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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Moon and Half Dome...I've never really understood what the wow factor is of this shot. And given that it's one of the most ...
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Old 26-01-2006, 18:12   #1 (permalink)
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Moon and Half Dome

I've never really understood what the wow factor is of this shot. And given that it's one of the most famous photos from one of the most famous photographers, I probably ought to know.

So what's so good about it?

http://facstaffwebs.umes.edu/bphudso...mHalf-Dome.jpg
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Old 26-01-2006, 18:27   #2 (permalink)
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Completely misses me as well , will have to go and read up on it .
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Old 26-01-2006, 19:23   #3 (permalink)
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You need to see a proper print for a start, that copy is truly dreadful.

The story behind the taking of the image as far as I can remember is this, Ansell Adams was trekking through yosemeti in winter looking for photographs. He had with him 12 (I think) 12" x 10" glass plate negatives and had used all but one of them when he came on that view. He set up the big wooden box camera and did what he did best, captured one of his most famous images using the only plate he had left. His 'Zone System'* for gauging exposure times is what enable him to capture the whole range of tones from black to pure white without any part of the image being blown out.

Personally though my favourite AA image is "Mount McKinley and Wonder Lake"

*I'd need to go and look at the book to see if he was calling it that then, or wether he was still developing the idea.
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Old 26-01-2006, 21:37   #4 (permalink)
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Have to go with steep on this one this print looks like i printed it the original is magic
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Old 26-01-2006, 21:52   #5 (permalink)
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For the little I know about this, that copy above shows nothing of the detail in the original shot.

See this for a much improved though smaller version.

HERE
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Old 26-01-2006, 21:59   #6 (permalink)
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Well - given the gear & materials used I think it is absolutely stunning !

S*d it - even without considering the gear and materials used it IS absolutely stunning !

Does it for me anyway !
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Old 27-01-2006, 18:36   #7 (permalink)
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Here's a sample of my favourite. I have a 13x9" print of it on the wall, lit from above it springs to life and is just stunning.

http://www.anseladams.com/on/demandw...tandardCatalog
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Old 27-01-2006, 19:49   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Venomator
Well - given the gear & materials used I think it is absolutely stunning !

S*d it - even without considering the gear and materials used it IS absolutely stunning !

Does it for me anyway !
Now that is a big difference with the detail. Beautiful shot.
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Old 27-01-2006, 20:24   #9 (permalink)
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I hadn't thought about the difficulty involved in getting detail on the ground while stopping the moon from being blown. Having that pointed out to me does increase my respect for the shot.

However...

That's because I'm a photographer (no jokes please ) and I know about exposure etc. Your average Joe Public type chap isn't going to think "wow, the shadows have detail but the moon isn't blown out." He's just going to look at it and think it's a picture of a moon over a bit of rock. No repetition of form or particulalrly noticable symmetry/reflections/etc.
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Old 27-01-2006, 21:11   #10 (permalink)
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Again, I can only say you need to see the original ( or at leat a proper print ) you can't judge properly unless.

The only way you'll get to see a decent print is to buy it or go to a gallery/shop where one can be bought. The Adams trust/gallery whatever is very very protective of his work and you won't find a good sized good quality print online.
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Old 28-01-2006, 02:58   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fingerz
I hadn't thought about the difficulty involved in getting detail on the ground while stopping the moon from being blown. Having that pointed out to me does increase my respect for the shot.

However...

That's because I'm a photographer (no jokes please ) and I know about exposure etc. Your average Joe Public type chap isn't going to think "wow, the shadows have detail but the moon isn't blown out." He's just going to look at it and think it's a picture of a moon over a bit of rock. No repetition of form or particulalrly noticable symmetry/reflections/etc.
Ok, but your not allowing for the fact that you are looking at the image form an objective point of view. The reason this is such a popular image is it LOOKS GOOD People don't always popularise an image on it's artistic competence. If it looks good, people will buy it, depending on current trends in popular art. As an example, if you go to Ikea or any other shop that sells mass produced prints, what you find the most of is simply a reflection of the populaces current consensus of opinion.

Nothing else beyond that. Fundamentaly, it's pleasing to the eye, it stirs emotions in people, some images do it, some don't.

That's what makes it a succesful image. Along with all ther Ansel Adams Hype of course
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Old 28-01-2006, 02:59   #12 (permalink)
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P.s

Thanks for posing a question that has actually stimulated some intelligent discourse!
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Old 30-01-2006, 01:17   #13 (permalink)
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Cheers

I'll try to see an original print at some point, if I can.

But there are loads of photos that still have impact even when viewed at very low resolution on the internet. The guy standing in front of the tank in Tianenmen Square, Those guys eating lunch on a girder on a half-built skyscraper way above new york... The list goes on. The photo is good regardless of how you see it. With Moon and Half Dome it seems you have to see the original to fully appreciate it, which limits the audience appreciation.

But I guess it's the same with some paintings.
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Old 30-01-2006, 08:14   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fingerz
...Those guys eating lunch on a girder on a half-built skyscraper way above new york...
I have read somewhere, sometime that,that shot is a fake. However, not to take the thread away from AA - I can see where the praise is coming from, with the Moon and Half Dome, but I tend to agree that the proletariat will not see it that way.

regards
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Old 30-01-2006, 10:51   #15 (permalink)
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We also have to remember that the image was taken at a time when computers didn't exist, it was always meant to be seen in the flesh as it were, on paper, having been manually developed and printed to show it at it's best. What AA wanted to do (I think) was express light, that's why he always strove to capture the full tonal range and why he went to such pains at each stage of the process from shutter click to final print.
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Old 30-01-2006, 12:22   #16 (permalink)
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Actually, I meant to ask what the 'zone system' actually is.

So what is it?

Spose I ought to do a Google really. Will have a look now.
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Old 30-01-2006, 12:50   #17 (permalink)
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Read some descriptions. Seems to be fairly irrelevant to anyone who brackets their exposures which, in the DSLR world we now live in, ought to be most people.
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