Channeling My Inner Ansel Adams

Cemetery, Shaftsbury Vermont, October 23, 2017.

I was driving north on Vermont Highway 7A and came to this cemetery and chapel near Shaftsbury Vermont. Dark clouds were quickly coming in from the west and the sun was rising in the east.

I found a spot near the northeast corner of the cemetery where the sun would light the headstones and the chapel. I liked the contrast between the illuminated headstones and the darkening sky.

“Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico”, by Ansel Adams, 1941, October 31 or November 1.

I was immediately reminded of the classic image by Ansel Adams, “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico”, with bright, white headstones and a very dark sky.

Moonrise, original, by Ansel Adams

Adams got this contrasty look in the darkroom. In the original the sky was much lighter and the headstones gray. Adams decided to make the sky darker and the headstones lighter.

I decided to create an image reminiscent of Adams’ style.

Cemetery, Shaftsbury, Vermont, after the Black and White conversion and before boosting the contrast.

I quickly grabbed some images with my iPhone. I was afraid the sunlight would be gone before I set up a camera and tripod. I was right. the clouds soon eliminated the sunlight. In my phone I converted the image to Black and White and, like Ansel Adams, I boosted the contrast to make the headstones lighter and the clouds darker.

I will never be an Ansel Adams, but one fine morning in Vermont for a few minutes I could play with the image and do the kind of thing he would do.

Cemetery, Shaftsbury, Vermont, Shires of Vermont Scenic Byway (7A).

The clouds overtook the sun so my little adventure playing Ansel Adams was over. I got out a camera and tripod, picked a different spot in the cemetery that would emphasize the fall color in the background and went back to being me.


The Ansel Adams Series – my series on Ansel Adams

Contrast in the Photography of Ansel Adams – featuring the changes to Moonrise, Hernandez

Ansel Adams: Books by and About the Master Landscape Photographer

Ansel Adams Gallery – This is THE place to go to buy the best high quality reproductions of Ansel Adams’ work. (Don’t go anywhere else to get reproductions because you will likely be disappointed in what you get.) You can also buy original prints here, but they sell for tens of thousands of dollars.