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Thread: Adams and HDR

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    Adams and HDR

    I'm sticking my nose in the Zone system(again), finally with a sheet film camera, and have always enjoyed Ansel Adams photographs. Having read, and looking at his images with the thought in mind,,, I wonder if he took any heat for the HDR look of some of his works? I've seen posts about the connection, just wondering what his peers had to say about the extended brightness range of his images?

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    As for HDR is a sort of digital version of zone system contractions, in which one wishes to retain detail in both the shadows and highlights. Adams usually worked for a long, rich scale in his prints. The later printings are typically higher in contrast and more dramatic in interpretation, which he himself admitted in describing his later prints as more "Wagnerian" than earlier versions. The later prints (which are the ones most people are familiar with due to these being the versions he printed in higher volumes later in life, and the versions appearing in most of the modern books) are sometimes criticized for being overly dramatic, but I guess that is for the viewer to decide. Although it has become increasingly in vogue to criticize Adams, there is no denying his technique and his ability to render a full range of tones, especially given the more restrictive materials he had at his disposal.

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    ROL
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    How could he have taken "heat" for it? HDR is a fairly recent digital technique, so far as I know. And I've seen digital HDR. His work doesn't look like HDR to me (I'm not a peer) – it is infinitely more refined tonally.

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    The simple truth is that Adams was a GREAT printer, knew what he wanted and how to get it out of his negatives. Whether one likes the resulting images or not, is always a matter of taste. I believe that without his truly incredible printing/processing skills, his photography would not have been idolized as much.

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    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grif View Post
    I wonder if he took any heat for the HDR look of some of his works? I've seen posts about the connection, just wondering what his peers had to say about the extended brightness range of his images?
    What is HDR?

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    Adams was a great printer. He had materials that were harder to work with like graded papers. Has also a masterful with camera and film too. Looking at his prints is inspirational.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    What is HDR?
    Assuming you are serious about the question....

    Stands for "high dynamic range" imaging. It's very popular in the digital world, but like everything else, is easily overdone.

    If you wanted to try something similar with film, you would put a camera on a tripod, lock it down to prevent movement and shoot exactly the same scene with two different sheets of film.

    For the first shot, you would choose exposure and development/contrast to favour the shadows (and mid-tones?).

    For the second shot, you would choose exposure and development/contrast to favour the highlights (and mid-tones?)

    Then you would print the two negatives on to the same sheet of paper, with one used for the shadows (and mid-tones?) and the other for the highlights (and mid-tones?). In order to do this, you need some system to permit registration.

    Good for scenes with important detail in both shadows and highlights (think seaside cloudscapes over a pier).
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

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    In analog, masking can be used to achieve similar effects, although like HDR, it can easily be overdone.

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    I did not print in traditional way but the automatic machines with 24 step analog control , 100 000 pieces.
    I am guessing , but is masking can be opening a hole at the paper and over expose or mask some areas.
    Is that is masking ? And I read some posts last year but I am not remembering details , that simulating unsharp masking , how it is done ?

    Thank you ,

    Umut

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    When he used to post on flickr, some trolls said his 'captures' were fake and gay, but most people didn't mind them.

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