Sunday, September 16, 2012

Passion

   When I got into photography I to wanted to show people where I had been and what I had seen in my many hobbies such as backpacking, hiking, mountain biking, Scuba..............pretty much everywhere I go. When I started the hobby of photography I was disappointed with my results far more than I was pleased. I started reading anything that had to do with photography. Ansel Adams was also a very avid reader when it came photography. With every photo I take I try to make people want to go and experience the location for them selves. That has taken a lot of trial and error and returning to the same spots over and over. The last time I was at Yosemite there was a fire and the valley was filled with smoke. I can remember when I was at Mono Lake the clouds were in the perfect position for a sunset photo only to blow away at the last minute. It takes passion to try and try again and experiment. When you begin to understand how the camera works the question becomes what to shoot. I forget who Joe Mcnally quoted when he said "if you want to become a better photographer become a more interesting person." Where do I take the camera, what do I point it at, how do I frame it, what lens do I use, how do I get the camera in the right position..................The list goes on. The photo below as taken from the 4 Mile Tail it was not hard to get to it just took the time to get there and to slow down long enough to get it. I am sure many people have the same photo. Once I had the photo's I used HDR Efex Pro 2 much like my shot at Crater Lake Oregon. Then a few adjustments in Photoshop a little sharpening, smooth out the sky and adjust the color and got the shot below.


When I think about Yosemite and photography two names come to mind Ansle Adams and Galen Rowell. They lived at different times and used different equipment but both produced some great images. Ansel Adams started lugging around a 300lb large format camera and working with glass plates and a dark red filter (to heighten the tonal contrasts). He developed the zone system the precursor of the histogram, hiked with his large format camera to the summit just to get to the right spot to get the image he wanted. I can think of a famous photo of Ansel Adams with a tripod mounted on the roof  of a car (shown below)



He did what he had to do "to get the shot". In the final twenty years of his life he used the Hasselblad medium format camera. Technology changed and he changed with it. I am sure he was that it became easier to achieve great prints without the challenge of moving a heavy camera equipment and developing glass plates. 

Here is a Documentary that was on PBS about Ansel Adams.


Galen Rowell is the photographer that got me into landscape photography. He used 35mm Nikon cameras and lenses almost exclusively for their portability. He was a mountain climber and climbed many mountains in Yosemite and around the world that Ansel Adams could not even dream of. His main media choice was slide film, beginning with Kodachrome in the 1970s and 1980s and Fuji Velvia following its introduction in 1990. I started shooting Fuji Velvia because he did and I liked the bright rich colors of his work. Galen Rowell conceived a technical approach of extending the dynamic range of film. He developed a set of graduated neutral density filters and had them produced by Singh-Ray, a filter manufacturer. They were sold under his name and became a standard for improving the dynamic range of film. The same way HDR does today, but HDR is not limited to a straight line. the HDR software evaluates each pixel and give you control over contrast, saturation, brightness..........and many other things. Although I never met him I felt I knew him through the many articles I read in Outdoor Photographer and many other magazine articles. I read many books he wrote, he had a style of writing making you feel like you were right their with him. I was on my way home from a backpacking trip in Yosemite and we stopped at Iron Door Saloon in Groveland California when I opened the door there was a guy sitting on a stool with a news paper held up in front of him with a famous photo of Galen Rowell in Yosemite (shown below)



I thought how cool is that I just came from there. Then I saw the headline Galen Rowell dies in plane crash! I was devastated, no more articles from Galen Rowell!!! Galen Rowell said he got into photography to show people where he had been.

I have included a few videos of Galen Rowell.





Both Ansel Adams and Galen Rowell were willing to go the extra mile and then some to get the "shot". They were out front inventing and finessing the craft to make it work for them. If it didn't exist they invented it. That's PASSION!!!

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