Ansel Adams Exhibition “From the Mountains to the Sea”, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

Some random observations and notes from the Exhibition.

  • For a very short period of time, Adams was a member of a loose group of fellow photographers.  The name chosen for the group was “f/64”.  The origin of the name?  F/64 was the smallest aperture available on the view cameras being used.  No wonder the depth of field in so many of his photographs is so large!
  • “We must remember that a photograph has just as much as we put into it, and no one has ever approached the full possibilities of the medium.”
  • Adams likened the photographer to a composer.  The image was like a composition; the print was like a performance of the composition.  This points out that there may be many different prints (e.g. mood, crop, highlight) available in each image – and the photographer chooses the combination which best expresses his or her initial intention.
  • Adams had a lifelong love affair with water: waves, surf, streams, reflections, waterfalls, rapids – all where the subject of his painstaking studies.  Again and again he returned to his favourite sites – Yosemite, Kings Canyon, San Francisco, Monterrey, Lake Tahoe.  He studied the surf at times of day and under varying light conditions.  He wanted to be able to capture, for example, a surf-creating wave impact at the split second of its most dramatic peak.  But he also used longer exposure to soften waterfalls, not so long so as to blur all the details, just long enough, for example, to highlight the sharp leading point of a cascading sheet of water.
  • His prints were the result of a painstaking process, bringing out the emotion that he had sought.  Today, of course, many of his printing techniques can be done in a moment using a digital image and Photoshop.  Note however, the second point above: you can’t get something out of the image that isn’t there to begin with!  “There ain’t no free lunch.”  Sigh …
This entry was posted in Photo Exhibition, Photo Techniques, Photos, Photoshop, Thoughts on Photography and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.