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07-02-2008, 06:52 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
My question was one of esthetics and psychology not one of hardware and
technology and it's limitations.

Other than, perhaps, photojournalism, I'm not interested in what the
photographer in fact saw but rather what he thinks he saw - in Adam's
own word what he "felt".

So when Adam's says:
"Now I give it to you as equivalent to what I saw and felt." I have to
wonder what this means.

If Adam's purpose in taking a shot is to only convey as accurately as
possible exactly what was in front of him at the time he pressed the
shutter - in his own words what he "saw" than that reduces the
photographer to a mere technician.

If however his purpose is to convey what he "felt" rather than a mere
technical facsimile of the scene in front of him that's a very different
purpose.

It seems to me these two purposes are mutually exclusive - that they are
a contradiction in terms. To the extent you favor one you must,
necessarily compromise the other.

BTW I have seen original Adam's prints.
One thing I have noted in my own work is that large format prints with great depth of field have much more of a 3 dimensional impact than do prints from smaller formats.
I think that deep DOF coupled with a lot of detail is closer to mimicking how we see. I don't really think you can get this with smaller formats.
There are also compositional tricks that will give the viewer the impression of depth in the picture.
However, you are never going to get the same sense of awe from an 8x10 glossy print of the Grand Canyon as you would from standing on the edge of it looking in. Living and experiencing something involves much more than just the sense of sight. We stand in the middle of a landscape and we feel the wind on our face, we pick up the scent of the earth, we hear the sounds of the wildlife and the breeze blowing through the trees, etc. All this is something the picture lacks. So, we do the best we can.

It is inescapable that vision and technology are intertwined in photography, it is a very technical medium for an artist to work in. To try to treat them as mutually exclusive things is, to my mind, the wrong way to think.
You can have all the technical merits possible in a print, and have an ugly boring picture (a sharp picture of a fuzzy concept was how Adams put it), but equally, the best vision can be ruined by sloppy technique.

07-02-2008, 08:43 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenyee Quote
There are examples of his landscapes of Yosemite here:
Ansel Adams Photography - Yosemite Special Edition Photographs

Still, what I see is flat...it's not the 3D effect you see if you were there in real life. Sort of the on the lines of looking at Grand Canyon photos and thinking "yeah, so?" but when you see it in person, you appreciate the massiveness of it and think "wowwwwww".

Here's more on the zone system of exposure which is a good technique though I have no idea if the K10D/K20D's meter is narrow enough to use like this:
Zone System
I think the point is, that as photographers / artists, we know that we are working in a 2D medium. Our goal is to represent the 3D aspect as best I can, which often means taking some artistic license with the image we capture. We are trying to capture the feeling of being there as best as we can, and we aren't kidding ourselves that we can capture that feeling exactly.... Nothing can truly capture that feeling, but getting close at least lets us have something that we can always enjoy when being at a location such as Yosemite, The Grand Canyon, etc. continually isn't practical.
07-02-2008, 10:03 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
For me, a lot of the joy of photography is that I get to be where the nice photographs are. I don't necessarily bring them home.
Very true...as is true w/ me. Sometimes you try to bring a nice scene home though...here's one I like from Cannon...
Attached Images
 
07-02-2008, 12:33 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
One thing I have noted in my own work is that large format prints with great depth of field have much more of a 3 dimensional impact than do prints from smaller formats.
I've never taken a picture with a medium format camera, but have handled one and seen pictures taken with it. IMHO, the "3 dimensional impact" is much more evident, even while composing the picture through the viewfinder.

I love my k10D, but am suddenly itching for a chance to get my hands on a 645. I can't explain, I hope someone can.

07-03-2008, 11:14 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Part of the magic of Adams work (and any LF work) is the ability to walk up to the picture, and examine it from a few inches away and see detail, not noise or grain or the smooth, detail free mush that we get with digital when it is magnified past its size limit. This inability to resolve really fine detail at large print sizes would likely have been the only thing that would have hobbled digital capture from Adam's point of view.
You are so right!
A couple of decades ago I had the opportunity to see one of his prints.
It was so awesome, both what the picture showed and how it was executed.
Thats what you get when one is a craftsman and an artist.
07-04-2008, 05:58 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by mzmn Quote
I've never taken a picture with a medium format camera, but have handled one and seen pictures taken with it. IMHO, the "3 dimensional impact" is much more evident, even while composing the picture through the viewfinder.

I love my k10D, but am suddenly itching for a chance to get my hands on a 645. I can't explain, I hope someone can.
Let me preface this by saying that I love my K10D and digital photography. I do have experience with view cameras and I had my own 4X5 capable darkroom. I spent at least two years studying Ansel's ideas and works while taking photography courses in my local community college. (probably 15 or so years ago, when film was still prevalent)
Getting to a 645 won't help you to understand Adams work. Adams considered his Hasselblad a small format camera! You need to go all the way to a view camera (format doesn't matter, but larger is better). You also need to have a reasonable understanding of the zone system for exposure and developing of the film and actual dark room printing including burning and dodging (localized control). Then go back to the beginning and reread Adams ideas and comments on pre-visualization.
The view camera lets you control not only the depth of field for focusing, but also the angle of the plane of the DOF. In an extreme wide landscape, you can have the flowers (almost) at your feet and the horizon (miles away) in perfect focus (or controlled out of focus). With the zone system you can pick something that needs to be white but textured and put it in zone 9, or pick the deepest shadow with some detail and put it in zone 1. Then it is up to the latitude of the film to keep the remainder of the tones in the correct zones. Another part of the zone system lets you plan for and control the developing of the film and there by the lattitude of the film (some what anyway). Once you come close to mastering the view camera, the exposure and the film developing AND using pre-visualization, You should have a near perfect negative.
When you take the "perfect" negative and print it straight on medium paper, then the process changes again with new decisions to be made. First is the quality of the paper itself (fine art usually has the widest latitude), the contrast grade makes a difference. Then the exposure and developing time get you most of the way there. Burning and dodging is going to take care of all the small details.
It seems like a lot to think about, but once you start, it isn't so bad.
Then consider the size of the enlargement. If you take a 4X5 negative and blow it up to 16X20, that is only a 4X enlargement. (Adams actually worked with 8X10 mostly, but up to 20X24 that I know of) If you make a 4X enlrgement from 35mm it comes up to about 4X6. Even worse is a 4X enlargement of our digital sensors with even 10 or 14 mpix compared to continuous tone quality film.
I've seen HUGE Adams prints in travelling shows in museums. You need to get close up to a 20X24 (or bigger) actual Adams print (done by Ansel himself) and concentrate on it. If you understand him and his process, you can almost walk into his vision.
07-04-2008, 06:01 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
A case in point...

Which is the "better" image of a Titmouse?
To say which is better requires the knowledge of it's purpose.
Detail picture of the bird, #1 by far.
The bird in it's environment, #2.
07-04-2008, 08:24 AM   #23
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Calico,

I agree with you 100%. Reading through this thread until I came to your post, I was wondering why nobody had mentioned the fact that he used mostly a 8 x 10 view camera on a rock solid tripod.

The ability to put your face up to the focusing glass under a black hood and see the detail before you expose the film through a lens with a leaf shutter makes all the difference in composing the shot and controlling the perspective.

I was once lucky enough to attend a photo class with a friend who was going to the California College of Art and Crafts. The one day I attend is the same day that a protege of Ansel Adams visits the class with about 20 original photos done by Adams. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I almost wet my pants. The detail was incredible.

The use of black and white captures a mood that color could never come close to.

If I remember correctly about the zone system, you exposed for the shadows and processed for the highlights. I don't know if digital is capable of handling that except in the hands of Photoshop artist.

Sorry, I rambling.

07-17-2008, 05:37 PM   #24
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Outdoor Photographer Article

I just came across this article about printing B&W like Ansel (but in digital format)
Print Like Ansel Adams - Outdoor Photographer | OutdoorPhotographer.com
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