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Photography Question 
Kumara Edirisooriya

Ansal Adams

Could you help me to find about Ansal Adam?
Thnk You.

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10/18/2003 9:30:55 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001

His name is spelled "Ansel Adams" which should help searching for information about him on the internet (and elsewhere).

See this site for two basic biographical sketches about his life:

Adams was a commercial photographer, although his landscape and a number of his architectural photographs across the Western U.S. are his most famous. He is most noted for his creation of the "Zone System" for black and white photography. It's not just an exposure method, it is an all-encompassing method that includes film developing and printing. There are those that enslave themselves to it and those that hate any mention of the Zone System (likely due to the "Zonies" that preach it as if it's the panacea for all that ails photography).

Ansel wrote a famous trilogy about photographic technique:
The Camera (Volume I)
The Negative (Volume II)
The Print (Volume III)

The Zone System is covered by all three, mostly in the last two volumes. Regarding Adams' Zone System, look at the underlying "durable principles" versus the specific method he used to achieve them:
(a) Visualizing what the finished photograph will look like in the mind *before* making it (i.e. pushing the shutter release).
(b) Absolute control of everything related to making the photograph from lens and film selection to focus, exposure and printing.
(c) "Calibration" of all equipment, film and print materials used for exposure (for negative and print).

The "calibration" involves performing experiments and keeping accurate records of their results. The purpose is to ensure that one can reliably and repeatably produce in a print what has been visualized in the mind.

Adams' first volume about cameras has a wealth of information about cameras, how they operate, and how to calculate various things needed to completely control them manually, especially for many specialized types of photographs.

-- John

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10/19/2003 7:29:57 PM

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