I am sure he messed around with such things a few times for fun and experimentation, but to my knowledge none of his published art pix were made using multiple negatives. That would really not have been his "thing" conceptually. There is always the possibility that he did it for some of his commercial pix.
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
I believe I heard/saw him say in a BBC interview that he would sometimes make two identical negatives in case one was damaged somehow, but AFAIK (and I admit I am no biographer) he did not bracket exposure or do several compositions of the same scene.
[Edit: Oops, PhotoJim already said the same thing. My apologies!]
I was fortunate to know Ansel personally as well as a number of his assistants. My understanding is that while Ansel did expose two negatives of a scene, the second negative remained undeveloped as a backup. Once Ansel had applied what be believed to be the best development time (N, N+, N-, etc.) to the negative and printed it he was able to evaluate it. If he felt that the final print would benefit from a different development he would take that backup negative and apply that technique. He always talked about not bracketing his exposures. He did frequently test different techniques. One, for example, was his experimentation with selenium toning the negative that proved to be a valuable tool. Those backup negatives were often used in those experiments.
While he was a master in the darkroom I don't recall any discussion at all about using paper negatives, multiple negatives, etc. His "Moonrise Hernandez" negative (8x10) is a negative with an extreme contrast range, especially the underexposed foreground in shadow. Ansel did later use Chromium Intensifier to build up some silver density in that foreground.
As for making multiple prints from the same negatives. That is true but the different prints with different looks were created over his lifetime, using the papers that were available at the time. Also, his printing did get more dramatic in contrast and amount of selenium toning in his later years.
Hope that helps to clarify.
I have only now become aware of this post, and have been trying for awhile now to understand this particular poster's response (which by the way, comprises a great deal of the thread). Normally, I wouldn't challenge other peoples opinions, especially on the net, but it is incomprehensible to me how the conclusion was come upon that Wonder Lake was manipulated to reflect an unreal atmospheric condition. Not that I in any way think there is anything wrong with the artist interpreting a negative as he wishes - Adams in this case and the Expressive Print.
Originally Posted by Maris
This, from Adams' Biography: "At about one-thirty A.M. the next morning, as the sun rose, the clouds lifted and the mountain glowed an incredible shade of pink. Laid out in front of Mount McKinley, Wonder Lake was pearlescent against the dark embracing arms of the shoreline."
I don't presume to know how the artist created the work, and it is well known that Adams interpreted the negative quite differently throughout different stages of his life according to his artistic sensibility, but I can say that if you've never seen the silver sheen of the wind-whipped surface of a wilderness lake, I feel sorry for you.
Because he burned in the sky while he was printing the negative, no? Just search google images for that print and you will find one in which the sky is not black.
Originally Posted by Maris
As for him using multiple negatives, I've heard he did. Mind you this person was a part time photo teacher at a Community College and was in that position due to her amazing skills and immense depth of photographic knowledge. She was dead convinced that he added the moon after the shot was taken to many/all of his landscapes. She was all around a terrible teacher.
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As I understand your post, you ( like me ) find it difficult if not impossible to believe that Adams would fake a moon in any (let alone all) of his pictures. You are discrediting the teacher who espoused this view? if she did teach this view this the she deserves to be discredited.
Originally Posted by S.F. Sorrow
Adams would have written about a multiple-negative technique if he had done that even once, let alone frequently. To do otherwise would have been dishonest. I don't believe he was that sort of man.
That's a good point. Adams was very proud of his technique. If he found an interesting way to do something, he'd assuredly have written about it.
Originally Posted by SchwinnParamount
Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.
Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?