The Negative is quite vague in places, paradoxical in others and does not carry over well into active practice. I've spoken with many photographers that have a disdain for Adams and his teachings, preferring to learn to meter their way (this includes me: I mastered spot, duplex spot, incident and reflective long before I came across the first Adams book!) through trial and error; this has merit of course on an individual basis. Adams was a method photographer and his methods are solid foundation in reasoning and theory, but many do have difficulty grasping what is being said. Here is a suggestion. Put the book down. Just go out with a spot meter and meter a scene v.i.z., hi, midtone, low then average, then shoot. Work your way along there and take notes as you go.