06 August 2011

Ansel Adams: Moonrise

This image is copyrighted and is for the sole use of viewing on this website

Susan Brannon
6 August 2011
Moonrise, Hernadez, New Mexico - Was one of his most famous.  The ititial publication of Moonrise was in U.S. Camera 1943 annual.  For nearly 40 years, Adams re-interpreted the image using the latest darkroom equipment at his disposal, making over 1,300 unique prints, mostly in 16" x 20" format.  Many of the prints were made in the 1970's giving him more freedom from the commercial projects that seemed to blog him down.  He took this shot after the sun had gone down and the light on the crosses were rapidly fading and he could not find his exposure meter. He remembered the luminance of the moon, and used it to calculate the proper exposure.  The exposure was underexposed, and the highlights in the clouds were quite dense.  He found the negative difficult to print.  The total value of this print exceeds 25,000.00 with the highest price for a singe print reached $609,600 at an auction in NY in 2006.  He made this image on November 1, 1941.

Some of Adams images are owned by the U.S. Government because he worked for  the Department of the Interior.  However, it was his day off when he took Moonrise, so he had full ownership of the negative.

05 August 2011

Photo Bucket List

You won't believe this, but this is on the Arno in Florence!

Susan Brannon
5th August 2011

I heard about this on Alex Beadan's Photography Blog; that linked to PhotoFocus Blog   I liked it so much that I decided to re-blog to share the Photography Bucket List for photographers!

"How about you? Do you have a photography bucket list? Starting one should be easy. It doesn’t have to be a formal list or look a certain way. You can make it anyway you like.

Some thought starters might help propel you to creating your list.

1. First decide what your photographic goals are
2. Think of the list not so much from the “before I die” point-of-view, but rather the “here are some goals” point-of-view
3. Don’t limit yourself to what you think is possible
4. Be honest – you don’t have to show the list to anyone else so don’t put things on there just to impress someone or leave something off just because you’d be embarrassed if someone saw it
5. Consider your first list to be nothing more than a first draft – let is stew for a bit then come back to it and refine"

Thanks to Scott Bourne for the idea!
I am going to make my own Photo Bucket List and post it later.
Related Articles:
Aperture and f/16 Rule
Shutter Speed Basics

Depth of Field
Focused Bracketing or Photo Stacking

Ansel Adams: Autumn Moon

Ansel Adams - Autumn Moon
Susan Brannon
9 August 2011
Autumn Moon - 1948, the images was taken from Glacier Point at Yosemite National park on September 15 at around 7:03 pm. Adams is famous for recording details in this image.  It is said that the full moon arching high in the northern hemisphere only occurs on every lunar Metonic cycle. The dates to be able to get this exact moon will be in 19 year cycles, 1967, 1986,2005,2024.  Sorry folks, you will have to wait until 2024 to recreate this exact image.

04 August 2011

Ansel Adams

Susan Brannon
4th August 2011
Ansel Adams a Biography 

Ansel Adams has been the environmental legendary photographer who captured Americas beauty through the lens.  He is known for his black and white photographs that resound with shadows and light.  In my opinion, he has been one of the best photographers in our American history.

He was born in San Francisco on February 20, 1902 and passed on in April 22, 1984. He was a traveler and environmentalist who had a keen passion for nature. It is assumed that Ansel Adams suffered from dylexia, because he had problems fitting in at school.  Some others feel that he may have had ADHA, hyperactive disorder.  His father decided to tutor him at home, and earned a diploma completing the 8th grade from Mrs. Kate M. Wilkins Private School.

He would wolk in nature in his childhood in the wilds near the Golden gate bridge or hiking the dunes along Lobos Creek and off to Bakers Beach.  Later in life, he set out through America.

At twelve years old, Ansel Adams taught himself to play the piano and became his primary occupation.  It could be that the training and discipline required to learn the piano influenced his view of photography.

His first camera was the Kodak No. 1 Box Brownie that his parents bought him.  He would take the camera with him during his hikes and spent the first four summers from 1919, in Yosemite Valley as the "keeper" of the Sierra Clubs, LeConte Memorial Lodge.

The Sierra Club contributed to Ansel Adams success as a photographer because he first published photographs and writings in the club's 1922 Bulletin, and in 1928 he had his first one man exhibition in San Francisco.

in the late 1920's, the Sierra Club would offer month long trips in the Sierra Nevada, where the participants hiked each day to a new campsite, using mules, packers, and cooks.  Adams, was the photographer of the outings and he soon realized that he could earn enough money to survive.  By 1934, Adams was elected to the club's board of directors and was already established as both artist and director of the Sierra Nevada.

Ansel Adams met photographer, Paul Strand in the 1930's and influenced his work from "pictorial style" to "straight photography", using the clarity of the lens.  Adams developed the development techniques of "burning" and "dodging" as well as the "zone system" to adjust the tonality of the images.  In 1952 Adams was one of the founders of the magazine Aperture, which was intended as a serious journal of photography showcasing its best practitioners and newest innovations.

Although Adams was gaining in popularity, in the 1930's he still seemed to have difficulty with financial pressures. He was busy, as a commercial photographer, but the clients took control.  He worked for National Park Service, Kodak, Zeiss, IBM, AT&T, Life, Fortune and the Arizona Highways magazines, shooting portraits to catalogues.  He was loosing his track in photography because he was swamped with commercial work for practical reasons.

Adams was good with technical matters in photography as consulted companies like Weston and Strand, Polaroid, and Hasselbland.  Ansel Adams was a activist of the cause of the wilderness and environment.  Adams images became an icon of wild America.  His images are no "realistic" of nature, but they have an intensification and purification of the experience of natural beauty.  (Ansel Adams)
His compelling images came from inspiration!

Related Articles:
Henri Cartie'r-Bresson (article)
Henri Cartie'r Bresson (Images)

02 August 2011

Tips for Beautiful Landscapes

Susan Brannon
2 August 2011

There are many types of landscapes.  Rivers, mountains, forests, desert, swamps and each place has their own personality.  Find that personality, why is the Negev desert different than the Sahara desert?  You want to reflect that in your image.  Don’t just take an image of a bunch of sand blowing in the wind.  Your image needs to show the places distinct beauty. 

What is it that attracted you to that place?  Do you love big trees or splashing waves?  Find your passion in the place, the more you find that passion the better you will be at taking the images.  Our admiration for the subject always seems to come out in our images.

As far as what lens to bring, really depends on where you are going.  For example, if you are going to embark on a safari, you will want a zoom lens from 100-400mm.  Your subjects will be far away and it will be difficult to get close to your subjects from your jeep.  If you are hiking, you will want to bring a wide angle lens and smaller zoom.  Using a f/4.5-5.6 is fine for landscape.

Here are some tips to help get the picture right!

•    If possible use a tripod, the stability of a tripod will sharpen your landscape image avoiding any shake.
•    Look at what you are looking at, why do you like it?  What do you want to reflect in your image?  Is it the tree silhouetted in the sunset?  Is it the robustness of the stones in a tall mountain?  Find what that is, then focus on that.  Find a good angle for your tree or the stones that show its beauty.  Make what attracts you, your focal point.  Think about where you place it in your image.
•    Consider the sky – The sky is a part of the landscape.  You may want the sky dominant or your foreground dominant in your image. If the sky is bland, then place your horizon in the upper third of your frame.  If the sky is full of colors and beautiful clouds, then you will want to make your horizon lower.
•    Look at your depth of field and maximize it.  Remember to increase your depth of field is to make your aperture setting small (the larger number)  Remember that smaller apertures allow less light into your lens and you may have to adjust your shutter speed or ISO.
•    Look at your lines, where does the eye lead in the frame?  Look through your viewfinder to find lines that lead to your subject.  They also give a depth to your image.
•    Landscapes are not always still and calm, they have movements.  Capture them!  You will need a longer shutter speed (this is why a tripod is good) and lower your aperture.  You can also use a filter to diffuse some of the light.  Examples of movement are clouds, waterfalls, sea or birds.
•    Remember the “Golden Hours” Before sunrise and sunset.  Read up and be prepared for when those hours are before you go.  You will find that it is worth it.
•    Think about the rule of thirds while taking your shot.
Related lessons:
Aperture and f/16 Rule
Shutter Speed Basics

Depth of Field
Focused Bracketing or Photo Stacking

01 August 2011

How to avoid Camera Shake

Susan Brannon
1 August 2011
Avoiding Camera Shake

Why do my images turn out blurry?  It is called camera shake, we all have shaky hands. To get a good sharp image:

For this image, I had to have my aperture wide open because of the night shot.  I did not have a tripod to stop the camera shake.

Although I did not have a tripod and my aperture was wide open, I used what I could to try to eliminate the blur.  I held my breath.  However, this image is not as sharp as it could be if I had a tripod.
Here are some hints to avoid camera shake:
hold the camera very steady
use a tripod
gently press the shutter button
hold your breath while snapping the shot
lean against a nearby wall

Camera shake increases as the telephoto zoom setting increased because the leans automatically magnify the vibrations.  A long telephoto and zoom lens are simply larger and longer making it more difficult to hold steady.

The normal limit of your shutter speed to reduce the "shake" is 1/60th/second or longer.
Breathe, stay calm, breath before you take your shot!
Related lessons:
Aperture and f/16 Rule
Shutter Speed Basics

Depth of Field
Focused Bracketing or Photo Stacking