National Geographic

Retracing The Steps Of Ansel Adams

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Photographer Peter Essick recently mused on his blog about creative anxiety: "For the young photographer," he writes, "the thoughts are often those of asking oneself if they will be able to do the job or fears that if they blow the assignment ... they will never get another chance."

Even the famed Ansel Adams admitted his youthful shortcomings. "I made many drab shots and suffered some embarrassing failures," he is quoted in National Geographic as having once said.

Anxiety must have kept both Adams and Essick on their respective toes, because the chances kept coming. Essick has now been photographing for National Geographic magazine for some 25 years and has no shortage of amazing work to show for it. Of particular note are his recent stories from Finland and Australia. (The guy gets around.)

He has photos in National Geographic's October issue, too, but these are a bit closer to home: A large spread of black-and-whites pays tribute to Ansel Adams and his eponymous wilderness area in California's Sierra Nevadas.

One thing both young and established photographers can share is an appreciation for creative forebears, and the scenes that inspired them. Maybe some fodder for weekend thought: Which people and places are your creative muses? Have you ever made a pilgrimage to a work of art, or the site where it was made?



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