Prelude to Yosemite

Yosemite | Fujfilm 400H (120)

As I may have mentioned briefly in another post, I have a pretty close connection to the reputable Ansel Adams. My photography professor (who shall remain nameless) worked at Ansel workshops in California when he was around my age, and spoke of him frequently. I even had the privilege of meeting, having lunch with, and picking the brain of Ansel’s main assistant (and friend of my professor) John Sexton, while he was at my university for a lecture.

As you can imagine, in my darkroom classes, Uncle Ansel was the centerpiece of the talks on the ‘technically perfect print’- assuming such a thing exists. The cloud detail, and the crisp highlights and shadows, and the endless variation of grey’s, and the composition, and on and on. He was in the calendar hanging on the wall, and posters hanging from the door, and some of the main textbooks were written by him. Sometimes I think I even saw him in the patterns of crystalized chemicals that had dripped or been spilled on to the metal or wooden counters. But, that could also have been the sleep deprivation, coupled with the hazardous chemicals of the trade, and listening to a lot of Miles Davis under a red safe-light. What I’m getting at is that the reverence my photography professor had towards Ansel was instilled a little in me, and it greatly affected my aesthetic in photography, and the direction I thought I wanted to go.

Of course, that has changed a little, but all through college, I wanted to see Yosemite for myself. I wanted to make that pilgrimage, camera in hand, and take my turn. So, when my friend invited me on a roadtrip through California, he knew my weakness, and set the hook by talking about hitting Yosemite on the way back north after reaching our furthest point south. Though I technically did not decide to go until about 12 hours before we left, I think the decision was made the first time I learned about Ansel, and his photographic exploration of the great, granite valley.

The next 2 to 4 posts will hopefully be dedicated to the landscape work I produced while I was there (depending what I get from the black and white negatives). I believe there is also a journal entry or two to share; reflections on how the experience was magnificent, and completely overwhelming, almost to the point of being defeating. If I was actually defeated, I’m not sure. I guess we’ll know soon enough.


Please note: most images posted from this roadtrip will be available for purchase. You can check out the new contact/purchasing tab (or click the blue lettering) for information.

13 thoughts on “Prelude to Yosemite

    1. Yeah, Miles and I got to know eachother pretty well during those times. Never got used to some of the stuff from Bitches Brew coming on when I was in complete darkness for half an hour developing sheet film.

      Thank you for the advice.

  1. Well, being aesthetically influenced by such a true master is certainly a wonderful thing, and I can just imagine how this got indelibly installed in your vision through your professor, and also through John Sexton. Wow, what superb photographic brains you had to pick there! Man, it must have been such a treat working and talking with people like these, how much one can learn…the mind boggles.

    I’m really looking forward to your further landscape work, and if this one is anything to go by I’m sure it’s going to be simply remarkable. Defeated? Hardly, yes overwhelmed possibly, but to be defeated one needs to lose faith, and that I can’t see that happening to you, no ways.

    1. It was a privilege, that’s for sure. Very grateful for it.

      Thanks, man. I totally forgot what I shot in b/w, but now that I’ve seen some of it, I took a more intimate approach to the place than I remember, which I’m glad about. The photo on this post is the only one that came out like that, unfortunately. The rest of the color stuff has a more subdued palette.

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