Print Version

Effective: Summer 2015

Advisory: Advisory: PHOT 2 or equivalent experience; this course is included in the Analog Photography family of activity courses.
Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU
3 hours lecture, 3 laboratory. (72 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • A successful student will demonstrate the skill of calibrating photographic equipment and materials to create repeatable results.
  • A successful student will create a portfolio of photographs exhibiting mastery of the concepts/techniques of zone system photography.
Description -
An exploration of the Zone System through use of special processing and fine printing techniques. A study of the integration of aesthetics, film calibration, development of film, printing, and techniques associated with the Zone System. Acquisition of fine printing and archival processing techniques suitable for producing exhibit quality presentations. Application of understanding of Zone System to both digital and color materials. Appreciation of contributions by photographers of diverse backgrounds.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Prepare and use basic photographic chemicals from stock.
  2. Select and use a variety of camera formats and lenses with technical skill and effectiveness.
  3. Understand the creative potential of special photographic processes and fine printing techniques.
  4. Integrate ideas and aesthetic principles drawn from a diverse range of cultural sources and backgrounds.
  5. Calibrate equipment and materials to produce precise, predictable results under the guidelines of the Zone System.
  6. Demonstrate a satisfactory degree of skill in previsualizing a photograph and in using the principles of the Zone System to relate exposure, development, and fine printing to the visualized image.
  7. Produce a final portfolio of personal, expressive prints using principles of the Zone System.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
A lecture room equipped for viewing motion pictures, slides, and video tapes; cameras and other needed equipment; laboratory areas equipped for processing film, making enlargements, and finishing prints; all required chemicals and facilities for mixing and storing these; access to electronic imaging equipment for instructor demonstrations.
When taught via Foothill Global Access: on-going access to computer with E-mail software and capabilities, E-mail address.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Preparation of and experimentation with photographic chemicals needed to achieve the previsualized image.
    1. Special purpose developers.
    2. Hardening and non-hardening fixers.
    3. Toning.
    4. Hypo-clearing agents, washes and archival preservation.
  2. The Zone System.
    1. Calibration of film and camera systems.
    2. Application of Zone System through previsualization, metering and placement of exposure.
    3. Film development, and fine printing procedures.
    4. Application of understanding of Zone System to both digital and color materials.
  3. Expanded calibration of equipment and materials.
    1. Tests for standard printing conditions.
    2. Effective film speeds.
    3. Normal, expanded, and contracted film developing times.
    4. Use of the densitometer.
  4. Application of the Zone System to professional work.
  5. Fine printing.
    1. Understanding and use of different photographic papers.
    2. Contrast control through filtration, graded papers, split development.
    3. Developer formulas and dilution for control of contrast and tonality.
  6. Preparation of a portfolio.
    1. Fine printing and archival standards.
    2. Archival presentations suitable for museums/galleries.
    3. Sequencing and presentation.
  7. Appreciation and application of styles and techniques drawn from diverse cultural sources.
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. laboratory assignments
  2. written paper
  3. final portfolio
  4. exam(s)
Representative Text(s) -
Graves, Carson. Zone System for 35mm Photographers. Focal Press: Boston, 1997. ISBN 0-240-80203-9
Adams, Ansel. The Print. Little, Brown and Company: N. Y., 1995.
Adams, Ansel. The Negative. Little, Brown and Company: N. Y., 1995.
Please note: The above texts are classics in the field.

Johnson, Chris. The Practical Zone System for Film and Digital Photography, Fifth Edition: Classic Tool, Universal Applications. Focal Press: Boston, 2012. ISBN-10: 0240817028, ISBN-13: 978-0240817026.

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lectures on the traditional methods of photography and on creative image production.
  2. Discussion and Electronic discussions/chat using the language of traditional photographic imaging and photographic/artistic critiques.
  3. Demonstrations of traditional photography techniques.
  4. Field trips to visit photographic, artistic and technical locations.
Lab Content -
  1. Field trips to museums/galleries to see examples of photographic artwork
  2. Processing and Printing in photographic darkroom
  3. Use of sensitometry equipment, data collection & recording
  4. Finishing artwork with matting and drymounting
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Write a paper discussing the workings and benefits of the Zone System
  2. Photography Exhibition Review Assignment: Write a paper discussing the presentation and work found in a photography exhibit, from a gallery or museum found on the instructor's approved list.