Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Reading List: The Negative

Greetings, Hohenfels, welcome to Hohenfels Volks, THE place for our place. Shorter days and lots of fog made our visibility very limited this Tuesday. Cold, foggy, and wet, together they combine to make for some serious winter like weather. It looks like Hohenfels can expect snow before too awfully long!

This post will introduce the book “The Negative.” This is a piece of advice for those who desire more knowledge about photographic techniques and methods. Ansel Adams wrote The Negative in the 1940s as part of his series on photography. It was part 2 of a 3 book series. In its final version, written by Adams in 1981 and still published today, it provides an incredible amount of guidance to the photographer and would be photographer. It also helps the photographer understand exposure in more detail, breaks down controlling exposure and contrast, and introduces concepts and theories that will advance even the beginner along the path toward better photos.

The chapters include Visualization, Exposure, The Zone System, as well as chapters on natural light, artificial light, and filters. I find the chapters on exposure and the zone system to be the best material on the subjects. One of the main reasons is that Ansel Adams explains exposure in extreme detail, while making it understandable to anyone remotely interested. The other reason is he co-created the zone system. No one else could have brought it within the grasp of so many people.

Even though he wrote this book for users of film, Adams himself envisioned a sort of digital photography. When you take into account that photography remains writing with light, and that the concepts are the same, you can see the use of studying this handy book. Some of the terms used may no longer be common, like candles/square foot, but the information remains within grasp. For example, in the previous example of foot candles or candles per square foot, a lux meter will give you a measurement in lux, which can be converted to c/f2 by dividing the lux reading by 10. Knowing this, you can use a reflected light lux meter, do the math, and use the exposure formula in chapter 3 of this wonderful book to get your exposure correct. A concept introduced is that every ISO has a native aperture. That native aperture is the square root of the ISO. For example, ISO 200 has a native aperture of approximately f/14. ISO 125 has one of f/11; ISO 400 is f/20, and so on. Keep that in mind, as in an upcoming post we talk about the exposure formula.

Another great feature of this book is the inclusion of some of Adams’s amazing photography to emphasize a point or introduce a concept. If you only get it for the pictures, it’s worth the price. You can get it for as little as $12.00 new!

On to something else. Are you visualizing your shot for this week’s theme? Are you thinking about how to get something great, just the right DOF, and how to get the angle? I’ve had a couple cool ideas. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Well, Volks, here’s hoping your week stays short and interesting.

Remember to share your pics and post your questions at the Hohenfels Volks Facebook page, and or by commenting here!

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