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Subject: Re: Exposure to the right and tone placement



Mike,

"Expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights" applies to negative black and white photography. Adams could control the contrast with development. With digital we can expose for the highlights but we have no control over the response of the sensor, which responds to light in a linear fashion. If we consider the raw file to be the negative, we have no control of contrast of the negative: the gamma is one. Of course, we can control the "printing" phase with Photoshop.

I don't think anyone tries to apply the Zone system literally to digital with color, but the concepts are nonetheless valuable. As Adams himself stated, tone visualization is quite different between color and black & white. With color we have an additional dimension. So I would have to agree that your friend is correct about the zone system.

In the anecdote about Edward Weston from The Negative, Adams adds "His approach was empirical, based on long experience combined with very deep sensitivity and intuition and his extraordinary results speak for themselves. ... nonetheless, I prefer a more methodical system for executing the visualized photograph." Different strokes for different folks.

Bill

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