Saturday, 14 August 2010

Ansel Adams

A good photograph is knowing where to stand.

A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.

A photograph is usually looked at - seldom looked into.

A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.

These are a few quotes by famous photographer Ansel Adams, I will include a few more at the end of this post.

Ansel Easton Adams (Feb 20,1902 - April 22 1984) was an American photographer who was famous for his black and white images of the American West especially Yosimite National Park. I am sure most people have seen Ansel Adams photos even if they weren't aware of it. His visually striking images are so sharp and vivid that you feel you could step right into them, he was a true master of photographic excellence. 
We have a lot to thank Mr Adams for as he along with Fred Archer they formulated the the Zone System which continues to be used today in modern cameras. 
His energy and love for photography was colossal. He would often work for eighteen or more hours per day and for weeks on end. His passion bordered on obsession. An environmentalist and activist he campaigned strongly for the protection of wildlife and the environment. His images supported his words and together became the symbols and icons of wild America. His photographs created a sense of "sublime magnificence of nature" that allowed the viewer to become emotionally attached to the wilderness even if they had never been there. 

It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. ( another quote)

Ansel Adams was a genius when it came to photography and we can but dream that we could one day produce images like this master of photography. However we should strive to do so, for everyone can try to enthuse the people, whether it be for the protection of our world, showing the horrors of war, famine and disaster, the beauty of nature or the lives of our children. Photography is a window into all these things and as soon as the shutter clicks shut a sliver if history is captured, and is there for everyone to see. For more information on Ansel Adams and the chance to view his photos go to: 

If you wish to emulate the Ansel Adams look you can do it the following way in photoshop:
1 Open Image
2 Go to Image - Adjustments-Channel Mixer click and a box will appear.
3 Check the monochrome box in the bottom left corner
4 In the red channel dial in +160
5 In the Green channel dial in +140
6 In the blue drag the slider as far to the left as it will go, it should say -200

And there you have it a basic Ansel Adams effect you can tamper with it using curves or levels to get the desired effect.

Here is an example:

And finally:

Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer and often the supreme disappointment.

Millions of men have lived to fight, build palaces and boundaries, shape destinies and societies; but the compelling force of all times has been the force of originality and creation profoundly affecting the roots of human spirit.

and my favourite;

Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs.


Montanagirl said...

Wow - I may gave a few of my photos a try with your instructions. It's always fun to play in Photoshop.

Valerie said...

I'll give this a go, Ron. I'll let you know if it works for me.

Sandra said...

the amazing thing about ansel adams was he used film. no digtial to play with. this is really great. thanks for sharing. have you ever seen Clyde Butchers black and white? he lives in the everglades here and does with florida what ansel did with the wild west. google him, he will pop up. our ringling museum had an ansel showing and i went to see it, and half the rooms had clyde butcher photos, the photos by ansel and clide were 10 x 8, wall sized. my son and i found a bench in front of each photo and sat and stared into and through each one.

Sandra said...

i just tried this with the channel mixer and I love it. the first time my black and whites are something i like, much better than the other 2 ways i have done it. thanks a lot.

Elettra said...

I love the photographs in black and white of the master Ansel Adams, thanks for having reminded

Elaine said...

Ansel Adams was truly an artist and his work belongs alongside the great artists of the world. I enjoyed reading all the quotes. He was definitely larger than life.

SquirrelQueen said...

Ansel Adams was, and still is, one of my heroes of photography. He is one of the reasons I started doing photography. I started back in the days of the SLR and always carried two cameras, one loaded with color film and one with B/W.

I still don't use photoshop. For monochrome my camera has a b/w film setting.

One of my very early b/w prints is here: The quality is not the best as it has traveled many mile and was scanned.