Besides photography, one of my other main interests is reading, so once I started getting more serious about my photography, it was natural that I started looking for books on the how-tosof photography. I’ve read a bunch of books on that aspect of photography, but it has been just recently that I’ve started getting more interested in reading and looking at photos produced by the better-known photographers of times past and present. The idea behind this is by studying their work and methods and applying the relevant parts to my photography, that I will become a better photographer.
I’m currently working my way through Mary Street Alinder’s excellent biography about Ansel Adams. During the later years of his life, she was his personal assistant, so with that and some pretty thorough research on the early part of his life, she has painted a detailed picture of Ansel Adams as both a photographer and a person, much of which I can relate to on a personal level, as a fellow photographer. Even though I’m only about halfway though the book, I’ve already learned a lot, particularly when it comes to the process he used in the darkroom to produce the prints that are so loved, even to this day. Even though I’m not using the same type of “darkroom” that he used, I can still apply some of his methods to the digital pictures that I work on in my Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (more on photo editing in a future post). An excellent collection of Ansel Adams’ photographs can be found in Ansel Adams : 400 Photographs. Even if you prefer to shoot in color, this is still a valuable resource for studying photo composition and lighting as it relates to the great outdoors.
Another book that I just got today via ILL at the public library is Intimate Landscapes by Eliot Porter. This is a collection of landscape photography that proves that you don’t necessarily have to include a horizon with a big sky or use a wide-angle lens to capture landscapes. Often times, the best landscape shots are those that don’t include any sky at all. I first became aware of this title when I read an article on shooting the American Midwest in the June 2009 issue of Outdoor Photographer and I think it will provide some much needed inspiration for my photography right here in north central Florida, where I live.
I will leave you with an example of an intimate landscape that I captured just earlier this week as I was walking around my neighborhood. Enjoy!