For 2016, the Pet Photography Project 52 are working through David Duchemin’s book ‘The Visual Toolbox’. Our lesson, and theme for this week is ‘Exposure: The Zone System’.

Ansel Adams is known for many things, one of his most important contributions was an exposure model known as the Zone System.
For this week, print out the Zone System scale.  Get a gray card if you don’t already have one; if you can’t get one in time, try to get an idea of what is 18-20% gray. Use spot metering in your camera. Take your pictures this week using the Zone System scale by metering off different elements and making adjustments. For example, meter off something gray and not the exposure. Then meter off something white but still with details and then add two or three stops. Consult your Zone System scale to determine how many stops your metered area is from Zone V (middle gray)? The idea is to understand how your camera reads light and how to make the best exposures using it.

There is not a lot of grey around Hamilton in the Waikato region of New Zealand at the moment – because it is the middle of summer and we are having a very tropical one! Everything is either green or brown.  So I took Nixie Lix to The Narrows – partly for location scouting reasons and partly because I knew there would be a great mix of lights and darks and that nature would effectively create its own Zone System that I could work with.

Nixie Lix - Pet Photography at The Narrows

Nixie Lix - Pet Photography at The Narrows

Metering off Nixie Lix’s dark coat. I needed to underexpose by a stop for the reflections on the water.

Once I was happy with the results on the darker and more shaded side of the jetty, I turned around to work on the lighter side – and thus the other end of the Zone System.  It was much easier with more light and a lower ISO!

Nixie Lix - Pet Photography at The Narrows

Nixie Lix - Pet Photography at The Narrows

Nix was even faster on this side of the river as it was shallower so I metered off her chest and decreased my ISO to decrease my exposure by at least two stops.  Not easy when a part greyhound is screaming towards you and your camera wet, carrying a big stick!

I guess throwing water and a dog that loves to run made this assignment even harder – but it was a gorgeous location and one I will be adding to my list.  Later, for fun, we went around the corner and made some lovely portraits with Carol’s portable lighting system.  Well, lovely when she wasn’t looking back to her swimming location! Cheeky minx.

Nixie Lix - Pet Photography at The Narrows

Project 52 is a weekly circle project so from here, use the following link to hop over and visit Trina Bauer Photography, State College, PA to see what they have created, and then keep visiting the other blogs until you end up back here.

Happy Friday y’all X

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