"Moon Over Hernandez" An insight into Ansel Adams

“Moon Over Hernandez” An insight into Ansel Adams


Note: The actual name of this image is “Moonrise, Hernandez , New Mexico” The title of the post is about the workings of and the insight into this photograph by Ansel’s son, Michael.

Join Marc Silber for an inside look at Ansel Adams’ home: His son Michael gives us a rare inside look at Ansel’s gallery—where we hear the story behind one of his most iconic shots “Moon over Hernandez” – how he captured it with only moments of light to spare. Then see his darkroom with unreleased footage of Ansel at work, you have a view of the man producing his indelible images. You’ll come away with a new understanding of this great artist’s work.

Learn more of the photography tips from the professionals, then go out and put these tips right to use.

For more interviews, tips & secrets, visit us at www.silberstudios.tv.

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Sime (aka #gtvone) is the customer support manager for dPS, and lead blogger in our Cameras and Gear Blog. He's a Melbourne based photographer, www.gtvone.com and please feel free to follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Some Older Comments

  • Kaylee Lopez October 7, 2010 03:52 am

    i own at least 3 video blogs and i love to video blog myself and do some crazy stuffs*.:

  • marc silber April 3, 2010 01:39 am

    point well taken John

  • John Kerr April 2, 2010 12:16 pm

    Hi Everyone,

    How many of us have at one time or another, tried to get the perfect shot of something by waiting for the light to be just right, or by going back to the same place again and again to get the shot right.

    And then there is Ansel. All of the days he spent in the National Parks, being paid to get those great photographs he did. If anyone knew when to be at a certain spot to photograph it at his best, he knew it and had the talent to do it.

    His greatest photograph? That was something that he saw out of the corner of his eye, blinked and he could have missed it. Anything that happened that day to hold him up 2 minutes and he might have missed it.

    Life can be strange that way.

    Best wishes to you in finding your "Moonrise"

    John Kerr
    Guelph, Ontario

  • Katie February 11, 2010 04:12 am

    Hearing how that photo was taken is really interesting, I had no idea. I just saw some of his work at The Phoenix Art Museum exhibit. After seeing this video it makes me appreciate Ansel Adams work even more.

  • DoctorP January 29, 2010 04:15 pm

    @joe elden: Thanks! There is one thing I have learned in life that applies to every situation. If you think you know it all, go home. If you are not willing to open up your mind and experience new and different alternatives to the way things used to be done than that is when you should pack it in and go home. Open minds can change the world. I like to think the answer was right, Adams would embrace anything that came along that allowed him to take his craft that much further.

  • Robyn Gallant January 28, 2010 10:14 am

    I am really bummed. This video has been yanked and i did not get to see it.

  • Joe Elden January 28, 2010 12:39 am

    @doctorp: Excellent comment! I thought I would pass this along. In the beginning of digital photography and all the debate going on I was reading a column by William Niel who worked in the Ansel Adams studio for a time. The question would always come up, "Well what would Adams think of this new manipulation?" and his answer was that he would embrace it. One, because he was an environmentalist who would welcome development without chemicals and two because it would be the next "tool" to present a photo in the way you have seen it.

  • Jack Chamberlin January 19, 2010 09:10 am

    This was WONDERFUL video. Ansel Adams has been an inspiration to me as long as I've been capturing images. I visited Hernandez, NM several years ago, and took the attached photo of the church and graveyard featured in Adams' famous image. Unfortunately, the church is now abandoned, and Hernandez appears to be poverty-stricken. If was not possible to get same perspective that Adams used, because there is now a busy highway running through that spot. A number of the gravestones in Adams' image are still standing and identifiable. IT was a lot of fun to see Hernandez despite it being run-down and the church abandoned./Sophie's sandbox/users/jack/desktop/Hernandez1.jpg[/img]

  • marc silber January 18, 2010 01:49 pm

    When I grew up as a photographer Ansel was my hero, in fact he came to my school when I was in the 8th grade for an exhibition, it turns out my mom knew him in WW II and she introduced me to him, what a thrill that was for me. So you can only imagine how I felt when I was able to interview his son Micheal many years later at Ansel's home in this video. It's been quite a privilege to be trusted with his unreleased footage that you see in our videos. Glad to see other photographers share in his amazing talent.

  • DoctorP January 18, 2010 09:26 am

    When I first started with photography I felt using Lightroom or Photoshop was sort of like cheating. Than I did some reading and realised that it is just the new age version of a darkroom. I still try to get shots SOOC but I don't feel so bad tweaking them now in PP. Most great photographers were not only masters behind the camera but masters in the darkroom as well.

  • Felix January 18, 2010 02:41 am

    For those that say that using photoshop to enhance photos is not art, this is an example of how PS is just a digital version of a lightroom. Most don't realize that you can do all kinds of PP in a lightroom that you can do in PS.

  • Pam January 17, 2010 11:10 pm

    Thanks for this very fascinating video. I always strive to have pics SOOC but when I once read that the most famous photographers of past and present tweaked photos, I ordered photoshop for those little details like dust or smudges on the lens and just a little lightening or darkening. I don't think I have the patience to tweak the way he did. I wonder if he would be impressed with modern technology or call us wusses.

  • Karen Stuebing January 17, 2010 09:11 pm

    Amazing video of a master's vision and work. Today we have photoshop instead of dark rooms but this makes me want to go back to those days when we shot film and developed the negatives ourselves. Of course, I'm no Ansel Adams.:) But doesn't it make you want to try harder?

  • Sime January 17, 2010 07:51 pm

    Brent, I've updated the post - adding a message at the top, I hope that clears things up.

    Thank you


  • Brent Wilson January 17, 2010 06:55 pm

    Great blogsite you have here and I loved watching the Ansel Adams video. I was very lucky to see an original print of this very famous photograph in the United States over twenty years ago, it is a magnificent piece of art and very inspirational.
    Just one little gripe it is actually called "Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico" seeing that this blog is a Digital Photography School it should be giving correct information. It is the equivalent to calling the Mona Lisa the Sharon Lisa!

  • Eric Umbarger January 17, 2010 07:58 am

    There is a similar description in a PBS movie about him along with about an hour of other footage. I found it at the library one day while browsing, I highly recommend it. I ripped it to my computer so I will be able to watch it again. It was pretty good though. He is so amazing.

  • Ed O'Keeffe January 17, 2010 07:22 am

    This was a very inspiration video for me and makes me want to process more of my landscapes in monochrome after seeing such powerful and moving black and white work. Thanks for sharing!

  • Miguel Carvajal January 17, 2010 06:18 am

    Amazing! The man was a true artist of light and a creator of masterpieces.