This is my 14th year teaching photography at the collegiate level and my 6th year teaching at Valdosta State University where I serve as Associate Professor of Art.
For at least the past decade, I have shown the documentary film Ansel Adams to my introductory photography classes. As a result of my twenty-nine day photographic expedition on the Suwannee River in 2013, I felt a closer connection to the man and his work than ever before. When showing the film the semester following this expedition, I was particularly moved during the conclusion of the film when Adams dies and one year and one day later the U.S. Geological Survey named a peak in Yosemite, Mt. Ansel Adams. I had an epiphany during class that day and decided to climb and photograph the mountain where some of Adams' remains were scattered in order to pay homage to one of the greatest influences on my career and to see with my own eyes the world he so majestically represented in his works.
Late July 2016 is the target date for the expedition. Plane tickets have been purchased and we have secured backcountry reservations to hike in the Yosemite Wilderness. We are planning a twelve day trip which will allow four days hiking to the mountain from Yosemite Valley, two days for ascents to the top of Mt. Ansel Adams, four days for hiking back out of Yosemite with two extra days allotted for weather and any unforeseen circumstances.
I have been fortunate enough to meet Alan Ross, who worked with Adams, to inquire about the feasibility of the trip and he assured me that the climb would not kill me. My wife, Karen, will be in charge of the logistics of not dying on mountain as she is an experienced climber with a degree in Parks and Recreation Management from Western Carolina University. The hike is approximately four days to the base of the mountain, one day for an ascent, and four days back out of the wilderness. Along with all of the gear necessary for our survival for ten days in the wilderness, I will be carrying the following photographic equipment: 4x5" Crown Graphic with 150 sheets of film, 6x17 Shen Hao with 50 rolls of 120 film, Sekonic L-508 light meter, Gitzo mountaineer tripod, lenses(65mm, 75mm, 90mm, 135mm, and 300mm with shutters), six Grafmatic film holders, thirty traditional 4x5 film holders, and changing bag.
The purpose for funding is twofold: first for the purchase of some expensive photographic tools that I simply cannot afford out-of-pocket, and second to create a series of stunning black & white images of the western landscape to be made available at greatly reduced pricing for the donors.
Funds received will be used for the purchase of specialized photographic tools which include the following:
- Shen Hao 6x17 Camera. Model PTB617 with ShenHao 6x17 Roll Film Holder. Model NSH617 : This camera shoots a true panoramic format on a 6cm x 17cm negative with 120mm film.
- 75mm Schneider - Kruznach Super Angulon Lens with copal shutter : This is an extremely wide angle lens for the 6x17 camera.
- Gitzo GT3542L Mountaineer Series 3 Carbon Fiber Tripod: This is an extremely strong yet light tripod that will be much easier to carry for ten days.
- Included is an additional 10% to cover Kickstarter fees
- Included is an additional 5% to cover shipping of rewards to donors.
The goal for this trip is to create a series of landscape photographs, documenting the trip through Yosemite and to the peak of Mt. Ansel Adams. Several different options of print sizes and types will be available at significantly reduced pricing for rewards. Both traditional, selenium-toned, silver gelatin prints and archival inkjet prints will be available as rewards. For clarification to those who may not know, Traditional, fiber-based, selenium-toned, silver gelatin prints have the greatest, proven archival value of photographic materials which makes them inherently more valuable than the best quality Archival inkjet prints currently available.
Prints will be made from two different format Black and White negatives. Below are two images to help understand the difference in the traditional 4x5 film format and the true panoramic 6x17 film format.
Image below captured on 4x5 film:
As I don't own a 6x17 camera yet I include the below image which shows a good comparison of the film formats. The 6x17cm format results in a wide, true panoramic.
Thank you for your time and consideration!
Risks and challenges
The single greatest risk that could undermine this project is Weather. We will be outdoors, in the environment, at the mercy of the weather for approximately Ten days.Karen and I will have a limited window of time to complete this project as she will be taking vacation from her regular employment as a dispatcher for our local emergency services. So, whatever weather we are presented with during that window of time is what we will have to deal with and this will certainly have some impact on the photographs created.
And Bears. Bears are a risk admittedly beyond our control but we will be taking measures including the purchase of "Bear-Proof" containers for our food and practicing Leave-No-Trace principles while in the environment.
Aside from the weather and bears, most risk factors are within the scope of our capabilities.
- I have successfully completed a trip and project of similar nature during my 29 day solo expedition down the Suwannee river. The photographs created during this trip have been included in Four Solo Exhibitions and Four National Juried Exhibitions.
- My wife, Karen, is professionally trained and certified in mountaineering, which is a tremendous asset as she is responsible for the logistics involved with not dying on the mountain.
- Upon completion of the trip, processing of film will begin immediately. Something could always go wrong here but rarely does. Negatives will be scanned, uploaded to webpage, and donors notified to begin their selection process.
In the event that we are eaten by bears, the project obviously will not be completed and it will be impossible to fulfill rewards.
In the event that we find ourselves with the worst ten days of weather ever encountered, making photography impossible (which is highly unlikely) the most reasonable solution I could offer regarding the fulfillment of rewards would be to substitute a different series of images for selection, possibly from my WayDown exhibition as these negatives are already safe and sound.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (24 days)