Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Here's how it's REALLY done!

Just like many photographers nowadays, I confess to being inspired by Ansel Adams early on in my photography "career" -- and while I've grown to appreciate other photography masters, I cannot cast aside the feelings I still get when looking at a print from Ansel's many works -- which are almost as strong as when I saw Ansel's work for the first time.

In surfing the web recently, I came across the Ansel Adams online gallery. Or, I should say that I re-visited the site. I've been there before, just didn't really take a very deep look. Well, I'm glad I dug a little deeper.

In addition to selling the mass-produced works that you can get in art shops, and being the main source of Ansel's original photographs (prints that Ansel himself made in his darkroom and either signed or initialed), I discovered that there was something "in between" that, while still somewhat expensive, was reasonably within my budget.

The Ansel Adams Gallery is offering for sale a series of 25 prints from a special collection that Ansel himself collated into a "Yosemite Special Edition" and authorized his former assistant (Alan Ross -- a master photographer and print maker in his own right) to continue printing after his passing. These photographs are printed in the "old skool" method using Ansel's negatives exposed on photo-sensitive paper in an enlarger, developed in chemicals, and toned in selenium. Having spent MANY hours in the black & white darkroom, I recognize the challenge this entails, and the art form that is becoming more and more rare.

I've seen Ansel's prints on display in a few places and even some for sale, but the $5,000 price tag (and, well, WAAAAY up from there) has been beyond my reach. The Yosemite Special Edition, indeed as they advertise on the site, is as close to a real Ansel Adams print as most people can get. After several rounds of negotation with my wife, and involving her in the print selection, I purchased this one:

It arrived on my doorstep today. Wow. Just. WOW!

It's very inspiring seeing this in print. There's definitely a difference in the quality of a darkroom-made photograph and one that comes from a printing press. I've been reading about some of the digital printing capabilities and how they're getting MUCH better -- and special inks are available for printers to print black & white. While I don't have any pictures that are anywhere close to the quality of Ansel's work, I do have some that I'm very pleased with. I don't know if I'll ever get into a darkroom again, but I've scanned some of my black & white negatives, and would like to print them myself.

Now, however, I have a benchmark at least. The print I received today is really really REALLY cool. It really brought me back about 20 years when I first saw Ansel's photographs. Even though it wasn't printed by Ansel himself, Mr. Ross did a masterful job.

Wow. Just. Wow.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bentley Hybrid Upcoming???

Bentley Hybrid?

Okay, well, no. Not quite yet. I have no clue if they're even thinking of it. But it was the first thing that crossed my mind when I saw this scene at the 2007 Seattle Auto Show.

More pictures are posted on my Flickr stream.

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If you'd like to use images in this blog post, please e-mail paul(at)