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  1. #1

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    Dark sky in Ansel Adams' landscapes

    Greetings:

    I've recently been to an Ansel Adams' exhibit, and one thing, with which I was puzzled, was that in many of his landscapes the sky was really dark. Like, for example in the famous Monolith.

    The effect looks to strong for a polarizer, and I don't think it's a gradient filter. Did he, somehow, darken the sky in processing? What do you think?

  2. #2
    Shawn Dougherty's Avatar
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    He used a lot of filters, Red 25, Orange, Yellow... Plus, he printed them down in the darkroom. You should read "The Making of 40 Photographs", by Ansel. Best. Shawn

  3. #3
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    Filters perhaps?
    Digital is best taken with a grain of silver.

  4. #4
    Trask's Avatar
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    Filters, yes, and the sensitivity of the film, and the fact he was shooting at high altitude, and the much cleaner air of the 1930's all played a part, too.

  5. #5
    donbga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Dougherty View Post
    He used a lot of filters, Red 25, Orange, Yellow... Plus, he printed them down in the darkroom. You should read "The Making of 40 Photographs", by Ansel. Best. Shawn
    I agree with Shawn, reading "The Making of 40 Photographs" will probably tell you more than anyone here at APUG about how he printed.
    Don Bryant

  6. #6

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    People from other parts of the country have no concept of how deep blue the Western sky can be. Add high altitude and it's even more so. However, the real culpret is that in the '30s and '40s AA (and other Western landscape photographers) just overfiltered the H out of their images, possibly in reaction to the earlier work (for example, Carlton Watins) done in the same areas with colorblind film which showed completely washed out sky.
    Early prints of AA's most famout print, "Moonrise" show only a moderately dark expanse of sky, whereas the later paints are black as the ace of spaces. Obviously his intrepretation veered toward the dramatic.
    When I first saw it in the '50s I was blown away. Now the feeling is more often like "hurl" than "blown".

  7. #7
    jstraw's Avatar
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    overfiltered?
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. In velit arcu, consequat at, interdum sit amet, consequat in, quam.

  8. #8
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    According to the words of the photographer in question, Monolith in particular had the sky darkened by the use of a #29 red filter. How much more it may have been darkened in the printing is probably written about in one of his many books, but I'm just too damn lazy to go look it up. "The Making of 40 Photographs," is a terrific place to search for those answers.

    Joe
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    "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive" - Howard Thurman

  9. #9

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    "Lo único de lo que el mundo no se cansará nunca es de exageración." Salvador Dalí

  10. #10

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    "People from other parts of the country have no concept of how deep blue the Western sky can be."

    That is very true. I have many slides in which a polarizer and Fuji Velvia film produced an ink-black sky. It can be an effective technique but it can also be a bit of a surprise when you don't realize it's happening.

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