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In Search of Ansel Adams

I know, nowhere close but a guy can dream can't he? I have several books on Ansel Adams and the recent article in Outdoor Photographer prompted me to look back through some of my shots and convert them to B&W then play with them a little. Really looking for good critique on these. Bring it on. Tell me how you would shoot it. Thanks Dean

Arizona Desert

Lake near Phoenix, Arizona.

Falls in Yosemite

Half Dome, Yosemite

Half Dome, Yosemite from Glacier Point.

Yosemite Falls

Unknown falls in Yosemite

El Capitan, Half Dome, and the Merced

Half Dome from the valley floor

Trail to Laurel Falls, Smokey Mountain State Park, Western North Carolina.

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    3 There are 3 comments, add yours!

    • #
      2012.03.07 Edited

      OK... for what it's worth here's my critique... but I will preface it by saying that it's my understanding that the reason we can't get anything close to an Ansel Adams is that we have a more limited number of greys available to us with digital photography. That's MY excuse any way! 8^)

      #1: My eye gets jerked all around in this photo... the large tree on the right, the dark holes on the left, a little too much totally blank sky and not a lot of sharp details.

      #2: "Muddy" comes to mind, this is my least favorite.

      #3: I like this better, there are some things nicely in focus... the foreground trees, the lines on the rocks... I would try to bring out a little detail if possible in the totally black area and maybe also try to bring out some details in the waterfall. Anytime you have large areas of completely lost data, it detracts from the photo.

      #4: Again, I'd work on the totally black areas and see if you could recover some detail.

      #5: I do hate sounding like a broken record 8^) ... I think the large tree on the left could be quite nice in silhouette but all the lost data on the right is just too much black. The center section on the right is muddy, it's hard to see what is going on... I would play with sharpening this one and see where that went.

      #6: I like the sense of scale here... the details on the rocks show up well... it's pretty well balanced between black & white.... but I'd think about making this a horizontal shot with a little less foreground.

      #7: Foreground is slightly muddy again, no sharp details... maybe work a little on the contrast so everything in that section isn't so flat? I do like what has happened with the mist from the water!

      #8: THE MOST SUCCESSFUL in my humble opinion. 8^) I really like this one. I would probably bring up the shadows a little more still so the midsection trees weren't quite so dark... but this seems sharper than the rest to me... there are details in the water, the trees, and the rocks. If it were mine I would play with the cropping a bit and see how it would look without the rocks on the right. It seems like it might give a really nice focus on those beautiful highlighted rocks on the left... but maybe not!

      #9: If this weren't part of a set, I wouldn't know what this was, sorry. There's no scale, no details...

      #10: I like some things about this one but it doesn't say "AA" to me. I love the fact that the depth is emphasized by the close trees being darker and the distant trees almost looking like they are in fog. I would straighten it a little. It seems odd that ALL the trees lean left, which suggests to me that it's the shot that isn't straight. The area on the right could use some work so as not to look like an undefined 'mound'. If there are no details to be recovered, I'd think about cropping just a little more off the right so as to decrease the distraction of it being there.