Basic Daylight Exposure Question

JerryPH

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Messages
6,111
Reaction score
15
Location
Montreal, QC, Canada
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Actually, I used to wonder a LOT about that. One can stumble and try to understand intuitively, but when properly explained becomes concrete info ready to be used. Once I learned about the Zone System, I learned to gauge my exposures pretty consistently even before I raise the camera to my eye.

I'm still practicing. The "system", but it can be learned in a couple of hours... practicing takes a little more.

I picked this up:
http://www.photoshopcafe.com/video/products/zones.htm

This is, again, one of those valuable little jewels that every photographer should have, yet so few know about.
 

Overread

has a hat around here somewhere
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
25,369
Reaction score
4,940
Location
UK - England
Website
www.deviantart.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
hmm I heard about the zone system somewhere else - thanks for the link Jerry
edit - drat it costs...........*needs more monies in life - needs to find that money tree*
 

JerryPH

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Messages
6,111
Reaction score
15
Location
Montreal, QC, Canada
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Yeah, its not free unfortunately, but it is well worth it. There is also a ton of "free" info out there on it. I just googled it and if you wanted to pull it together from various sources, it is possible.

Google Links
 
OP
G

gabrielh

TPF Noob!
Joined
Oct 24, 2008
Messages
62
Reaction score
0
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Thanks everyone! :)
 

ksmattfish

Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still
Joined
Aug 25, 2003
Messages
7,019
Reaction score
36
Location
Lawrence, KS
Website
www.henrypeach.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
hmm I heard about the zone system somewhere else - thanks for the link Jerry
edit - drat it costs...........*needs more monies in life - needs to find that money tree*

Get it straight from the horse's mouth. Buy a used copy of Ansel Adams' "The Negative". There are dirt cheap copies in used bookstores and Amazon.
 

JerryPH

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Messages
6,111
Reaction score
15
Location
Montreal, QC, Canada
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Get it straight from the horse's mouth. Buy a used copy of Ansel Adams' "The Negative". There are dirt cheap copies in used bookstores and Amazon.

There are 3 different books/levels of it. I presume all 3 are the complete info?

[ame]http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=The+Negative[/ame]
 

Steph

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Oct 18, 2006
Messages
1,314
Reaction score
0
Location
Steventon, Oxfordshire, UK
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Woah!! This thread went from basic daylight exposure to Ansel Adam's zone system. To the OP, ksmattfish's links are a much better start then Ansel Adam's books. Whatever people say, Ansel Adam's zone system (and how it applies to digital photography) is not straightforward to understand and implement.
 

JerryPH

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Messages
6,111
Reaction score
15
Location
Montreal, QC, Canada
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Adam's zone system (and how it applies to digital photography) is not straightforward to understand and implement.

I do not know if it does or not, however the links to the video tutorials that I gave above (not the amazon links to Ansel's books), are very specific to digital photography, as you can likely tell from my talks about it and referencing the 18% grey comments several times.
 

Steph

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Oct 18, 2006
Messages
1,314
Reaction score
0
Location
Steventon, Oxfordshire, UK
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I do not know if it does or not, however the links to the video tutorials that I gave above (not the amazon links to Ansel's books), are very specific to digital photography, as you can likely tell from my talks about it and referencing the 18% grey comments several times.

Agreed. My post referred to the last 2 posts above mine (the ones about Ansel Adam's books).
 

ksmattfish

Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still
Joined
Aug 25, 2003
Messages
7,019
Reaction score
36
Location
Lawrence, KS
Website
www.henrypeach.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
The zone system can get pretty technical in the darkroom, but my suggestion is to read up on it more to use as a way of considering and planning tonal relationships in the creation of a photograph. If you are a digital shooter skip the darkroom details, and just concentrate on the mental aspects. The other books in the series have lots of good info: the first one is all about how film cameras work, and the third is all about silver gelatin prints. Sets of all three can probably be found just as cheap, but the zone system info is mainly in book two. I suggested the book because there was mention of paying for info, and I know there are a million used copies of AA's books going for cheap out there.

It is true that there are also a lot of free websites discussing the zone system, and how to apply the concepts to digital. Just google "digital zone system".
 

SilverGlow

TPF Noob!
Joined
Oct 21, 2008
Messages
95
Reaction score
0
Location
Orange County, Calif
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Someone said one must expose so that the exposure is right on. Another said to expose for the mid tones. I think for digital raw capture, both ways are wrong. For raw digital, exposing for the midtones means bye, bye details in the shadows. Remember, the shadows show manytimes less tonal graduations then the highlights, so it doesn't take much to squash away the details in the shadows. In addition, exposing for the midtones means a more likelyhood of noise.

I and other pros and advance amatuers have found that when shooting raw, it is very beneficial to expose to the right of the histogram, then to "normalize" the shadows during post processing. This provides several benefits:

1. Expands the dynamic range.
2. minimizes noise in the shadows.
3. Maximizes subtle details and nuances in the shadows.

The biggest mistake people make is to use film exposure truisms with digital. Perhaps when shooting jpg those film truisms are not so bad, especially when using slide film exposure strategies. Raw is a different story.

With digital raw, the worse thing one can do is apply film like exposure practices. In summary, expose to the right with judicious blowing of highlights in elements that donn't matter (not the subject), and when you do this, don't be disheartened if the raw image looks blah, flat, lacking contrast, lacking saturation...because often the best captured raw images will look like this, but the up take is that those same blah images will be the best foundation for starting the post processing.

The goal of raw is never to get the exposure "perfect" as one would do with film. The point of raw is to capture the must image details across the entire histogram and to do this one must often "lift" the histogram values to the right, and often these images will look flat and blah, lacking punch, but that's okay. They often are supposed to look blah.

Once mastered in post processing, raw images exposed as I describe will be freakin awesome, contrasty, punchy, and often awesome.
 

Most reactions

New Topics

Top