Previous parts of this series addressed
Visualizing your image followed by
Exposure during capture to match your vision
Now it’s time to finish the job
A critical & challenging step when developing film
Just as critical but easier in digital
Pre & Post
Above & below – Wikipedia
We’ve completed the first two steps – visualization & capture
The final step, post-processing, finishes the job
Post-visualization (recalling your vision from the 1st two steps)
Using post-processing to match the capture to your vision
This final step was a huge undertaking with film
It involved choice of chemistry and paper among other things
This was a large part of what the Zone System addressed
With digital post-processing the task is much easier in every respect
Matching the capture to our vision -
The capture may not match our vision completely
Recall Ansel Adams’ Aspen photo from the Visualization post
He handled the important part of his tonal vision, shadows,
By metering during capture
The brighter tones, in particular the important aspen leaves,
Fell tone-wise where ever the shadow metering dictated
Placing the leaf tones where Adams visualized was
Left to later in the wet-darkroom
You can’t get all tones to match your vision during capture
At least not always
What tonal values are most important?
All else being equal, most important are the tones that are
The ones most difficult to recover in post-capture
Film shooters exposed for shadows and
Left the highlights fall where they may
Highlights were easier to deal with during development
The opposite is, in general, true for digital
Expose for highlights & recover shadow in post
Adjusting tonality in digital post-processing
Photo processing programs offer a myriad of tone adjustment options
We’ll look at some in the next post but first a reminder -
The tones you think you see may be an illusion
If you think you’re seeing gray
and you want to make it white (lighter)
but it’s actually already white
That’s a problem!
Three suggestions for dealing with the problem -
1. Practice by shooting a lot (AA’s advice in the visualization post)
2. Find a program that can display where each piece of your image falls tone-wise
Even better if it shows in which of the Zone System’s 11 zones various image areas lie
3. “Wing it”
I can’t help with the first suggestion except to remind you that practice is key to almost everything in photography
As for the 2nd, the next post will demonstrate how AA may have felt Silver Efex Pro 2 was the answer to his prayers
And – #3, I’m sure that’s what happened in many darkrooms
If it looks & feels good….
Tomorrow – Showing where (which zones) the areas of an image are located
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