Thursday, November 08, 2007

Price Increase Coming for Ansel Adams Yosemite Special Edition Prints

Did you know you can buy a real silver-gelatin print made from an original Ansel Adams Negative for just $175? For decades, it has been possible to buy a print just like Ansel would have made it, thanks to his Yosemite Special Edition Print collection. But if you want one at this price, you should hurry--on November 15, 2007, the prints will increase to $225 each.

From the Ansel Adams Gallery Web Site:

Ansel Adams launched the Yosemite Special Edition series in 1958. Today, Alan Ross makes each Special Edition Photograph by hand from Adams ' original negative on gelatin silver fiber paper. Ross, a master printer and fine art photographer in his own right, began working side-by-side with Adams as his photographic assistant in 1974; he's been the exclusive printer of this series since 1975. Each of the prints in this limited series bears an identifying stamp. Yosemite Special Edition Photographs are available only from The Ansel Adams Gallery for $175. Order Now - Price Increases to $225 on November 15, 2007.

For a printmaker, having a visual reference like this is extremely valuable, because it lets you see how a master dealt with the challenges presented to him--in both the scene, and the darkroom. At one time I was amazed to see that a few of of Ansel’s most famous photographs have focus issues, and other problems that we might think would cause him to reject the images--but the truth is that the emotive qualities of these photographs are far more important than a never-to-be-achieved technical perfection.

Some of my favorites from this collection are:

Merced River, Cliffs, Autumn - Shows how Ansel dealt with a really high-contrast scene. I’ve seen early prints of this image that were much more contrasty. Even in this print, some highlights are devoid of detail, but the overall effect is magical.

Yosemite Valley, Winter - Another magical print that captures the crispness of a fresh snowfall in Yosemite with a very challenging tonal scale.

Cathedral Spires and Rocks - I have this one on the wall at home. The top portion of the photograph has been burned in, and it is interesting to see how Ansel dealt with the high values on Cathedral rock. It is very soft and muted, and the photograph has some focus issues as well...but with an 8x10 negative, and out-of-focus neg can look sharper than a perfectly focused medium-format frame (or digital :) egads!)

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Comet Holmes

If you've ever wanted to photograph a comet, now is your chance as Comet Holmes graces the northeast sky just after sunset. This comet is so bright it will easily show up with even short exposures. Check out Sky and Telescope for finder charts, then go out and enjoy the view!