Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 35

Thread: Death Valley Light

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    161

    Death Valley Light

    It seems to be that I ran across a paragraph in Weston's Daybooks in which he reported some advise that Ansel Adams had given him about peculiar light characteristics in Death Valley that impacted metering or perhaps filters. If I remember correctly, Weston did an unsatisfying shoot in Death Valley and then returned armed with the advise. I don't have the Daybooks with me now. Does anyone happen to recall something along these lines in the Daybooks? Perhaps I even have the story reversed and the source is something Adams may have written. In any case, does this cryptic recollection trigger any thoughts about Weston's or Adams' thoughts about exposure issues in Death Valley?

  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Humboldt County, CA
    Posts
    6,370

    Re: Death Valley Light

    My first thought is just that the quality of light is far different from the moist coast (soft) than the dry desert (hard, as in contrasty). I do not remember the advise in the Daybooks, but it has been awhile. Curious to read other thoughts on this.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Grand Junction,CO
    Posts
    915

    Death Valley Light

    I seem to recall Adams telling Weston to use a yellow filter but not to apply a filter factor for the filter when determining exposure.

  4. #4
    Bill Kostelec
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Spokane, Washington
    Posts
    150

    Re: Death Valley Light

    Not the Daybooks, I think.

  5. #5
    おせわに なります! Andrew O'Neill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Coquitlam, BC, Canada, eh!
    Posts
    4,338

    Re: Death Valley Light

    I seem to recall Adams telling Weston to use a yellow filter but not to apply a filter factor for the filter when determining exposure.
    I remember reading this too, I think it was in Adams' Letters book.

  6. #6
    Vaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Humboldt County, CA
    Posts
    6,370

    Re: Death Valley Light

    Just went thru Letters and could not find any reference to yellow filters in any of the letters to EW from AA -- except to use as safe-light filter (sort of). But I was using the index for the search, so it might have missed something (you can't judge a book by the cover -- or know the contents from the index!)
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Grand Junction,CO
    Posts
    915

    Death Valley Light

    It's in the book "Examples" under the "sand dunes, sunrise" section. But it was Weston telling Adams about the filter

  8. #8
    lab black
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    97

    Re: Death Valley Light

    To the best of my memory, Edward Weston suggested to Ansel Adams to use a medium yellow filter and process at plus one, while ignoring the filter factor. when making images of the sand dunes. This is something that Ansel has written and possibly, it may be either in "The Negative," "The Print," or "Examples." I have used this technique with great success in Death Valley for many years.
    "We work in the dark, we do what we can, we give what we have."
    Henry James

  9. #9
    2 Bit Hack
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    922

    Re: Death Valley Light

    I have not shot Death Valley in about 30 years. The ones I do have of the region all lack definition between the background mountains and sky, a filtering issue. I would liken the bright ground and sand as shooting snow but with a bit less adjustment. So I think lab black is right. I did see some really nice dune shots in a filtering example using a medium or light orange. Perhaps a polarizer too.

  10. #10
    ROL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,351

    Re: Death Valley Light

    I use a yellow or deep yellow filter to reduce blue and increase micro-contrast and end up with N-1 development in most cases of B/W landscape work, with the exception of Golden Hour when no contraction is necessary. There is a lot of yellow earth in DV and perhaps the suggestion (whoever made it) came from resolving contrast between reds and dun colors. Of course, there is also a lot more atmosphere to shoot through than in higher elevations.

    All the excitement of late about DV is somewhat perplexing to me. I suppose it may come somewhat from a long cabin fever winter, for some snowbirds. I find that meaningful fine art photography in DV can be difficult even when well planned, but returned last weekend after a number of years to take advantage of potential storm light. Regrettably, it turned out to be mostly rather flat filtered sunlight or bland overcast. Finding myself often perpendicular to the light, I used a polarizer where significant sky was included a bit more than expected. I took a full frontal of the Artist Palette sans filter as a test to see how well the tones were "naturally" resolved using my standard film and developer. Perhaps I will post it once I get it proofed. BTW, there were a s--tload of serious (e.g., with tripods and bizarrely long lenses ) digital shooters about.


    P.S. I found a discussion by Adams in Book 4, Natural-Light Photography, of the Basic Photo Series which includes almost all points made above depending on circumstance and eventual resolution. In other words, a good understanding of light, filter use, and visualization trumps any particular circumstance. He made specific mention of Weston's DV work even at high noon under full sun.

Similar Threads

  1. Need Death Valley Advice re Racetrack & Saline Valley
    By Richard K. in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 35
    Last Post: 31-Dec-2010, 10:26
  2. Death Valley
    By Terry Hull in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 29
    Last Post: 11-Feb-2010, 17:43
  3. Anyone for yet another Death Valley image?
    By jetcode in forum On Photography
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 17-Aug-2007, 17:14
  4. Death Valley this weekend.
    By JW Dewdney in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 14-Mar-2007, 14:20
  5. Death Valley Wildflowers
    By QT Luong in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-May-2005, 13:44

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •