In Ansel’s Footsteps – Twelve Significant Photographs in any One Year (2012)

Ansel Adams once said, “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” This doesn’t sound like very many but at that time Ansel was shooting with an 8×10 large format camera, a very heavy and bulky piece of equipment. Photography has evolved drastically since then with the advent of digital cameras, which are lighter and much more compact than the old field cameras Adams hauled around. With high capacity memory cards and bigger hard drives one can take hundreds of photographs without even thinking twice about it.

While it seems that taking photographs has gotten a lot easier, actually making significant photographs that stand out above the rest is a skill that still requires hard work and dedication, lots of patience, and sometimes even a little luck!

Due to an extensive amount of traveling this year I just couldn’t narrow it down to just twelve, so below are thirteen images from 2012 which are significant to me. Clicking on the image will open a larger, high quality version. Happy New Year everyone, Enjoy!

Emerald-Fairy-Tale

“Emerald Fairy Tale” – Adirondack State Park, New York

"Paradise Meadows" - Paradise Valley, Emigrant, Montana

“Paradise Meadows” – Paradise Valley, Emigrant, Montana

 

"Another Day at the Office" - Adirondack State Park, New York

“Another Day at the Office” – Adirondack State Park, New York

"Perfect Harmony" - Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

“Perfect Harmony” – Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

 

"Nature's Architecture" - Glacier National Park, Montana

“Nature’s Architecture” – Glacier National Park, Montana

 

"Ghost Ship" - Adirondack State Park, New York

“Ghost Ship” – Adirondack State Park, New York

 

"The Height Of Summer" - Crazy Mountains, Montana

“The Height Of Summer” – Crazy Mountains, Montana

 

"Frozen Wonders" - Adirondack State Park, New York

“Frozen Wonders” – Adirondack State Park, New York

 

"Glacial Chamber" - Glacier National Park, Montana

“Glacial Chamber” – Glacier National Park, Montana

 

"An Early Spring" - Adirondack State Park, New York

“An Early Spring” – Adirondack State Park, New York

 

"Beyond The Falls" - Hyalite Canyon, near Bozeman, Montana

“Beyond The Falls” – Hyalite Canyon, near Bozeman, Montana

 

"Mountain Paradise" - Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, Montana

“Mountain Paradise” – Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, Montana

 

"Grand Finale" - Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

“Grand Finale” – Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ampersand Mountain

Ampersand Mountain

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on my blog here, mainly because I have been taking advantage of winter and getting out to shoot as much as possible. I shot this beautiful sunset from the summit of Ampersand Mountain near Saranac Lake, NY, this past Monday. The forecast called for gradually clearing skies throughout the afternoon so I was anticipating a nice sunset. After hiking nearly 3 miles I reached the 3,352 ft summit and found these wonderful wind sculpted patterns in the snow. The rest of the summit was mostly bare rock from being blasted by the wind constantly. It was so frigid my camera ate up 3 lithium batteries in the relatively short amount of time I spent on the mountain. Temperatures were only in the single digits and with the wind it was well below zero. My camera looked like an ice cube by the time I was done shooting the sunset. Hiking back down under a starry night sky is always an exhilarating experience!

In Light Of Winter

In Light Of Winter
This image was made during a recent artic snap here in the northeast. Temperatures on this frigid morning were hovering around -20° F. Mist rising off the Sacandaga River had left a coating of rime ice on the trees lining the banks. When the sun rose over the trees it provided me with this glorious backdrop that really helped to set this tree off. One way to get great photos is to go out in extreme weather, and certainly braving weather conditions like this is what gave me the opportunity to capture something truly unique.

Eight Below

Eight Below

All of these images were taken on a stretch of the Hudson River near my home in Athol. With morning temperatures in the negative single digits this made for some beautiful conditions. After checking the temp at home I put on a few extra layers and headed out. Knowing that there was a good chance for frosty trees I headed for a section of the Hudson that is usually open during this time of year. I arrived with plenty of time before the sun came up over the trees. The mist rising from the river had indeed left frost on the trees lining the banks. I spent about an hour exploring different compositions. Here are several of my images from that day, showing the variety of compositional material I found on this very short stretch of river. All of the images you see here are available for purchase as Fine Art Prints through my website at www.adirondackzack.com

Ray Of Hope“Ray Of Hope”

On The Edge“On The Edge”

Carving A Path“Carving A Path”

Winter's Breath“Winter’s Breath”

The Heavens Above

The Heavens Above
This image of the milky way galaxy over the mountains beyond Garnet Lake in the Adirondacks took a lot of planning and preparation to get it right. The final image involved 3 horizontally stiched images…sounds easy right? Well it would have been except for the fact that I shot each image at a very high ISO and stitching those together would have left me with a noisy, useless image, no good for printing large. I decided to try something I had never done before. I took 20 exposures each of the 3 base exposures, for a total of 60 exposures altogether. I then imported each ‘set’ of exposures into Deep Sky Stacker, a program used in astrophotography, and stacked them together to create one noise free image from each of the 3 sets.

The image set with the landscape had to be stacked twice, once for the sky, and once for the landscape. The reason for this is simple. The stars ‘move’ as the earth rotates, but the landscape remains stationary. Once I corrected the blurry landscape, in this case the mountains, I was ready to stitch together the 3 images generated from Deep Sky Stacker. I used Microsoft ICE for the final stitch. The final result is a 23MP high resolution, noise free, fine art print!

Renewal

Renewal
I picked this image for my first post of the new year because a crescent moon is a symbol of renewal. After checking the weather reports I headed out to photograph the sunset at a wilderness lake near my home. The sunset ended up not panning out the way I had hoped but I knew there was a waxing crescent moon that would soon follow the sunset and decided to hang out and shoot some stars anyway. A small patch of clouds moved in just in time for moonset which helped add interest to the simple composition I chose. After the moonset I shot some nighttime images over the frozen lake. Being out there at dark on the lake was a little eerie, with the sounds of the ice shifting underneath me. At one point it sounded (and felt) like the ice was going to split apart right underneath my feet…it made me jump by the way 😉