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Wednesday
Oct012008

"The Camera" By Ansel Adams Book Review

I, like most people, am familiar with some of this famous American Photographers work - his fantastic black and white images of places like Monument Valley and Yellowstone, but I've never read any of his books.

The selection at our local library on Photography is pretty poor, but after a chat with the librarian and the revelation that I could order any books from the County Library Service and have them delivered for 50p, I jumped at the chance to read "The Camera" by Ansel Adams.







At the heart of Ansel's teaching is the concept of "Visualisation". This is a technique where the photographer learns to imagine what he or she wants their final print / image to look like, then applies the necessary settings to the camera, chooses the composition and location, takes the picture, then uses the appropriate darkroom and printing skills to create that final image.

"The Camera" is the first in the series, followed by "The Negative" and "The Print", which hopefully I'll be able to read over the next few months.

Don't be afraid that because Adams worked with film that this book isn't just as relevant today in the digital age - you'll learn in a few short chapters how the different settings in your camera, its different lenses and how to use them, and your position in relation to your subject, can all be controlled to create the photographs that you imagined in the first place.

Mr Adams starts of with an explanation of "Visualisation", the art of knowing what you're going to create (not capture) before you press the shutter. He then goes on to review the different formats of camera available, from pin-hole through SLR's to large format. He explores and explains lenses - how they work and the difference they can make to your photographs.

Ansel Adams takes in Shutter Speed, how you can use it to change the feel of your images, he looks at the advantages of hand-held and tripod mounted cameras, then finally he talks about various accessories and special techniques.

Note that this book doesn't address the zone system for working out exposure - I guess that will be in the next volume, but it does provide a comprehensive reference and tutorial book for any photographer who wants to learn more about how the techniques behind Photography work, and how they can be applied, along with beautiful Black and White prints of Ansel Adams work.

Thanks, Rob.

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