Project 52: Week 4 - The Zone System

This week's Project 52 is all about the Zone System. This technique created by the popular and famous photographer Ansel Adams back in the 1930's, is divided into 10 tonal zones of various shades of grey - from black to white with the middle zone being 18% grey. A camera's metering system is designed to expose for middle grey under average circumstances. We were challenged by David DuChemin in his book "The Visual Toolbox" to use a grey card (a card that is 18% grey) this week, spot meter a scene and adjust our settings accordingly. With #blizzard2016 hitting the area over the weekend, it was the perfect time to photograph a snow scene (which is not middle grey) using this concept. Without getting more technical, have you ever taken a photo of someone or a pet in the snow and noticed that the snow was more grey than white? Or photographed a black dog and when you looked at your photo, the dog look more like a big black blob than a cute puppy? That's where the zone system comes in. Knowing how to adjust your settings to compensate for the various shade of greys in your scene will enable you to get a correct exposure.

Shortly after the snow stopped falling, I grabbed my camera and headed out to my backyard with the girls to play. They chased each other, having a blast in the first snowstorm of the season. We adopted Kita at the end of winter last year, so this was the first time we got to play with her in the white stuff. Using the zone system, I was able to expose the snow correctly. It's not grey, nor blown out, yet there is enough details in it. I just love the snowballs on her face and legs! Oh, and her cute little mohawk too!


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Have a great weekend!