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Getting Bright Whites Right


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5 replies to this topic

#1
ScottinPollock

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Now a days I am quite a ways from a white sand beach, but we do get plenty of snow here. For the longest time I was never happy with my OOC snow picts, which I ended up having to tweak in post, but often times not having the shadow details I wanted.

Last year I came across Ansel Adams' zone system, and have been wanting to do a blog post about it. Instead, I decided to do my "dumbed down" version of it in a video.

Now this is gonna be old school stuff for many here (yeah Peter that's you; among others), but I thought this would be enlightening for the less accomplished members.

https://youtu.be/Bu3eYyXw0WA

Have a look, and please feel free to comment one way or another.



#2
Merco_61

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Nice little video. Condensing even a small part of the zone system down to a tip or two isn't easy, so congratulations on achieving just that.

 

If this tip is interesting, some further reading to start really understanding light are:

Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson, ISBN: 9781607748502

The Camera by Ansel Adams, ISBN: 9780821221846

The Negative by Ansel Adams, ISBN: 9780821221860

The Print by Ansel Adams, ISBN: 9780821221877

 

The three Ansel Adams books should be studied together as the zone system is a system that goes from visualizing what you want to do, getting a capture to work from and then tweaking that capture to get an output that is as close to your vision as possible. The similarities between digital techniques and the darkroom techniques of Adams are large enough that the books are still relevant today.

 

The Peterson book is much more accessible and will make it easier to see how your meter works and start getting more predictable results fast.



#3
Ron

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Nice little video. I enjoyed it. Kudos for taking on a subject that many photographers find baffling and condensing it into a very short video. I'm sure that a good many of our forum members will learn something from it.

 

Also... what Peter said. There is little substitute for the books... which I believe are out of print but still available.

 

Peter is also right another aspect of Adams' books. Reading one wasn't/isn't enough. Adams built his zone system around the complete photographic process... from exposure to finished print. And you had to be able to visualize your finished print before pressing the shutter button.

 

When I shot film (and first began studying Adams' books) the general rule (which was helpfully provided by Kodak with each roll of film) was to open up the lens a couple of stops or more to compensate for the brightness of snow or sand and it's effect on the camera's meter. In many cases, this resulted in lost detail in highlights which were often blown out. Thus, the practice of bracketing exposures was necessary to have any chance of obtaining a usable print (or slide). 

 

We are fortunate to have cameras with instant feedback and built in histograms that allow us to more easily visualize results and adjust as necessary. 

 

--Ron



#4
Copyright 1959

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The Camera / The Negative / The Print by Ansel Adams is the holy bible of photography for me. 

I used his zone system with transparency film substituting 1/2 stops to make a full 10 stop zone system. It worked flawlessly.

I learned what a mid tone was and carried gray cards to help nail it.

Back then slide or transparency film had an exposure latitude of 5 stops while print film had 10.  



#5
brickie58

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Nice little video. Condensing even a small part of the zone system down to a tip or two isn't easy, so congratulations on achieving just that.
 
If this tip is interesting, some further reading to start really understanding light are:
Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson, ISBN: 9781607748502
The Camera by Ansel Adams, ISBN: 9780821221846
The Negative by Ansel Adams, ISBN: 9780821221860
The Print by Ansel Adams, ISBN: 9780821221877
 
The three Ansel Adams books should be studied together as the zone system is a system that goes from visualizing what you want to do, getting a capture to work from and then tweaking that capture to get an output that is as close to your vision as possible. The similarities between digital techniques and the darkroom techniques of Adams are large enough that the books are still relevant today.
 
The Peterson book is much more accessible and will make it easier to see how your meter works and start getting more predictable results fast.

most of above books can be downloaded for free on a website called zlibrary, worth a look and legal to do so.

#6
Merco_61

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How legal Z-library is, is debatable. Neither of these four titles is in the public domain and the authors don't get a cent from the downloads.


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