I won’t pretend for a second that this image comes close to capturing the perfect cloudy moments that Ansel Adams captured, nor will I claim that the exposure and range of blacks and whites is anything like an Ansel Adams photo. But this is still my Ansel Adams. If you don’t know the man, he is famous for capturing the incredible scenery of the western United States, and often sat for hours, waiting for the right alignment of the clouds and shadows before clicking his shutter. He used a large format camera, which accepted film much larger than the 35mm film or digital camera sensors that we typically use today, which meant that his photos were exposed with incredible resolution. You could blow up an Ansel Adams photo to the size of a wall and it would be nearly as crisp as the moment when he stood looking over the valley and snapped a picture.
Ansel Adams took a number of photos that capture the beauty of lakes and mountains. This one of mine reminds me a lot of his Tetons and the Snake River, taken at the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Mine was taken much, much further away in Bariloche, Argentina, near the Puyehue volcano, which resides in the Puyehue National Park in Chile. The Puyehue volcano released a huge amount of ash in 2011, and had done so at least once more in the last century, sending a massive ash cloud over Bariloche and around the world. Getting around the lakes of Bariloche took us on soft, ash-paved roads and by 10-foot high mountains of ash. The layers of sediment from the various eruptions was easily visible. As I approached the edge of a cliff to the side of the road, I was surprised at how soft fresh ash is, and yet how dangerous it can be at the same time. During the 2011 eruption thousands of residents were evacuated so that they wouldn’t inhale the toxic particles being released from the volcano.