Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film


Ric Burns excellent, “Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film,” is a revealing and breathtaking look at the one of our greatest photographers and his creative process. Adams photographs must be seen in a museum setting to fully appreciate the scope, beauty and vastness of his work. Yet, watching this film reveals Adams passion, his drive and his technique whether he is out hiking in his beloved Yosemite Park, searching for the right moment, or in a darkroom burning, dodging, and manipulating a print to perfection.

Ansel’s father was a huge influence on him, as was an early passion for classical music. Adam’s studied the piano and during those early years his obsessions was torn between music and photography. Fortunately, classical music’s loss was photography’s gain as Adams made his crucial decision which path to follow.

One of the most interesting tales disclosed is how Adams made one of his most famous photographs, “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico.” He was driving home after a day of photographing, without much success, when his eye caught an image with the sun perfectly positioned. He had to record it. With his fellow companions, including his young son Michael, they pulled the car off to the side of the road. Adams rushed to set up his camera and tripod however; he could not find his light meter. The sun was quickly coming down and he would soon lose the light on the white crosses. He then remembered he knew the quality/amount of the light that is reflected off the moon. He set his exposure for his camera, remarkably resulting in one of his finest photos. Adams had only one chance, one shot. By the time he could set up to take another photo, the sun’s light had moved lower and off the crosses.

Ansel Adams is an American treasure, a master photographer and conservationist. Ric Burns film does this artist the justice he deserves.


~ by John Greco on July 9, 2013.

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