Zone system exposure

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by Markok765, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    quick question, is it better to point the light meter at the darkest area u want texture in and expose -2? or is it better to ajust using a zone scale according to the density you see by your eye?
     
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Neither is really correct according to the full zone system, but the first one is closest. That's also what I do most of the time.
     
  3. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    The Zone System is a methodology that is aimed at arriving at a print tone that corresponds to a luminance in the subject/scene in a predictable, repeatable, and self determined manner. Thus to make a blanket statement of "I place my shadows at Zone III or IV, as is fairly common among ZS practitioners" is going to provide one with exposures that consistantly illustrate that which they photograph in the same way.


    This system of rote adherance to methods is the methodology of someone who is a mechanic and not an artist. I make this statement because when one has learned the methodology than one should no longer be a slave to the methodology. By illustration, there is a world of difference between the fellow who replaces the spark plugs in my automobile's engine and the design engineer that designs a new model Ferrari.

    Artists create and automatons repeat.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 24, 2006
  4. Sportera

    Sportera Member

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  5. André E.C.

    André E.C. Member

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    Ditto!

    Cheers

    André
     
  6. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    Ditto! :wink:

    Joe
     
  7. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    The idea would be to measure the lowest value for which you see discernable detail and place that meter reading on the Zone of your choosing.
     
  8. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    That, he tongue in cheek asked, is what makes you an artist..avoiding what you know will work?
     
  9. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Actually, I think you want to identify the deepest shadow area for which you WANT TO SEE discernable detail, and place that on the Zone of your choosing.

    The Zone system is a process to repeatably produce desired results, and you have to know what result you desire before you can use it knowlegably.
     
  10. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    Right you are!
     
  11. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Correct!!!! How else does one expand upon what already exists? If it is merely repetitious it has no need to exist...at least in my view of things.
     
  12. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I would suggest that the primary influence on the photograph is camera placement, lens and film choice and when the photography is taken as opposed to exposure and development which are less influential.

    Mr. Miller, I am hopeful that you are NOT claiming that an artist cannot produce art by using a proven technique.
     
  13. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Not at all. I think however, that future history will prove (as it has in existing history) the art this time will have produced will have been by stretching the boundaries of what already exists. Redundancy is well...redundant. Agreed?

    I would go on to disagree in part with the other part of your dissertation. I would say that the primary influence on a meaningful photograph is what lies within the chest cavity and between the ears of the photographer. All else is simply bells and whistles...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 27, 2006
  14. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Oh Donald, I guess that I have no more opportunity to chuff you. Certainly, I am not the least bit against people learning more or trying new techniques.

    I just thought that your original premise, as I understood it to be stated, was, shall I say, a trifle overblown. Although I did understand what you meant. Which is the reason I asked a rhetorical, tongue in cheek question.

    I will leave it to others as to whether or not Mr. Donald Miller produces art. I am more than convinced that he produces marvelous photographs.
     
  15. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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    The zone system helps me get the results I want. It's all about understanding your materials and how they behave. No different than a painter understanding how oil paints look when they dry down. So, how does that stifle creativity?
     
  16. severian

    severian Member

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    repetition

    Donald,
    You eschew repetition of technical matters yet a look at your work shows that as an aesthetic marker, repetition is what your work, in large part, is about.
    The zone system or any technical exercise is simply a way to prevent yourself from having to reinvent the wheel every time you make an exposure in the camera or make a print in the darkroom. Do it again and again and again and..........eventually you will be able to intuit any situation and make it anything that you want. You know the one about the guy in NYC who asks someone," Hey buddy, how do you get to Carnegie Hall?

    Severian, autarch of urth, Jack
     
  17. severian

    severian Member

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    ferrari spark plugs

    another thought:
    the person who designs the ferrari engine has an intimate knowledge of how the spark plugs work and has probably changed hundreds of them

    Jack