Shutterbug review (August 2002)
We tend to get very excited about all the new technologies that are available for image-makers, such as digital cameras and the digital darkroom. For some reason we see these new technologies as a way of improving our image making capabilities. But more often than not, these new technologies do little to improve our capabilities. Most of the time it's the old technologies and techniques that can improve our images.
That's what the new book "Zone System; a step-by-step guide for photographers" by Brian Lav is all about. The zone system is one of the oldest technologies or techniques used in B&W photography, but it has always been a little mysterious for most photographers to truly understand how the zone system works. But not anymore!
The "Zone System" is a well crafted, well presented and easy to understand book. Brian knows this subject from top to bottom. He starts with the basics, like it's history and how and why the zone system works. Then he shows how to calibrate the light meter and determine the proper zone for any given subject.
Many photographers have the misconception that the zone system will only work with large format cameras; Brian explains why this is just not true. Brian simplifies the scientific aspects of the zone system with easy to understand writing and clear and concise illustrations. From camera selection to proper exposure, development and finally to fmal printing, the "Zone System" covers it all and makes it easy to appreciate.
Ansel Adams was probably the most famous photographer to utilize the zone system, but this is a system that any good B&W photographer could master. Photographic prints made with the zone system are the richest and most brilliant prints produced in a darkroom. And that's another bonus of this new book.
The "Zone System" is full of, not only superb instruction but also, brilliant images. I highly recommend this book for any serious B&W Photographer.
- Brian D. Ratty