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Re: If Ansel Adams had been a Foamer . . . smoking smiley

June 27, 2022 06:23AM avatar
Russo Loco Wrote (on another thread):
> He'd have had a hard time outdoing John West -

Johnson Barr Wrote:
> Considering Adams' role in the Sierra Club & The
> Wilderness Society . . . it's pretty much impossible
> to imagine him approving of any nasty oil-burning
> steam locomotives hauling logs out of his beloved
> Sierras. In short, Ansel Adams is about as likely
> to have been a Foamer as Roosso to have won
> a Grammy.
I am not so sure I like the metaphor, Willie, but it is rather hard to argue with your conclusion.     Music
> . . .  another big factor in the excellence of Ansel
> Adams' photos was not just his the ability & skill
> to expose each one differently and then develop
> it individually to suit the light available.  Expose
> for the shadows, and then develop so as not to
> blow out the highlights — not easy to do with a
> roll of ten or twelve or twenty frames that are all
> developed together . . .

I hate to admit it, but you're right again Willie -

At least with B&W we could develop our own film (although I never was very good at getting it on the spool in pitch darkness, and spoiled way more than one shot), so if you took a full roll under similar conditions you could at least compensate a little.  This was not possible at all when shooting a 20- or 36-frame roll of Koda­chrome that had to be sent in to a commercial lab for processing.  Here are two B&W conversions of color shots, #13 and #16 on the same roll, taken under radically different conditions – away from and then directly into the sun – that would have benefited greatly from "Zone System" developing had they been separate B&W negatives.  The second one would have benefited greatly from at least a full stop more exposure in the shadows, but without subsequent under-developing that would have completely blown away the clouds, portions of which are already too bright in spite of my best efforts at careful scanning and then retouching with Photoshop:

The above being from 35mm originals they are nowhere near as sharp as John West's 120 B&W shots, and of course nowhere near what Ansel Adams would have gotten had he been there with an 8"×10" view camera that day.

A few years later, when I took off to chase the Freedom Train (see [ngdiscussion.net] et seq), I traded in my Pentax 35mm as the down-payment on a used Mamiya RB-67 120 camera and a brand-new 180mm lens, and began Ex-Sperry-Menting with more seriously with B&W photography.  There was no way that a dilettante like me could even begin to follow the discipline that adherence to the Zone System required, but I did develop at least one habit that helped a fair amount when taking photos of Steam Locomotives:  over-expose all shots by at least 1 or 1½ stops to capture at least some of the detail under the running boards, and under-develop the entire roll by at least 15 or 20%. to avoid completely blowing out the steam and/or clouds:


The greatly extended sensitivity of today's digital cameras – equivalent to -1 through +12, or more, of Weston's zone system – have eliminated most of the tedium of getting exposure correct — which thankfully allows those of you like Anthony and John and Matthew to concentrate on composition and visualization without being distracted by the technical limitations of the 'Olden Days'.   Keep Up the Good Work!!     thumbs upthumbs up

- El Abuelo Histœrico, Greengo y Curmudgeoño de los Locomoturas Viejos y Verdes,
aka Der Grossväterlich DünkelOlivGrünDampfKesselMantelLiebHabender

p.s. to JBWX:  It's All YOUR Fault – now I am hooked on re-reading at least the first three volumes of Adams' Basic Photo series — 'Camera and Lens', 'The Negative' and 'The Print'   (Not that it really matters now that digital cameras have freed us from the chemical swamps of our ancient darkrooms.)

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 06/29/2022 06:48PM by Russo Loco.
Subject Author Posted

If Ansel Adams had been a Foamer . . . smoking smiley Attachments

Johnson Barr June 27, 2022 05:29AM

Re: If Ansel Adams had been a Foamer . . . smoking smiley Attachments

Russo Loco June 27, 2022 06:23AM

Re: If Ansel Adams had been a Foamer . . . smoking smiley

Dave Peterson June 27, 2022 07:46AM

Re: Was Ansel Adams a closet Foamer?

Russo Loco June 28, 2022 01:20PM

Re: If Ansel Adams had been a Foamer . . . smoking smiley

hank June 27, 2022 10:03AM

Re: If Ansel Adams had been a Foamer . . . smoking smiley

Kelly Anderson June 27, 2022 10:20AM

Re: If Ansel Adams had been a Foamer . . . smoking smiley

John Cole June 27, 2022 10:33AM

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