Ansel Adams Redux

by Ansel Adams

I hope you’ll forgive me for posting Ansel Adam’s photographs. But, when you ponder upon the beauty of creation, and then see his photographs of said creation,… well, it does a soul good.

by Ansel Adams

No harping about megapixels here. He knew about his camera, his exposures, his natural subjects, lighting. And being a musician he knew that timing was everything, it’s said he waited patiently, sometimes hours for the right shots.

by Ansel Adams

He produced some 40,000 photographs during his lifetime. The old fashioned way, by developing each one individually, cropping and processing as needed.

Practice, practice, practice.

I feel better about photography with that in mind. When I look at photos I took a year ago I think about how much better they could be. And I know that by next year I’ll be thinking the same about some of the photos I’m taking right now. (I hope.)

But, it does a soul good to ponder upon the beauty of creation. And artists who help to lift our minds and our hearts, are truly gifts from God.

Ansel Adams – Updated

Ansel AdamsI’ve been investigating a few links on Ansel Adams today.

Did you know he was an accomplished musician, and a trained concert pianist in real life? I guess ‘accomplished photographer’ was just his day job.

His son had this wonderful excerpt to say: “The great American artist’s darkroom techniques—through dodging and burning—allowed him to see the image in his mind’s eye as a final print. “That’s the drama, the expertise of what he could accomplish that no one else was able to do,” said Michael Adams, Ansel’s son who is a retired physician of Carmel, California. His father, he added, would have embraced today’s easily manipulated photo techniques: “I think that he would have loved digital.””

In other words, he used primitive photoshop techniques in the darkroom. (If primitive could be applied to last century, of course…)

He was hired by the National Park Service, which still has his photos, now online.

One of his most famous photos, Moon and Half Dome, was the subject of a study called Dating Moon and Half Dome. You guessed it they pin pointed the exact time the photo was taken.

His wife inherited her father’s art gallery, and in turn the Adams children inherited it, the Kids Store is a great place for all things Ansel Adams.

The Government Archives of Ansel Adam’s work for the National Park Service is another repository of photos.

He undertook, privately, a photo study of Manzanar, the government relocation camp for the Japanese during WWII.

Great looking book he wrote, Examples: Making Photographs, details the making of various photographs. A quote:

“One time when Ansel was shooting in the Sierra Nevada with some friends, he came away from his camera and walked into the scene. He grabbed hold of a tree limb, ripped it off the tree, and tossed it aside. When his more environmentally concerned friends made an uproar, he simply stated that it did not belong in the picture.”

Another informed site: Wilderness Net

“Perhaps one of the reasons Adams felt so strongly connected to the great wilderness was because of how it greatly improved his health. Somewhat sickly and slightly manic about germs and disease prior to living in Yosemite, Adams began to feel stronger, mentally and physically, the longer he spent there. He developed the stamina to haul his camera equipment with him through the back country treks that were becoming commonplace for him. His mental stability improved and he practiced the great discipline he had learned as a young piano player, waiting hours for the right light to shoot a certain scene. The wilderness had taken hold of Adams, sending him on trips into untamed regions. He photographed the wilderness using the techniques of the time and also the ideals of ancient art. The ‘wildness’ of these pure, unadulterated areas is what fed such inspiration to Adams.

… He told his father in a letter he felt photography would be only a hobby for him, but the summers in the Sierras proved to move him in a way music could not. He lamented his ability in music, realizing that to become a true master he would need years more experience. His indecision between his two loves led him to delay his marriage to Virginia, who was patient and forgiving throughout.


From a lucky man who spent aDay with Ansel Adams, Larry Kessel.

The Detroit Museum of Art, has a spread.

Tori at atTori Digital Photography has some beautiful photos up; looks like an interesting site.

Then, Temple University’s Ansel Adams page, has some more thoughts and works.

And finally, the Meaning of the Name Ansel:
Ansel a-nsel, an-sel as a boy’s name is pronounced AN-sul. It is of Old French origin, and the meaning of Ansel is “follower of a nobleman”. Also variant of Anselm (Old German) “God’s helmet”. Use is likely to refer to photographer Ansel Adams, who photographed the American wilderness so eloquently.

Pre-visualization before exposure, finishing the print for art mounting, accomplished pianist… no wonder generations are learning from this guy.

40 Days for Life

40 Days for Life

Today our Parish helped pray through the hours of the 40 Days for Life, along with St. Charles Borromeo Parish and Our Lady of Divine Providence Parish. Talk about an amazing day. These kids were sitting here singing contemporary hymns after praying their Rosary.


I also met the directors of the Louisiana Right to Life Federation, and the Women’s New Life Center, as well as the director of 40 Days for Life in Dallas, over an impromptu lunch. And what an honor it was to be able to visit with these well spoken, focused young adults who are articulately pro-life and Catholic. What a blessing!

It was such a power lunch; we secretly planned out the next several years in our clandestine plot to take over the world for the pro-life cause.

Our Lady of Hope

40 Days for Life is a truly inspirational and prayerful program. Please check it out in your area and, if you’re not involved, please consider it next year; and the year after that, and the year after that, et cetera.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

About St. Jude

St. Jude

Not a lot is known about St. Jude’s life. But, because of the great popularity after his death, history has passed down to us the basics of his life and death. The International Shrine of St. Jude, which is for some reason located here in New Orleans, has a brief biography of the illustrious saint.

A Few Things on St. Jude

  1. He was one of the 12 Apostles
  2. His brother was James the Less.
  3. His father, Cleophas, was the brother of St. Joseph.
  4. St. Jude’s mother, Mary of Cleophas, was a cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary: their mothers were sisters.
  5. Jude, and his fellow apostle Bartholomew, are traditionally believed to have been the first to bring Christianity to Armenia, and are therefore venerated as the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
  6. St. Bernard of Clairvaux tells us that St. Jude was courageous because of his virginal purity and the courage he used to protect it.
  7. At the Last Supper Jesus said: “yet a little while and the world no longer sees me. But you shall se me, for I live and you shall live;” (John 14, 19). St. Jude replied, “Lord, how is it that You are to manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” He was very concerned about evangelization.
  8. Tradition reports that after the Ascension of Jesus Christ he set about travel and evangelization. Reported are the miraculous cure of King Abagaro, ruler of Edessa, a city in Mesopotamia, and, in Persia with St. Simon, an unexpected peace for King Varardach. He won over the king and his entire court to the Catholic faith.
  9. St. Bridget of Sweden maintinaed a healthy devotion of prayer for the intercession of St. Jude. In a vision she was encouraged by Jesus, who told her that similar to Jude’s surname, Thaddeus (which means generous, courageous, and kind), “he will show himself to be the most willing to give you help.”
  10. A down and out entertainer in Tennessee invoked the intercession of St. Jude, and in thanksgiving some time later built the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital as a testament to his intercession.


Death of St. Jude

St. Jude is often depicted holding a club, to call to mind that he was eventually clubbed to death by angry pagans. The flame atop his head is a reminder that he was present at Pentecost for the descent of the Holy Spirit.

A Prayer

May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved and preserved now and forever. Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us, Saint Jude worker of Miracles, pray for us, Saint Jude helper and keeper of the hopeless, pray for us, Thank you Saint Jude.

Flowers in the Night Haiku

Kooky Vase

Flowers in the night
Strange vase of agapanthus—
looking cool in delft.

I don’t know why haiku is such enduring and endearing poetry. But I fell in love with it way back in the day when I took a 20th Century Literature class and we spent some time with haiku. It was because of Ezra Pound we spent time with haiku, not because it was a 20th century thing, although evidently it took the name haiku in the late 19th century. And ever since then I’ve written bad haiku on whims. I even think in it sometimes.

I must get to Church
to say morning Mass for all.
the faithful gather


The Vatican ‘note’
on the economic mess
is ridiculous.

Not that that’s genuinely haiku of course.

Technically there should be two contrasting elements, and 17 sound units which in English is usually just three lines, five, seven, and five syllable. And of course in modern haiku, as with most things modern, you can do whatever you want.

So, if I contrast bright cheery flowers with the darkness and drear, then there should be a cutting element, which brings the two together somehow. Every now and again it turns maudlin.

Flowers in the night
cheerful lights midst the darkness
breaking up the gloom.


Agapanthus bright,
night filled with darkness and drear
lift my spirits please.

It’s a good thing I didn’t take up poetry as a career. Life would have been very painful.

Dear Lord, Jesus Christ.
a mere sinner needs your love
grant me wholeness, please.

The Rev. Kenneth Allen