Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
Hi Dennis,

I am pretty sure that flare causes the higher shadow reading in the spotmeter used at camera position. Film would be subject to flare, and the optics of camera and lightmeter are "similar" enough that you can use the reading from camera position.

If you cancel out the flare by walking up close (not saying that's a bad thing to do)... Then you should think about flare in your exposure calculation.

High Zone III is a good idea. I just re-read a post by Ralph Lambrecht. He was amazed how much his negatives improved after he followed John Sexton's suggestion to place shadows on Zone IV.


(But don't do too many changes at once without thinking how they interact... I believe the original advice to place shadows on Zone II that you don't hear much anymore, came from a time when spotmeters were not available, and the shadow readings were taken with a Weston Master II by walking up to the shadow exactly as you describe).
Bill is absolutely right that we really need to think about the effects of each change we make in the context of the situation, the difference between metering from the camera or at the subject can be significant.

Ralph is absolutely right about shadow placement, in that with a spot meter, it is a guess. This is true because a zone is a range of tones not one tone. The high end of zone III and low end of zone IV are almost indistinguishable.

Quote Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht View Post
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.
IMO the improvement Ralph saw in his negatives was probably that the zone IV camera exposure placement made it easier "for him" to print what mattered most "to him" and factored in all of "his" gear and "his" style and "his" eye.

There are three concepts to remember here:

1-is that, our gear, our eye, our subjects, our style, et cetera... are different than Ralph's. All those differences affect what works best for the rest of us. We each need to test our whole system and see what works best for us and come up with our own EI.

2-is that we can factor in anything we please into our personal EI. The placement change Ralph speaks of can be factored in by changing the EI we dial into our meter. Use 200 instead of 400 for example to affect the same change.

3-is that most all the guess work is eliminated when you use a known target to meter from, like Bill suggested above by metering off his hand. This is a practical equivalent of incident metering.