Friday, April 21, 2023

Dedicated and Intense Vision --- Day 12/116

Walk: Presidio Golf Cafe

Distance: 5.2 miles

Ansel Adams (American 1902-1984), Clearing Winter Storm Yosemite, @1937

Ansel Adams, Clearing Winter Storm Yosemite, @1937*

So if you live in California or anywhere and have seen a Sierra Club poster or book, you are acquainted with the photography of Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984).  As a long time resident of California, Ciwt has seen many Adams'photographs and often because several locations he concentrated on are here.  And the wonder for Ciwt is that each viewing is fresh and intensely accurate; she feels like she is looking at the photograph and the location for the first time.  Adams somehow and literally captures nature in all its aliveness.

And he did it in the early age of photography when only a few even knew how to point and shoot and you could probably count on one hand the number of nature photographers who began to develop darkroom techniques that allowed the nascent cameras to perform 'tricks.' 

One such technique was varying the amount of light on particular areas of the print during exposure.  Trained as a pianist, Adams often compared the photographic negative to a musical score and described each print from a particular negative as an individual performance of that score.  For example, he printed the two photographs above from the same negative, but toned one with selenium giving it a maroon tint and (to Ciwt) a very different feeling.

Another 'technique' Adams developed was constant watchfulness.  He had a deep sense of the quick changes of nature and leapt out of his car or off his horse or abruply ended his hike when he sensed the arrival of a fleeting moment.  He took the remarkable (and countlessly printed due to its popularity) photograph above from Yosemite's Inspiration Point soon after a sudden rainstorm turned to snow and then, just as swiftly, began to clear.  A near miraculous capturing in terms of the vicissitudes of nature and the spontaneous eye and technical skill of the artist.

This years later from a boy who found his true loves - a Brownie box camera and Yosemite Valley - for the first time at age 14.

* The two white circles in the sky of  the bottom print are light reflections in the glass at the deYoung's current exhibition Ansel Adams in Our Time.

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