Ansel Adams revisited

I was in Oxford UK to attend an Ansel Adams exhibition in 2009.

Looking back on the Ansel Adams exhibition of prints that he printed, the contrast range of many prints was less than I would have expected from seeing reproductions in books. Therefore you can’t beat seeing the actual prints for an accurate assessment of print tonality.

As I am struck on wide-angle lenses, so out came the Sigma 12-24mm full frame to take a snap of the bike with a very bent front wheel. As I was lining the shot up being about 4 inches (100mm, 10cm) from the bike wheel a Nun walked through my picture. What luck! The bike, Nun and background figures made a nice triangular composition. The wider the angle of lens the closer you need to be to something in the foreground to fill the frame. Don’t buy an extreme wide-angle lens if the the shy and retiring type.

I will always shoot a series of pictures and probably print the frame with the motif just about to leave the frame. This idea is not new, Degas was doing this with paintings in the 1880’s. I feel the composition is completed by the two figures in the background in light coloured clothing. In this case the tone of the figures in the background does not really matter as there are against a medium toned stone wall. If the wall had been dark they would have to be light to make a contrast or vice versa. Remember black and white photography is about tones and contrast NOT colour.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

6 responses to Ansel Adams revisited

  1. I love this shot, and thanks for your explanation of the process. I shoot with my wide angle lens in my pro-work, but rarely ever in my creative work. I really need to change that. 🙂 Thanks for this post.


  2. David Hall says:

    I will probably be excommunicated for this, but at first glance, I thought that the nun was pregnant! I discovered your blog via your comment on ‘Monochromes’ post and I am glad that I did. I will be returning frequently.


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