slogging through it is a great description !
ZS school of thought is not so complicated and eventually you will understand. I may also recommend 'Beyond The Zone System'.
'Never imagined I'd get all these responses - in my favor! I thought Adams was the undoubtable, unquestionable G_D of B&W photgraphy. I truly am NOT alone.
Nonetheless, I will try to understand, but with flexability.
interesting; i found none of AA's texts very difficult to understand, but it helped to read about the same subject(s) from other writers and then, read his text again. after that,the penny dropped.
There is no "scorecard" of votes yea/nay related to this. The Adams approach is a very methodical view of photography, and the consensus seems to be that Adams/Minor White/ Zone System discussions aren't quick reads and easily digested. More of a mosaic woven over a long time.
I mentioned earlier in this thread a book from Adams titled "40 photographs and how I created them", it is actually entertaining to read because he was candid about the mistakes he made along the way in making images and he goes from the pre-planning through printing. You might enjoy the book.
After gaining an understanding of the basics from the chapters in The Negative on exposure and the zone system, re-reading Examples, I was able to find more meaning nad information in the stories. I was also able to follow along with his common reference points for placements, which added a layer to the growing knowledge.
I think the basics he taught will be more approachable for anyone if they understand that it's smaller processes, leading to the final image. That's why the books seem to be the way they are. First learn your camera, then learn about light and film, then learn exposure, then work on the zone system. With those basics, printing can be grasped more readily, as can the larger overall process.
For DF, it can be learned easily, if you try it bite sized stages, and learn from the many helpful souls here.
"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."
Old Buddhist saying