Lessons from Ansel Adams for the Digital Age


If you are a photographer, it is likely that Ansel Adams is one of your heroes. If you specialize as a landscape photographer, he is a Saint. Saint Ansel, I’ll call him. Even non-photographers know his name. There will never be another Ansel Adams!

Of course, Saint Ansel was active in the film era, but what if he were alive in today’s world of digital photography? What kind of digital photographer would he be? Would he even be a digital photographer? Believe it or not, way back in 1981, Ansel said, “I believe that the electronic image will be the next major advance.” So he had a hint of the digital revolution long before it became mainstream.

“Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.”

–Ansel Adams

I’ve been exploring these questions for several years. One thing I’ve come to believe is that Ansel would be an active and accomplished digital photographer. I’ve summarized my learnings and ideas in a program that I’m planning to unveil in a couple of weeks. Thanks to some wonderful friends, I’ll be giving this program at two venues in Cincinnati. The first is on July 27 and the second on July 28. The first is at the West Chester Photo Club and the second is a group that meets at the Cincinnati Nature Center. I’m really looking forward to meeting the great photographers in these groups. Hopefully, I’ll see you there! I’ve included some links below for more information. A special thanks to Sue and Frank for all the help!

The image included here is an homage to Saint Ansel. It is from Yosemite National Park, Ansel’s backyard. No one ever had or ever will capture Yosemite like Ansel and I’m not pretending to here, but it is the best I have for now. I’ll keep trying. In the meantime, enjoy!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s