Channeling Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams introduced us to the grandeur of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada mountains in his early photography in the 1920s and 30s, but his famous capture of the light on the Grand Tetons and Snake River was made about the time he invented the 10-point zone system of tonal contrast (varying from pure white to pure black) in the early 1940s.


The winding path of the Snake River draws one’s eyes right to the dramatic peaks that stand out so starkly and definitively in black and white.  Adams added some additional contrast to the sky to bring out the drama of the clouds and weather in this location.

It’s hard to reproduce that scene today, because the vegetation has changed quite a bit — in fact, the trees have grown so much they obscure part of the view of the river.

Grand Tetons-in-fall

Our view was marred by smoke from the Yellowstone fire, as well as low fog and haze.  The hill on the left lined with evergreens still dips toward the river, and the river’s path is about the same, although not obvious through the trees.

On another day (with better air clarity), we got a good sense of the rugged texture of those famous peaks, punctuated with a little fall color from the yellow aspens.

Grand Tetons-in-fall

The clouds constantly drifted by the peaks, uncovering various new aspects of them over time.

Landscape photography with Rick Sammon

This was going to be a 5 minute photo stop for the group of photographers in this Rick Sammon workshop, but turned into an hour long session, as the clouds drifted over the peaks presenting amazing new views.

This location provided an opportunity to try to “channel Ansel Adams”, for some dramatic Black and White photography.  So, here’s my rendition of the Grand Tetons a la Ansel Adams.

Grand Tetons


What a location for landscape photography, to say nothing of the wildlife we saw as well.