Ok, you never know what you are going to learn each day on APUG. I now know why my images and negatives don't match up with Ansel and Edward's.
My negatives and prints are all made in dirty air! ;-)
And who can forget this famous apug discussion on the topic:
I had the pleasure of seeing a lot of Adam's early interpretations of some of his famous works a few years ago. I was struck by the much more normal contrast range of Adam's early prints. I think most of the black skies in the later prints are the result of darkroom manipulations.
Of course they were "manipulations". To quote the man himself, "the negative is the score; the print is the performance." During the course of a long career, Adams' opinions about how his prints should look changed. Any of us might discover this; if I was to go and reprint a neg from 25+ years ago it's likely I'd print it differently. A key difference in this is, of course, that Adams had (I should say made) a market for his older images, unlike myself...
Remember also that the Zone system is not about the literal transcription of light values- but being able to control them to achieve an emotional result. Which Adams did.
As I know Ansel was very smart guy (photographer). He knew limits, or where to stop, in darkroom work very well. It is possible that he added some light in darkroom but sure not that much so anyone set a question. So it is a filter (he used Red one a lot).
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I must disagree. Take a look at his two interpretations of Mount McKinley and Wonder Lake. In the later print ('78) vs (49), he totally disregarded atmospheric perspective and made an image that is top heavy and graceless. In the original, vintage print he surrenders the foreground to dark, featureless masses and the mountain to a sense of distant majesty. His earliest interpretation of Moonrise, Hernandez is similarly subtle with a graduated sky and more realistic sense of 'evening' light. His later renderings are almost garishly contrasty and blunt. A master, absolutely, but capable of missteps...absolutely as well.
Originally Posted by Daniel_OB
Thanks Steve for making us upstate New York people feel bad. It's true we only get about 56 days of "full sunshine days" per year. The other so called good days we refer to as "bright cloudy" and the rest of the year is just pure crap. John
Originally Posted by Stever
Like a lot of stuff in photography I tend to think of the black sky effect backwards. Sure, Ansel knew how to use a deep red filter against a deep blue sky to darken it. That part is easy. It is the additional darkening in the final gelatin-silver photograph by "burning in" that thrills me.
Making a sky dark by exposing paper to more photons is easy but why is the foreground not darkened too? Because something has been interposed in the exposing light beam to stop it getting to the foreground part of the picture. This process is, I believe, called "dodging". It seems that to "burn in" a sky is effectively the same thing as to "dodge" a foreground.
I once went through the actions of hand dodging a landscape photograph without the negative in the enlarger. Instead I inserted grey filter material of an average density equivalent to the actual negative. Intriguingly I got an image (blurry and out of focus, of course) and realised that it must be a primary photograph of my hands. Because photographic paper is negative acting primary photographs of sillhouetted hands are pale.
Next I put the negative into the enlarger and did the exposing and dodging in the conventional way. The final picture on gelatin-silver paper could be considered as a primary photograph of two things; the negative in the enlarger head and my hands in the light beam.
I have a small Ansel Adams photograph (all I could afford) that is strongly burned (= dodged) and I get goosebumps to realise that the in paler part of it, mixed up with all the image detail, is a primary photograph of Ansel's shadow play in the enlarger beam.
As I say, a strange way of looking at things.
Photography, the word itself, invented and defined by its author Sir John.F.W.Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London. Quote "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..". unquote.
Yes, he was very aware of his own fallibility.
Originally Posted by jovo
But I don't know that I could characterize it as a misstep; I think it certainly points to a later interpretation of his Mt. McKinley negative. For whatever reason, he printed it with a heavier mood. Just my two cents.
Just for general information. I was talking to a friend tonight on the phone. He just got back from Arizona and he got a look at the original glass plate negative of the Monolith. It is in five pieces. It had survived the studio fire(somewhat damaged), but not the test of time.
Originally Posted by agenkin
I am not particulary fond of overly darkened skies. As a steady diet, I find them a bit boring...just like photographers who shoot color, but never take the polarizing filter off their camera.
But unlike Jovo, I will not judge another photographer's decision-making ability by my own likes and dislikes. An apprentice may judge a master's work, but at the risk of sounding a little petty. I can understand if Ansel has played a piece light and airy for a long time, that he might decide to pound the keyboard a little harder once in awhile.