair idea of the objectives of his technique. And I have taken numerous courses in digital photography over the past four years, so I feel reasonably competent in the discipline, though certainly not expert. Now, let me test my understanding of Zone System with you, here in this forum (your feedback will be appreciated).Adams' Zone System has two components; "Previsualization," and carefully controlled exposure and development. Previsualization means that the photographer develops a mental picture of the "look" (tonality) of the final print before the exposure is made. Largely, this amounts to determining the darkest and lightest areas in the scene that will need to show detail in the negative (these would be Zones III and VII). If the metered values for these areas are more or less than four f-stops apart (assuming a film dynamic range of nine stops), then exposure and development are adjusted to compensate. The operative expression for this process is, "expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights."This yields a negative that has neither blown highlights nor blocked shadows, and at the same time utilizes the entire range of film density. In digital terms, one might say, "all the data is present."Once, at an exhibit of Adams' work, I saw displayed on a light table a copy of the negative for his famous Moonlight, Hernandez image. On the wall behind it was a straight print from the negative. It looked quite ordinary, I think we would probably all agree. Next to the "ordinary" print was an informal portrait of Adams posing in front of one of his prints of the same image. It was spectacular!The difference between the two prints was Adams' consummate darkroom artistry. The man was the master of dodge and burn and all the other techniques of photo print production.To me, this display demonstrated that the entire purpose of Zone System is to produce a negative with all the needed data. It is the print that will become the ultimate realization of the "previsualized" image. Ansel Adams himself said, comparing a photograph to music, "The negative is the score, the print is the performance."Now, I want to apply this approach to my digital images. No negative is involved here, so what tools do I need to accomplish Zone System objectives? Well, actually, not too many: Photoshop, of course, and setting my camera for raw capture, and lastly, HDRI blending of exposure sequences.Using raw capture (which provides at least 12 bits-per-pixel of tone depth) allows me to expand the dynamic range of an image without introducing posterization (or "banding"). I do this by adjusting the white-point and black-point sliders of PS levels, or the equivalent by adjusting PS curves.I can capture scenes having a wide dynamic range by taking sequences of exposures (three to five exposures, using a tripod, of course, and taken in steps of two f-stops). This way, I am able to capture the details I want in both highlights and shadows. I can then blend these images using Adobe PS (HDR), or an HDRI program like Photomatix. This produces a digital image without blocked shadows or blown highlights.Using these tools, I believe I am able to capture digital images that accomplish the objectives of the Zone System and give me a good starting point for producing dramatic prints similar to those of Ansel Adams.Let me know what you think:rgkreis at gmail dot com.-- Richard
Great info! A belated happy Thanksgiving to you and your readers, and a pleasant holiday shopping season.
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