Would Ansel Adams use Photoshop?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Alan Browne, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    This question pops up from time to time and the general conclusion seems
    to be "Yes, and probably very effectively!"

    But would AA lower himself to cheap parlor tricks in PS?

    You betcha!

    At the Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, MA) exhibit "At the water's edge"
    there is one photo that seemed too pat, too symmetrical. I zoomed in
    with my feet to look at the way the water splashing seemed to
    criss-cross... then looking at the patterns of the boulders it was clear
    that he had taken the same scene twice, maybe an hour apart. And then
    reversed one of the negatives atop the other to make the print (or
    exposed the paper with each). There was just a slight vertical offset.

    "Cascade, Yosemite" ca. 1968

    Naughty boy our Ansel.
     
    Alan Browne, Aug 5, 2012
    #1
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  2. Alan Browne

    Robert Coe Guest

    : This question pops up from time to time and the general conclusion seems
    : to be "Yes, and probably very effectively!"
    :
    : But would AA lower himself to cheap parlor tricks in PS?
    :
    : You betcha!
    :
    : At the Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, MA) exhibit "At the water's edge"
    : there is one photo that seemed too pat, too symmetrical. I zoomed in
    : with my feet to look at the way the water splashing seemed to
    : criss-cross... then looking at the patterns of the boulders it was clear
    : that he had taken the same scene twice, maybe an hour apart. And then
    : reversed one of the negatives atop the other to make the print (or
    : exposed the paper with each). There was just a slight vertical offset.
    :
    : "Cascade, Yosemite" ca. 1968
    :
    : Naughty boy our Ansel.

    Ansel was an artist, not a photojournalist. ;^)

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Aug 5, 2012
    #2
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  3. Alan Browne

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    What I'd like to know is: If AA were alive today, what camera would he
    mainly use?

    Take Care,
    Dudley
     
    Dudley Hanks, Aug 5, 2012
    #3
  4. Alan Browne

    Savageduck Guest

    Seeing as he used Brownies, View cameras, various medium format
    cameras, 35mm Leicas, Zeiss Contax, ContaFlex, & Nikons, and various
    Polaroids, I suspect he would use whatever scratched his particular
    itch at the time.
    With his meticulous character in mind, he might lean toward a D3X in
    FF, and perhaps a Hassie MF, with an M9 and appropriately selected
    lenses to fill the bag.

    ....and in a pocket an iPhone.
     
    Savageduck, Aug 5, 2012
    #4
  5. Alan Browne

    Savageduck Guest

    Except when it came to his Manzanar project.
    < http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/anseladams/aamsp.html >
     
    Savageduck, Aug 5, 2012
    #5
  6. Alan Browne

    Robert Coe Guest

    : On 2012-08-05 10:12:53 -0700, "Dudley Hanks" <> said:
    :
    : >
    : > : >>
    : >> This question pops up from time to time and the general conclusion seems
    : >> to be "Yes, and probably very effectively!"
    : >>
    : >> But would AA lower himself to cheap parlor tricks in PS?
    : >>
    : >> You betcha!
    : >>
    : >> At the Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, MA) exhibit "At the water's edge"
    : >> there is one photo that seemed too pat, too symmetrical. I zoomed in with
    : >> my feet to look at the way the water splashing seemed to criss-cross...
    : >> then looking at the patterns of the boulders it was clear that he had
    : >> taken the same scene twice, maybe an hour apart. And then reversed one of
    : >> the negatives atop the other to make the print (or exposed the paper with
    : >> each). There was just a slight vertical offset.
    : >>
    : >> "Cascade, Yosemite" ca. 1968
    : >>
    : >> Naughty boy our Ansel.
    : >>
    : >
    : > What I'd like to know is: If AA were alive today, what camera would he
    : > mainly use?
    : >
    : > Take Care,
    : > Dudley
    :
    : Seeing as he used Brownies, View cameras, various medium format
    : cameras, 35mm Leicas, Zeiss Contax, ContaFlex, & Nikons, and various
    : Polaroids, I suspect he would use whatever scratched his particular
    : itch at the time.
    : With his meticulous character in mind, he might lean toward a D3X in
    : FF, and perhaps a Hassie MF, with an M9 and appropriately selected
    : lenses to fill the bag.
    :
    : ...and in a pocket an iPhone.

    Whatever else he would have used (and I agree that the Hasselblad is "in"), I
    think it's a good bet that he would have had an early place in line for a
    D800. The only question is, would he have chosen the model with or without the
    AA filter?

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Aug 5, 2012
    #6
  7. Alan Browne

    Robert Coe Guest

    : On 2012-08-05 09:57:11 -0700, Robert Coe <> said:
    :
    : > On Sun, 05 Aug 2012 11:34:56 -0400, Alan Browne
    : > :
    : > : This question pops up from time to time and the general conclusion seems
    : > : to be "Yes, and probably very effectively!"
    : > :
    : > : But would AA lower himself to cheap parlor tricks in PS?
    : > :
    : > : You betcha!
    : > :
    : > : At the Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, MA) exhibit "At the water's edge"
    : > : there is one photo that seemed too pat, too symmetrical. I zoomed in
    : > : with my feet to look at the way the water splashing seemed to
    : > : criss-cross... then looking at the patterns of the boulders it was clear
    : > : that he had taken the same scene twice, maybe an hour apart. And then
    : > : reversed one of the negatives atop the other to make the print (or
    : > : exposed the paper with each). There was just a slight vertical offset.
    : > :
    : > : "Cascade, Yosemite" ca. 1968
    : > :
    : > : Naughty boy our Ansel.
    : >
    : > Ansel was an artist, not a photojournalist. ;^)
    :
    : Except when it came to his Manzanar project.
    : < http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/anseladams/aamsp.html >

    One might almost call that street photography, wouldn't you say?

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Aug 5, 2012
    #7
  8. Alan Browne

    tony cooper Guest

    I would consider it to be "Documentary" or "Photo Journalism". While
    individually, some images have a "street" feel, it was an extended
    project.
     
    tony cooper, Aug 5, 2012
    #8
  9. Alan Browne

    Savageduck Guest

    Camp photography, before camp took on another meaning. ;-)
     
    Savageduck, Aug 5, 2012
    #9
  10. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest


    AA was a master and masters use the appropriate means to an end. So
    depending on what AA was doing he'd pick the right tool. I doubt AA
    ever used the term 'elite'.

    Could be an iPhone for that matter.
     
    Alan Browne, Aug 5, 2012
    #10
  11. Alan Browne

    Savageduck Guest

    Probably a Hassy MF, However I am sure that the M9, D3(?) and perhaps a
    D800 would be considered for some projects.

    ....and just in case there would be the ever present iPhone. ;-)
     
    Savageduck, Aug 5, 2012
    #11
  12. Alan Browne

    Dudley Hanks Guest


    By "elite" images, I just meant the best of his best -- ie, the best 10% or
    15% of his work. (I'm certain even AA had his faves.)

    Of course, we're speaking hypothetically here, in that we're talking about
    what would be his fave cam of all the products currently on the market, so
    we're just thinking about what he'd rely on for an image he was really into.

    Take Care,
    Dudley
     
    Dudley Hanks, Aug 5, 2012
    #12
  13. Alan Browne

    Savageduck Guest

    Considering that once he had moved beyond the view cameras of the
    1930's, he had a working arrangement with Hasselblad, and he produced
    some of his most famous work using Hasselblads as they were his camera
    of choice for the last twenty years of his life.
    Moon and Half Dome (1960) was shot with a Hassy.
    <
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-kM4SRcdOi...uiA/s1600/ansel-adams-moon-and-half-dome.jpeg
    So I think his weapon of choice today would be a Hasselblad H4D-60.
    < http://www.hasselbladusa.com/products/h-system/h4d-60.aspx >
     
    Savageduck, Aug 5, 2012
    #13
  14. Alan Browne

    Savageduck Guest

    Here is a brochure;
    < http://www.hasselblad.com/media/2241138/uk_h4d40 brochure_v2.pdf >
     
    Savageduck, Aug 5, 2012
    #14
  15. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Regardless of camera he shot "best" and not.

    I'd suspect that his "best" ratio was highest when the cost per shot was
    highest (pack a view/technical camera, tripod and many supplies over a
    few dozen miles (with food for the mule and tolerance for the smell).

    For landscape it is important to note that it would have to have the
    mechanical adjustments of a view or technical camera (tilt and shift).
    And this is very doable with a back on the same old cameras but the
    imaging area would be much smaller (one exception is a "scanning" camera
    but that would not work well with fast moving clouds, rivers or falls).

    But I doubt that he cared much about which particular camera as long as
    it was appropriate to the ends. That would not change today. He'd
    probably be more concerned over the safety record of the helicopter and
    pilot that would be taking him into the hills than over the camera.
     
    Alan Browne, Aug 5, 2012
    #15
  16. Alan Browne

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    You're probably right that he'd be in the Hassi camp.

    I've never been into landscapes that much, so I haven't spent much time
    studying AA's pics / techniques, but I seem to remember he was a big fan of
    small apertures.

    Any idea of how today's HD sensors and high quality glass shot through
    somewhat larger apertures might compare with the old f64 standards?

    I'm just thinking about a modestly equipped DSLR shot through a decent lens
    at around f32.

    Take Care,
    Dudley
     
    Dudley Hanks, Aug 6, 2012
    #16
  17. Alan Browne

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    Actually, that's an interesting point I hadn't considered: which would have
    impacted his work more, modern cams or improved transportation?

    When I first posed the question, your point above about putting a digital
    back on a larger format camera is what I was thinking. After all, wasn't AA
    the guy who went around shooting large format pics from a makeshift platform
    equipped Caddy?

    Take Care,
    Dudley
     
    Dudley Hanks, Aug 6, 2012
    #17
  18. Alan Browne

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    Dudley Hanks, Aug 6, 2012
    #18
  19. Alan Browne

    Savageduck Guest

    With regard to f/64, I believe that was something he used for a period
    and a purpose, but not necessarily something he practiced totally. I
    believe he would find a way for today's tools to give him the results
    he was seeking. 1932 is not 2012, just as what he did in the 50's and
    60's with Polaroids and Hassies was not what he was doing in 1932. He
    changed his styles and equipment with the times.

    "In 1932, Adams had a group show at the M. H. de Young Museum with
    Imogen Cunningham and Edward Weston and they soon formed Group f/64,
    which espoused "pure or straight photography" over pictorialism (f/64
    being a very small aperture setting that gives great depth of field).
    The group's manifesto stated that "Pure photography is defined as
    possessing no qualities of technique, composition or idea, derivative
    of any other art form." In reality, "pure photography" did borrow from
    some of the established principles of painting, especially
    compositional balance and perspective, and some manipulation of subject
    and effect. By these standards, not only were "soft focus" lenses
    prohibited but Adams's earlier photo Monolith, which used a strong red
    filter to create a black sky, would have been considered unacceptable."
    (Wikipedia)
     
    Savageduck, Aug 6, 2012
    #19
  20. Alan Browne

    Savageduck Guest

    Not exactly a Caddy, but he used most everything from mules to Desotos.

    <
    http://www.corbisimages.com/images/...=67&uid=2a3ae981-ba20-4b8f-bcd2-557979f46a76< http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/04/27/travel/27journeys600.jpg >
    < http://flipbac.com/quicklist/ansel_on_truck.JPG >

    ....and this little piece.
    < ! >
     
    Savageduck, Aug 6, 2012
    #20
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