Project 52 – “Zone System”

This week’s topic in David DuChemin’s book “The Visual Toolbox” – is all about exposure using the Zone System – a way of looking at the darkest darks (solid black) and the lightest lights (solid white) to classify the varying levels on a 10-point scale. Ansel Adams is the creator of this exposure model, and it’s still used today in helping photographers to expose correctly. With today’s cameras, we have the ability to capture a wide range of data – data that helps when processing the images using programs like Lightroom and Photoshop.

Our cameras have built-in light meters that we use to judge what settings we should use. When I went out this week to capture my image, I wanted shots of Sydney and Bailey running in the snow. It was mid-afternoon with an overcast sky. Perfect! No dappled light to create harsh shadows, just a lovely glow to provide even light. And the snow acts as a natural reflector to provide catch-lights in the dogs’ eyes.

Since I was dealing with tones ranging from bright white (snow and Bailey’s hair) to darkest black (dog eyes and noses) – I needed to consider this with my settings. I wanted detail in both the dog’s fur and in the snow. So I would need to underexpose the images a bit to compensate.
Here’s a shot straight out of camera – I shoot in RAW – so that I have the most amount of data for post-processing. Most raw images taken outdoors without some type of fill flash are pretty bland and this one is no exception:SOOC-Zone Week 4-0746But… after taking it through post-processing, using a bit of detail extraction, and color balance… here’s the retouched image – much nicer I think!Standard Poodle-Beardie-SnowDogs Fairfax VA-

And one more – ’cause Bailey is just too darn cute with Sydney close on his heels. I had to duck and roll to keep him from crashing into me on this shot!

Standard Poodle-Beardie-SnowDogs Fairfax VA-

Next up in the blog ring – check out Elaine Tweedy, Northeastern PA Pet Photographer, I Got The Shot Photography – and keep clicking the links until you land back here in the land of Sydney & MAC!


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  • Susannah - January 29, 2016 - 11:54 am

    Great job! I love that you can see the difference in the white of the snow and the white of Bailey’s fur.ReplyCancel

  • KellyM - January 29, 2016 - 4:13 pm

    You have got two of the most wonderfully fun models. They look like they’re having a ball. :O)ReplyCancel

  • Karen (Spotty Nose Pet Photography) - January 29, 2016 - 11:12 pm

    Great use of contrast and light.ReplyCancel

  • Elaine - January 30, 2016 - 12:40 am

    What fun your pups are having! Seems so many folks have snow and we still have grass. Loved your images!ReplyCancel

  • Jodie - January 30, 2016 - 6:31 am

    Love these so much funReplyCancel

  • Trina - January 30, 2016 - 8:55 pm

    Fun shots! Did you get any of Sydney making snow angels?ReplyCancel

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