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Thread: Adams and HDR

  1. #11
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Digital "HDR" techniques are just another way of doing what photographers have done as long as there has been photography. Keeping a book of various dramatic skies to print into blank white ones from ortho film is just one of many examples of the ways photographers have combated the limitations of their materials to get something closer to what they want. Masking to control contrast is another. Contending with differences between what the eye sees and what our materials render will need to be practiced as long as photography exists, no matter what techniques arise for doing it.

    Personally, I don't think Adams' pictures are anything like what the eye sees, however. Their strength is in the fact that they are not, in fact. They are extreme and fantastic (as in "of or pertaining to fantasy") manipulations that get more to the emotional heart of a subject than a purely literal rendition would (i.e. attempting to render exactly what the eye sees).
    2F/2F

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    I do know Ansel took a lot of heat for copying the gaussian blur filter in photoshop when he made Lodgpole Pines in 1921. So I'm not surprised he was secretly emulating the look of the great digital masters with his other work.

  3. #13
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    Some new steam locomotives were built in the 1970s and the V2 rocket went in to service in 1944. So I'm not surprised when contemporary youngsters think men went to the moon on a steam powered engine and the first intercontinental railroad was rocket powered. But to think Ansel's work overlapped the digital craze is a little too much for me...
    Last edited by ic-racer; 05-27-2011 at 09:30 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    Some new steam locomotives were built in the 1970s and the V2 rocket went in to service in 1944. So I'm not surprised when contemporary youngsters think men went to the moon on a steam powered engine and the first intercontinental railroad was rocket powered. But to think Ansel's work overlapped the digital craze is a little too much for me...
    But didn't Adams also say that he was excited about the emerging technology of digital in an Interview in the early 80's?

    As much as many are going to shoot me down in flames, I am sure that Adams would have embraced Digital and HDR simply as a tool.

    Do I find his images HDR like? The problem when people start comparing HDR to anything else, is they try and compare the worse possible examples of HDR. Adam's are not like this, but it could be easy to see where the comparison comes in against HDR that don't look HDRish.

  5. #15

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    Ansel definitely took heat for the look of his images during his time. Walker Evans specifically criticized his use of filters to create a dramatic effect. Cartier-Bresson famously questioned even his subject matter. Many of Adams' contemporaries said they preferred his earlier prints. I also remember reading in his biography that his assistants felt his use of selenium became heavy-handed in the Seventies.

    Tim

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    I tend to agree with Cartier-Breson on Ansel's subject matter question and empathize with Walker Evans. I Am more of a fan of Karsh and Cartier-Breson, Erwitt.

    So what.

    All of these guys succeeded by being a bit different.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

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  7. #17
    Joe Lipka's Avatar
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    An analog version of HDR was a standard technique in the early days of photography when the emulsions were extremely blue sensitive. One exposure for the sky and the foreground was blank. A second exposure for the land and the sky went black from overexposure. And if your clouds were well exposed you could use those clouds in other photographs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    I tend to agree with Cartier-Breson on Ansel's subject matter question and empathize with Walker Evans. I Am more of a fan of Karsh and Cartier-Breson, Erwitt.

    So what.

    All of these guys succeeded by being a bit different.
    Bresson's images stand on their own. Adams' do not. Bresson was a great photographer, Adams was a great processor. I like both for different reasons but, again, Adam's work without his sometimes outlandish renditions at printing stage, would certainly not be as exciting, to say the least.

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    Wow,,,

    Quote Originally Posted by tim elder View Post
    Ansel definitely took heat for the look of his images during his time. Walker Evans specifically criticized his use of filters to create a dramatic effect. Cartier-Bresson famously questioned even his subject matter. Tim
    Thanks for the reply. I don't remember which of the Yosemite photos finally struck me as a bit HDR'ish, I like the effect if it's not over done, and really like it in black and white for some reason. (not to the cartoon stage however).

    I'll never be good enought to do it well in analog, but still appreciate the skills and effort. Not sure why it took me as long as it did to wonder about his peers opinions, I can be a bit obtuse that way.

  10. #20

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    I believe Ansel Adams took a lot of heat for a lot of things he did.... I guess it's a risk one takes to be a pioneer.... Even the fact that photography is an art (which he started and promoted) was criticized. Even his well respected (for most) Zone System has critics to this day.

    I generally don't like many HDR images as they are over done. Many people do it for sake of doing it. They take a technique (HDR) and see where they can apply it rather than take a scene and vision and see what technique can best achieve the result.

    I really don't see darkroom manipulation as analog to HDR.... I'd rather not go beyond this as it will have to be digital vs analog discussion. I'll just say it's a time honored technique that works well in skilled hands.... I don't particularly like Adam's use of overly dark sky that occupy large area of his images but that's just my personal preference....
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

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