The Masters: Ansel Adams Part One…

A couple of week’s ago I stumbled across a post on about the top 10 famous photographers of all time. Before I continue on this subject, I want to quickly praise the people at PictureCorrect. It is a fantastic site for all sorts of photography tutorials, tips, lighting suggestions, etc. I recommend it to anyone looking to learn and/or grow in the field.

Ok, back to this post…I can’t remember what I was searching for, but this page came up and I was immediately intrigued on the topic. Mr. Pawtucket lists photographers, past and present, who continue to impact our lives today. I only recognized half of the names. So I clicked on those I didn’t know to learn more. And then it hit me, (a little less subtly than yesterday’s brainstorm, but a nut on the noggin’ nonetheless) – weekly blog posts where I discuss each of the ten photographers’ achievements to the craft, and my attempt to interpret their style in my own photographs. People learn about the masters and I get to practice different styles of photography. It’s a win/win!

So for the next two weeks, I am immersing myself into the world of Ansel Adams. According to Pawtucket and my own personal belief, Adams is “probably the most easily recognized name of any photographer. His landscapes are stunning, and he achieves an unparalleled level of contrast using creative darkroom work.” He is able to achieve this clarity and depth using the Zone System, a technique that he developed with the help of  Fred Archer. Since I’ve already been struggling working my way through a lesson book on this style of visualization and metering, this gives me another chance to practice :)

Here is one of Adams’ most recognized images “El Capitan”…



While not even close to the stunning nature Adams’ photo above, I thought my study of light, contrast and texture in this image was a good interpretation!



An interesting factoid I read about on his Wikipedia page (aside from him having an Irish heritage!) is “his grandfather founded and built a prosperous lumber business. Later in life, Adams would condemn that very same industry for cutting down many of the great redwood forest.” One of my favorite things about Adams is his environmentalism and attention he brought to our national parks with his fantastic imagery. I guess it makes sense that his father encouraged him to follow the ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “to live a modest, moral life guided by a social responsibility to man and nature.”

Here’s another famous Adams’ shot…



While mine is interesting, it doesn’t come close to the “Rose on Wood” simplicity and beauty…



I love cacti…especially Prickly Pear’s if you recall my Grand Canyon post here :) It makes sense that I was drawn to Adams’ photo “Saguaros”…


Since we don’t have cacti here in the Northeast, I made due with a closeup of a Crabaple Tree and English Ivy…



Ok, so these have been my first attempts to tackle the work of Mr. Adams! Next week, I hope to have more landscape images to show off so stay-tuned!






2 thoughts on “The Masters: Ansel Adams Part One…

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