Quote Originally Posted by sygyzy View Post
This has been super helpful, fellas. I see now that I really only have two choices and the idea of using the dome for a reflected reading or dome off for an incident reading just DOESN'T MAKE SENSE! I am not sure why I even thought they were valid choices. I feel much more confident now when I go out and shoot. I will try both and see which result in better lit photos. And of course I'll stick to reflected if I can't get near the subject.

Are there any special situation or caveats I should be aware of, besides the ones mentioned already (ie don't point a reading too much toward the sky)
You can learn the Zone System tones and typical subject matter, and when the scene is nearby you can explore by walking close to things and taking close-up reflected readings, and "place" the readings on their usual Zones.

The first thing you can try is... meter the palm of your hand in the light with reflected light. "Place" it on Zone VI. (Open up one stop to give more exposure than meter reads). Logically, you know your hand is bright and if you were to use a bright reading as-is, you would underexpose the shot. So you open one stop when you meter your hand. Now switch to incident mode and take your reading normally pointing at the camera.

If you did it right, the readings should agree - and this should boost your confidence.

I've recently been using a Master II meter with Zone Sticker, and have been enjoying this technique of reflected light reading - without necessarily requiring a spotmeter. The digital interface of your meter isn't as easily adapted to Zone System stickers.