Exploring the Artistic Journey of Iconic Photographers (Ansel Adams, Fan Ho & Michael Kenna)

Photography transcends mere picture-taking; it’s an art deeply rooted in history and enriched by the masters of the craft. Icons like Ansel Adams, Fan Ho, and Michael Kenna didn’t just capture images; they captured moments, emotions, and stories, leaving a legacy that continues to inspire and educate.

Wānaka Tree in the style of Michael Kenna.

Photographed this iconic tree in a lake in New Zealand many years ago using long exposure photography and then I did an edit in the style of Michael Kenna. This image and the edit all appear in my MasterClass for this challenge. join BootCamp to see it. Enjoy. Brent

Why Their Work is Crucial for Aspiring Photographers

  • Ansel Adams: His iconic black-and-white landscapes teach the art of capturing light and shadow, demonstrating how tonal balance creates mood and depth.
  • Fan Ho: Ho’s dramatic chiaroscuro in 1950s and 60s Hong Kong offers a masterclass in capturing mood, atmosphere, and human narratives.
  • Michael Kenna: Known for his minimalist landscapes and extended exposures, Kenna shows how to transform environments into tranquil, introspective realms.

Why Their Influence is Invaluable

  • Historical Context: Each master photographer offers a window into different eras of photography, showcasing its evolution from the early days to modern expressions.
  • Technical Skills: Their works are a treasure trove of knowledge in composition, lighting, and technique. Adams’ Zone System alone revolutionized the understanding of tonal balance.
  • Creative Insight: Analyzing their photographs sharpens your eye for detail, encouraging a deeper understanding of the narrative and emotional depth in images.
  • Diverse Perspectives: Studying these icons helps in finding your unique style, as each brought a distinct approach to capturing their subjects.

Bridal Veil Falls in the style of Ansel Adams.

Here is my first new shot for this challenge, photographed today with Eugene in the Blue Mountains – Blackheath area, looking from Govetts Leap towards Bridal Veil waterfalls on the right. Not a lot of water flowing but still quite impressive and we snagged a beautiful day with clouds. We hiked down quite a way to get a better angle to shoot from and I used a 10 stop ND filter (for longer exposure) and circular polarizing filter to darken the sky and make those clouds pop more.
Shot at a long exposure of 61 seconds, f/20 on 15mm wide lens plus tripod of course. Cropped it into a panorama to remove some of the boring bits at the bottom and top and the edge of the filter at top. Went way over-board with making that sky black because you know – Ansel used to do it. Plus I used the brush tool (dodge/burn) to darken and lighten bits of the image including the falling water in the style of Ansel Adams. What do you think? Brent

The Path to Photographic Excellence

Engaging with their work goes beyond technical learning. It’s a journey into the soul of photography, a dive into historical understanding, technical prowess, and narrative storytelling. Their contributions aren’t just lessons in photography; they’re lessons in seeing the world with a more nuanced, artistic eye.

Embracing the Masters’ Journey: A Conclusion

Studying these photographic giants is about more than technique. It’s about connecting with the philosophy and emotion behind their art. Their enduring legacy offers guidance and inspiration for photographers aiming to refine their skills and discover their unique voice in the vast world of photography.

Photo BootCamp Magazine

Let’s explore the imaginative photographs created by our BootCamp members, drawing inspiration from the most influential photographers.

And be sure to check out how you can join BootCamp at the end of the magazine!

Below is a small sample of what’s in this magazine…
Creating Triptych

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Photo BootCamp Academy is an online community where busy photographers gather to take their photography to new levels of enjoyment and progress.

  • Discover exciting new skills
  • Rekindle your passion for taking photos
  • Improve fast with helpful feedback
  • Experience enjoyment and progress

Inside BootCamp Magazine

Featured Artist

Let’s take a look at this month’s magazine. Here is our featured artist of the month, Steve Darnell, from the United States.

He was inspired by Valerie Worthen’s image of a fox, where she is trying to channel Fan Ho, but having an animal as her subject rather than people. He got to wondering whether an animal could perhaps become a landscape. It would be a great stretch to say this is in the style of Ansel Adams, but here is a B&W edit of a photo he took a few months ago.

Comment: Valerie Worthen“Thanks Steve for the shout-out. I think you have done a good job creating the stark contrast between subject and background. Pretty scary creature in black and white and could well be an island in the water. Nice editing.”
Creating Triptych

Cover Image

This month’s featured magazine cover image is from Tessa Blewchamp, from the United Kingdom.

She wishes she had been able to contribute more to this challenge. She hasn’t been able to get out much to take any new shots (largely due to having broken her ankle a while ago) and have had to scour her archive. Her second and final contribution is an attempt to reflect the style of Michael Kenna (probably rather unsuccessfully). Taken on the South Downs. No long exposure, but plenty of mist.

Creating Triptych
Comment: Denis O’Byrne“Hi Tessa. Well captured and presented. I like the tonal range and the balance you have achieved in this one. Well done.”

Active Members

Let’s look at the creative photographs crafted by our BootCamp participants, taking inspiration from the most renowned photographers.

We’ll start with Rodney Charlton from Australia. Here is a landscape panorama of a nearby lake he was walking along at the right time when it happened to have just the right amount of clouds and some still water. He decided it might suit his take on Ansel Adams, even though he hasn’t seen many of his with lakes. So he edited to darken the blacks, increased the sharpness and contrast, and lowered the exposure a touch. Reflections in the style of Ansel Adams.

Comment: Richard Hutson“Rodney, I love this photograph … excellent composition and tonal spectrum. And two of my favorite Adams photographs were shot at McDonald Lake in Glacier National Park, 1942.”
long exposure
Next, we have Paul Fuller from Australia. Black and White, Long Exposure, Seascape. Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Creating Triptych
Comment: Eugene Brannan“I also like the angle of the bridge. This is a shot that could be interpreted in a variety of ways depending on your post-processing approach. It’s probably my personal preference, but if the highlights on the two support structures closest to the left edge of the image were toned down a bit, my eye would follow the path of the bridge from left to right, crossing the harbor to the other side. With the highlights, my eye seems to want to go directly to the structures. Just an observation. Again, very nice shot!”
Andrew Robinson from Australia is next. Another attempt at Fan Ho, Shot in Haymarket Sydney.
Comment: Kerrie Clarke“Great street scene, Andrew. The combination of long shadows, backlighting, and people just going about their daily “thing” works so well for this challenge. Sings Fan Ho to me…nice work.”
Then we have Sig Rannem from Canada. In this image, he tried to emulate Michael Kenna’s style. He especially modeled it after the “Winter Hackberry Tree” (see his website).
Comment: Peter Dwight“Hi Sig, nice balance of darks & lights in this image between the grass & the Snow as well as the blanket of Fog in the background, top job.”
And next we have Peter Dwight from Australia. His 1st entry is in B&W dark contrast effect from his recent trip around Australia, taken in SA. For him, it was good to be home, 18000 km, he left 1st week in April & home for 3 weeks, had a great time, only 6 wet days & thousands of photos to mull through.
Comment: Kerrie Clarke“Nice contrast conversion, Peter. Super sharp throughout with great reflections and not a tourist in sight! Welcome back.”
And next, we have Peter Brody from the United States. This photo was taken in Cappadocia, Turkey. These rock formations are referred to as “Fairy Chimneys”. To put it in perspective, look at the size of the people in the upper right plateau. He titled this “Walking on the Moon”. Created in the style of Ansel Adams. Also, note the caves in the rocks!
Comment: Peter Dwight“Hi Peter, what an interesting place to see it looks awesome, and the full screen shows up all the little secrets & caves, what a great find. Edited well with good contrast top job.”
And finally, we have Keri Down from Australia. She is so impressed with all of your images Bootcampers. She felt it has taken our black-and-white images to a whole other level. For her second submission, he has gone left of the field again. Although she has just returned from a road trip where the landscape is beautiful, it was mostly flat. This is a sculpture displayed in Eromanger (Western QLD) where the dinosaur museum is located housing Australia’s largest dinosaur called Cooper. Although a stunning colour photograph with the reds and blues that can only be our outback, she hoped it would convert well. What she did find while researching was a tute on how to emulate the Ansel Adams grey scale by upping the yellows and oranges and downing the blues along with the usual adjustments. She gave it a go and this is the outcome.
Comment: Greg Skehan“A really wonderful image Keri – great promotional shot for the Eromanger area. It is now on my bucket list for a future long trip around rural Australia. Apart from the clever angle you have used to accentuate the size of “Cooper”, I really like the positioning of the other 2 sculptures. Cooper seems to be sending them some sort of “hurry up” message. Thanks for the tip about the Ansell Adams greyscale effect.”


  • Essential for photography enthusiasts.
  • Offers insights into photography’s historical evolution.
  • Develops technical expertise.
  • Sharpens critical analysis skills.
  • Exposes photographers to diverse styles and genres.
  • Enhances narrative and storytelling abilities.
  • Serves as a source of inspiration.
  • Encourages rule-breaking and experimentation.
  • Imparts ethical considerations.
  • Provides cultural and societal insights.
  • Contributes to personal growth.
  • Showcases dedication and vision of great photographers.
  • Valuable tool for improving photography skills.

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Please leave me a comment below – I’d love to know what you think. Brent

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