Examples Zone System Applications

The idea for this appendix was inspired by my favorite Ansel Adams' book, Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs. In this classic, Ansel describes in great detail, and with thoughtful autobiographical comments, how he created many of his greatest images. His book allows one to begin to understand the complexities of his creative process and the role the Zone System played in making his photography masterful.

Contrary to some misconceptions, the Zone System is an extremely versatile tool with applications in many areas of photographic practice. This section demonstrates how you can apply the Zone System to color, architectural, digital, studio, figurative, and documentary photography.

Five participating photographers were asked to describe in their own words how the Zone System contributed to the creation of their images. These statements represent very personal approaches and illustrate how, with experience, the Zone System can be adapted to a wide range of photographic problems.

The common denominator in all these examples is previsualization. The ability to use the Zone Scale to form a mental image of your final print before taking the picture is a powerful creative advantage. Once the image is previsualized, the problem of how to achieve the desired result depends on the nature of the shooting circumstances and your materials.

My example of photographing with an automatic camera using color film is intentionally very far from the conventional approach, but it demonstrates the Zone System's flexibility.

I would like to thank Christine Alicino, David Bayles, Dan Burkholder, Judy Dater, Robert Bruce Langham III, and Julio Mitchel for their generosity and cooperation in preparing these examples.

Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Compared to film cameras, digital cameras are easy to use, fun and extremely versatile. Every day there’s more features being designed. Whether you have the cheapest model or a high end model, digital cameras can do an endless number of things. Let’s look at how to get the most out of your digital camera.

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