The example about the zebra/elephant is the extent of what i understand. What I think I'm trying to understand is how to more determine in my mind what the outcome will be. I mostly shoot landscapes and architectural pictures and I'm often having a challenging time (particularly in the summer) determining if a photo is going to be contrasty or not.
I like the Zebra / Elephant story too.
The Zebra, in full sun, is Normal.
Now imagine the Zebra - half in shade and half in sun. That is a high contrast.