Ansel Adams Mornings

I think of these mornings as Ansel Adams mornings, when overnight the snow has fallen wet and heavy, clinging to branches, railings, and the sides of houses. The sky is tinted with the blue-gray of first light, and sunrise is moments away. It’s a world captured in gray and black and white.

Aiming my phone out the window, I take color photos, but they come through as black and white. Later when I apply the noir setting to them, the difference between the original and edited photos is nearly nonexistent, so I discard the changes.

Adams, one of my favorite photographers, captured the American West in black-and-white images, and his landscape photos featuring snow are among my favorites. I learned about Adams in a college photography class that I enrolled in because friends were taking the class for their art requirement. Having taken a ceramics class that summer, I didn’t need anymore art classes, but I signed up anyway because the class met on Monday nights when we all went country swing dancing at a local bar. If I was at class with them, it would be easier for us to carpool to the bar. I miss those days of whimsical logic.

That autumn I had a marvelous fling with country swing dancing, but I fell in love with the photography class. My friends spent just enough time completing assignments to earn what we called Charity C’s. But I spent hours photographing people, architecture, nature, and landscapes. And I spent hours and hours in the photo lab developing negatives and printing pictures, experimenting with different papers and exposures. I saved up money and bought my own 35 mm camera, playing with the f-stop, shutter speed, and film speed. I took four more photography classes over the next two years.

I thought about a career in photography, but I was more in love with taking pictures than the idea of earning a living by taking pictures. After I married and had children, my manual 35 found a shelf on a closet and retired. My husband bought me one of those instamatic 35 mm, a point and click camera that used 35 mm film. I used it for years, until I bought a digital camera with an SD card. But now my camera is a smart phone. And I can be a photojournalist wherever I travel or from the inside of my house.

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