"Is there an equivalent of Ansel Adams books for film, but in the digital realm."

Started Aug 9, 2022 | Discussions thread
Gato Amarillo Forum Pro • Posts: 10,253
Re: "Is there an equivalent of Ansel Adams books for film, but in the digital realm."

I don't have a perfect answer for you. Maybe the closest thing I know is the John Paul Caponigro site. As with Adams, don't rely on just one source and don't be afraid to adapt his methods to your situation. But you might find something here:


Thinking back to the days when I and my friends were making the switch from film to digital, we thought Adams ideas transferred pretty well. Go for a camera original that is easy to work with (usually a bit flat and very low sharpening), then work through a methodical processing sequence.

When shooting we flipped the zone system to expose for the highlights, develop for the shadows -- somewhat like today's 'expose to the right' techniques.

For processing, start with the global adjustments -- exposure, contrast, color balance -- then drill down to the fine points -- retouching, dodging and burning, local color adjustments. As much as possible use non-destructive editing technique. When possible (we were often working on deadline) let the image sit overnight and reassess it the next day.

I am a big believer in 'Keep It Simple.' I want the simplest technique that gives good results. Almost every week I see some new magic formula or technique. I'm not afraid to try something if it sounds promising, but I try to keep my skepticism high and most often I go back to basics.

If you are not seeing things like posterization while you're working it may be that your editing sessions are too long -- you may need more frequent breaks. Of course you want a quality monitor and consistent lighting in your work area. Just personally, I know my color sense will drift if I work too long without getting away from the screen for a reset. In my darkroom days my prints would get darker when I got tired.


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