Remembering Ansel Adams
Thank you so much for your excellent feature on shooting landscapes in the October issue. I enjoyed the blend of modern digital cameras and techniques and the pioneering work of Ansel Adams. I went to see Ansel talk once: as well as showing some of his amazing photos he spoke of his Zone System, which you explained with regard to histograms and digital images.
Your images were good examples of what can be achieved, and reminded me of seeing Ansel’s photos projected onto a theatre screen – expertly exposed and developed, masterfully composed. Although I saw a range of images when I worked in the industry, I have never seen anything to compare to these. Ansel also showed images from a superb limited edition book, each image in each volume hand-printed on photographic paper. He applied this dedication and work to all his photographs, a theme explored in your text.
I took a great deal away from seeing Ansel Adams, but one of his last remarks made the biggest impression. Showing one of his classic black-and-white images he said that “anyone can take a picture like this if they get up at 4am and drive into the desert”. I believe he was saying that if you apply yourself and really work at photography, you can take spectacular images. You made a similar point in your feature when you said that people often see something beautiful, such as Half Dome in Yosemite, and “snap” it without thought – and then wonder why the result is disappointing.
Bob Black, London, UK
We’re glad you enjoyed the article Bob, and you’re absolutely right, of course; the reason Adams’ images continue to inspire half a century after they were taken is testament to his application and hard work. There really are no short cuts!
Our article on Ansel Adams and the masters of landscape brought back fond memories for Bob