Nerdwriter: Ansel Adams

I have followed the Evan (who goes by the nickname Nerdwriter) on YouTube for the last year or so and have really enjoyed his take on quite a range of subjects. In his own words he does "a vlog every Wednesday on things that caught my eye that week. I have to confess up front: it's all a shameless ploy to get readers for my book. (Honesty is the best policy.) I figure why not make it interesting in the process? It's fun to do anyway."

So when he did a vlog on Ansel Adams I couldn't resist watching it. It is always interesting to hear a non photographers view on photographers. They approach it from a slightly different angle and assume the audience knows less about the subject than a photographer would when talking to other photographers. Starting from the early images that Ansel Adams captured and the frustrations he had to solve. Like the rest of us he had to learn the craft and work with and around it's limitations.

In the short vlog Evan takes the chance to focus on what he thought were Ansel's greatest lasting legacies. His battle with capturing the image he saw in his mind's eye(something he came to call visualization), and a tool he used to make the exposure's (called the zone system) to give him the best chance to create the final image.

Standing in front of a landscape, seeing it in all it's glory, colours and textures , is a privilege. But trying to capture that in the final image, is something that can take time, practice and skill. Ansel, just like everyone else battled with this. But like Ansel we need to take the time exploring as Ansel termed it, both the inner and outer world, to find what we wanted the final image to look like. This may take half an hour or it may take twenty years, it depends on the image.

Evan does a particularly good job at giving a quick introduction to the zone system and how it fitted into visualization. This is quite a technical topic but the basic concept is quite simple and powerful. It allowed the photographer to get a sense of how the final image will look like, even before we could see a preview on the back of the camera. Giving us the ability to make decisions at the point of capture that would get the image as close as possible to the one we see in our mind. A tool, despite all the advances since, which still is used today nearly a century later.

I hope you enjoy the video and maybe a few of Evan's other vlog's. Have a great week.

Mike