Ansel Adams

Half Dome from Cook Meadow

Anne is always accusing me of stealing her shot and usually she is correct, but today I upped my game. Really we both did. Today, we both stole from famed photographer Ansel Adams. It was our first full day in Yosemite and we spent most of it in class. In the morning, we had a 90 minute seminar that was free and opened to the public. This was followed by a four hour private lesson in the afternoon. Christine from the Ansel Adams Gallery was the teacher for both events. The second one was by far the most interesting and informative. There she started by showing us the type of camera that he used and then showing us his former residence and darkroom. The rest of the afternoon was spent touring the park, going from one photo’s locale to the next and then receiving detailed instruction on how to best duplicate Adams’ original shot with our own equipment. It was a lot of fun and we both learned a lot. Now many of his pictures would have been impossible to replicate, because they were either taken at different times of day or in different seasons or the landscape has changed, but it was still fun to try. We tried Adams’ iconic photo of the moon over Half Dome. We have a copy of the original hanging at home. That photograph was taken at night and it was the afternoon when we tried and there was no moon. It turns out that that shot captured a relatively rare astronomical event. It only occurs once every 25 years and the last time that it happened, it was cloudy. Christine told us that one of the other photographers took to tossing a golf ball in the air and all tried to get the shot.

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