Yesterday would have been Ansel Adams 121st birthday. When I was very young in the early 1970s I briefly saw AA at Best’s Studio in Yosemite. He was outdoors with a group of people who were watching and listening intently. I remember well the big camera and even bigger Stetson. I carried the memory with me, but never made the connection until I bought my first AA book, The Portfolios of Ansel Adams in 1978.
As one of the most influential photographers in the development of my way of working, AA’s methodology gave me insights into making the photographs I could envision, but not easily execute. By reading and re-reading again and again The Negative, and Examples; The Making of 40 Photographs I began to develop my own practice utilizing the concept of pre-visualization. Using the Zone System of exposure helped me understand and overcome the limitations of light meters and film. At 17 years old these ideas were transformative and they have followed me into the realm of digital photography and are still relevant and necessary to my work.