ON1 Inspiration — Episode 16: Emulating Ansel Adams

I have always been a fan of Ansel Adams. As a matter of fact, in High School we were given and artist emulation assignment where we were to photograph something like a great photographer of the past. Whether it was irony or fate, I have yet to determine; my teacher assigned me to Ansel Adams. At first, I thought he just had a funny name, but then I analyzed his work and realized he was a true master of the craft. Needless to say, emulating his style was not an easy task for a High School student.

Fast forward about 18 years and I find myself conducting a Workshop in Yosemite National Park. The scenery is awe inspiring, but having my feet planted in the same places Ansel had his, gave me chills to the core. I found myself trying to imagine what Ansel would do with the scenes in front of me. I previsualized the rich contrast black and white images that could be created from the veins of granite running through the monoliths all around me. I imagined the skies turning a rich black to bring out the white puffy afternoon clouds. To say this is a photographer’s playground is an understatement, it is our Disney World!

In this ON1 Inspiration episode, I am going to focus on the things that I previsualized while I was on the scene with a concentration on high contrast Black and White photographs. There are many ways to convert an image to Black and White, but not all of them are created equal. To make the best Black and White images we have to take the best approach and we cannot forget about the stars of the show, “Black” and “White.”

This process is not for the ON1 Effects feint of heart. It requires a build up of several effects, it is slow and methodical and leaves the preset panel in the dust. We will target three key areas to make the most compelling Black and White images, Tone, Color and Artistic Effects. Let’s dive in!