The Zone System is a framework
That allows us to convert captured luminance values
To the values as we want them to be
Values that match our visualization of the subject
The above is a paraphrase of this quote by Ansel Adams.
As long as we must be able to work from a range of subject luminances that are to be represented as we want them to be by a range of gray values (or color values) in a print, the Zone System seems certain to provide an extremely useful framework.
As you read these posts, recognize that Ansel Adams’ images -
Reflected what he felt and
Not a literal reflection of reality
Even though he is often thought of as the paragon of
Realistic, straight photography
Nothing is further from the truth
as he himself stated repeatedly
Reality vs. his images, in his words -
….creativity in photography lies between….a literal interpretation….and freely interpreting it in highly subjective “departures from reality.”
My work is frequently regarded as “realistic” while in fact….my photographs are far from a literal translation of actuality.
The following 14 posts explain the three main elements of the Zone System -
- Image capture
- Image processing (development for film)
Where necessary, adaptations for digital are mentioned.
Some Parts are renumbered & appear in a different order than when originally posted.
For example, Part 1 below was originally labeled Part 0 and appeared after Part 5.
Don’t let this confuse you. Focus on the words after the dash (-).
The above cover the basic essentials. The internet can more than fill in any holes.
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