Ansel Adams had a way with imagery. He had an eye for an image which is always a good start. He had a passion for his art. But what I rremember his images for best was his ability to draw out the tones in an image. He was a master in the darkroom. I managed to get a hold of one of his books, “Ansel Adams, 400 Photographs” a couple of years ago in Waterford City for the knockdown price of €40. At first I thought what a waste of money that was. Then I had second look, and a third. Nothing exceptional in the book but how he took the normal, everyday stuff and presented it soon became addictive. It was images like Dogwood that set me on the trail of the simple shots.
Ansel could pull out the best of a Black and White image. It’s easy to say it can be done nowadays in Photoshop or other processing software…not so.
This image was of a green ivy (Duh!) and I used the B&W layer in CS3 to give it a start. The ivy was never going to bounce from the image due to the fact that the trunk had a hint of green too…let’s face it, it’s a tree. So what I did then was to create a mask from the image itself and create a black layer, then used the mask to boost the blacks (after inverting the mask).
This was fine but didn’t bounce the ivy so I had to take the normal route of hitting the highlights with the dodge tool and hitting the midtones with the burn tool. A little vignette when brought back into Lightroom helped to emphasise the isolation of Ansels Ivy. If you want clarification on any points just place a comment below and I’ll gladly oblige.