Zone System Basics
In this week’s episode of The Perceptive Photographer, we talk about some of the basic principles of using the zone system in your photography. Even if you are a digital photographer there is a huge benefit to understanding the basic principles of the zone system. At it’s core, the zone system is a clear and concise language to describe the various black and white tones that are present in an image.
Comprised of eleven zones from Zone 0 being pure black to Zone X being paper white, each of the zones in the system represents a value of gray between those extremes. Each zone is the same as a single stop of exposure in your camera. With zone V being half as much light as zone VI but twice the light as Zone IV. When working with an image, the fully rendered shadow detail is in Zone III and fully rendered highlight detail is in Zone VII. This range of light is useful in understanding how we can go about creating a print.
Once you have a clear understanding of what the zones are and how they are created, you can move into more interesting applications of the tonal values within your print.
In next week’s podcast, we will look at some of teh ways to apply what you now about the zone system into shooting, editing and viewing images.
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