Quote Originally Posted by CPorter View Post
Shadow placements can be made anywhere on the toe of the curve---making a Zone I placement for a certain area may prove beneficial for the visualization and in controlling the highlight end of the scale. However, the area of important shadow detail for full texture should meter at least two zones higher in EV with that shadow placement. Doesn't Zone I have pictorial value in the sense it represents "the first step above complete black, slight tonality but no texture" in the print? I've never made a shadow placement that low, but I have on several occaisions on Zone II. A few of my portfolio pictures, while not great stuff, have shadow placements as low as Zone II.
I'm in favor of anything that works. However, shadow placement in the Zone System is highly subjective at best. At Zone I, it's merely a guess, because Zone I is almost black, very close to Dmax. You'll find a hint of tonality there but may need a densitometer to be sure. In my view, you need more such as some texture to have pictorial value, but more importantly, visualizing Zone III is relatively easy, visualizing Zone I, on the other hand, is close to impossible (at least for me).

I was amazed how my negatives improved after John Sexton went even further and suggested to start shadow placement with Zone IV instead of III. The results are negatives that have density where it matters most, still allowing for plenty of shadow detail. This can be done very reliably. As I said, Zone I placement is guesswork in comparison. Well, it was in my case and there may be exceptions.