Midwestern Wanderlog

2016-01-29 – Searching for a place to stand


Phenomenal color prior to the sunrise this morning.  Walking up while the skies are developing fierce golds, reds, light purples and deep greyish-blue is both delightful and distracting – gotta still watch your step on an uneven path, you know!  And then there’s always this thought:

“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.”  –Ansel Adams

Came across this quote by one of the fathers of landscape photography a few days back while working on another project.  Don’t know if you know who he is – not everyone does anymore – but I’d be willing to bet you’ve seen his work.  He was a photographer and environmentalist best known for his striking pictures of Yosemite National Park as it was a hundred years ago. He’s also a big part of the reason photography is widely accepted as a fine art.

_MG_5488He worked only in black and white film (no digital cameras in those days!), but he used the full range of greys in between to convey the pristine wilderness of Yosemite and the High Sierras with crisp focus and deceptively-simple composition.  At the time he was criticized by those who felt that photographers and painters should be recording images that pertained to the economic and political issues of the day – the Dust Bowl, the situation of migrants, Soviet Russia, American culture.  It wasn’t until a generation later that people began to understand that preserving the character of the natural landscape was also a high social priority.

Ansel Adams knew where to stand – both in producing the work that was his passion and in protecting the places that held his near-devotion.

Shift where you stand, you change the entire composition of a photograph; take a stance on an issue close to your heart, you could change the world.

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