Ansel Adams was a very well-known American photographer. The title of his artwork that I chose to critique is called “Mount Williamson: Clearing Storm.” This medium is a photograph that was taken in the year 1944. “This piece of art is a black and white photograph of an American Landscape, specifically in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.” This photo is a beautiful image illustrating the passing of a storm. In viewing this image one would notice the natural elements of the textured landscape which includes an extensive mountain range and a large field of patterned stones.
The wispy style clouds, with sunlight spilling through, complete this medium of art.
“Adams decided to pursue photography as a profession, specializing in photographing Western wilderness areas such as Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada Mountain range.” He maintained this career for several decades. In addition, he was very passionate about the environment and became a well-liked environmentalist. His impressive photographs displayed amazing details of natural wonders.
With his photos becoming quickly popular, society became more aware of the meaning of preserving the natural environment around them.
Adams’s tool of choice to work with was an “8X10” field camera. It is with this camera that he shot some of the most amazing and prominent images ever made of the Western parts of America. “His majestic landscapes and evocative still lifes conveyed a vision of an idealized America that helped inspire the wilderness conservation movement.”
It was during the year of 1945 during World War II, that Adams photographed “Mount Williamson, part of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range in California.
” I think this black and white photograph demonstrates Adams’ expertise in this medium as well as portrays his feelings about the importance of caring for any environment and its natural characteristics within them. “Each photograph in his collection depicts natural characteristics such as valleys, forests, mountains, and water bodies in a stunning black and white print.” In addition, his photos demonstrate the pureness of the natural environment which allows the viewers to observe a crisp, clean, and very natural landscape.
In this photograph, a viewer would easily notice the organization of elements being displayed. One particular element that I observed in this image is the variety of tones dispersed throughout the photo. The tones in “Mount Williamson: Clearing Storm,” range from zone 0 (black) to zone 10 (white), which gives this image a great balance and contrast. At first glance I noticed right away the dark boulder in the center of the photograph, looking strong and massive, allowing the image to look uniquely symmetrical or balanced. The emphasis on the large central stone grabs the viewer’s attention before the eyes are then shifted out into the grading field that is strewn with a pattern of various-sized stones. Adams does an amazing job capturing the contrast of tones from light to dark with every stone. In addition, when looking in the distance, I notice the gray tones of the mountain ranges being displayed across the sky. Looking directly at the mountains there is a great emphasis on the dark color that helps to separate the land from the sky.
The top of the mountains is surrounded by beautiful mysterious-looking clouds. The clouds enhance this photograph by showcasing a touch of shadowing and a hint of highlighting as the sun’s rays shine across the mountain range exhibiting movement in the photo. The clouds seem to lay low in the sky as if they are resting on the mountains. Furthermore, the clouds also display a view of fading as you look outward on both sides of the photograph.
Another component that I have observed in this photograph deals with the proportion and scale that are both demonstrated between the two mountain peaks. These twin peaks are very similar in size, however, the peak of the mountain on the viewer’s right is not as pointed, yet these mountains proportionally fill the center of the photograph showing what looks like the shape of the letter “V” centered between the two.
Lastly, when one looks directly at the photo it looks as if the image is viewed from a direct spot off of the ground. This perspective helps to enhance the physical distance and depth between the mountains and the stones, giving one an overall gradation view of the entire landscape.
Many comforting feelings can be displayed as the image pulls together all of the natural elements that Adams so easily portrays in this particular scene. I especially like how the clouds are dispersed just enough to allow the sun to shine through, emphasizing a sense of relief, signaling the passing of the storm. Moreover, I like how the tones in-between white and black contribute a magnificent display of light and make for a fantastic landscape of natural features.