A Sample Lesson: Studying Ansel Adams's Photography to Understand Greyscale

One of Ansel Adams' contributions to the art art world was his definition of the greyscale.  Adams called each value of grey  "zones."  Although the zones were intended for photographic evalution, they apply to drawing as well.  The students and I talked about the 11 shades of grey and how they were represented in his photographs.   

This chart is a good example of the 11 zones:

Chart:  Shades of Grey

Ansel Adams, "The Snake River at the Grand Tetons"

 This is one of Ansel Adams's works, "Grand Tetons, Snake River."  I used this photo to demonstrate how each of the shades in the photo is represented by one of the zones of the greyscale.



I asked the students to use the above chart to identify the different shades of grey in  the Ansel Adams photograph. 


The students accepted the challenge to make a copy of one of Adams' photos using pencils, kneaded erasers and shading stumps. Look at the slideshow below to see some examples of their work.


Students Replicating Adams' Photos to Learn About Greyscale