Interview: Michael Adams

In Interviews

Yesterday Michael Adams, son of legendary photographer Ansel Adams, sent me an email about the Photo of the Day I had plucked from the Library of Congress archive. Of course I jumped at the opportunity and was able to get a short email interview with Michael.

YB: What is your favorite place in Yosemite?

Michael: Tuolumne Meadows. I was the manager of Tuolumne Lodge for 4 summers when I was in school. I always enjoy re-visiting, even if it is only passing through.

YB: If someone could only see one thing in Yosemite, what would you tell them to see?

Michael: I think just a tour of the valley by car, shuttle or bike, or if there is time, a walk.

YB: Do you share your fathers love of photography?

Michael: I am not a photographer but I really enjoy his work. I am also impressed with fine photography, black & white or color. I have been fortunate to have known a number of great photographers and with my wife, have collected a lot of wonderful prints.

YB: Which of your fathers photos is your favorite?

Michael: Moon and Half Dome, 1960. This has special meaning for my wife and me. The first time it went public was as our wedding announcement in 1962.

YB: Which was your fathers favorite?

Michael: I am not sure? I know he loved “Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, 1927”, a photograph that changed his career as he realized that he could “pre visualize” the final image before he clicked the shutter. He was also enthusiastic about “Frozen Lake and Cliffs”, 1932, taken at Precipice Lake near Kaweah Gap in Sequoia National Park.

YB: What’s the question you’re the most tired of people asking you?

Michael: Invariably, I am asked what Ansel would have thought of digital photography? I am sure that he would have loved the process and supported it fully. I recently viewed a BBC interview from 1983, in which he talked about the coming “electronic photography”. He was very interested in it and told the interviewer that this new process was going to appear in the near future.

YB: What haven’t you done or seen in Yosemite that you would like to see/do?

Michael: I have missed spending time in the northern part of the park. I have back-packed and traveled with burros through some of it, but feel that I have missed a great deal of the area. Most of my travels have been on the trails to the south of the Tuolumne and Merced watersheds.

YB: If you had to live anywhere else in the world, where would you live?

Michael: I am very happy living in Carmel with frequent visits to Yosemite. I think if I were to live any place else it would have either near the sea or mountains. Maybe New Mexico or Colorado. I am very happy in Caliifornia. I have had the opportunity to live for two years on the island of Hokkaido in Japan and in Germany for three years. However, It is always exciting to return to California and especially Yosemite.

YB: What advice do you think your father would give budding photographers?

Michael: Good question! I think he would tell them to take pictures of scenery or objects that pleased them. To take a class or workshop to fine tune their abilities, and to not be afraid to experiment. I think he would encourage digital photography today.

YB: What advice would you share with people coming to Yosemite for the first time?

Michael: My advice would be to get out of their car, walk about the valley, take some of the trails if they are physically able, and to enjoy just being is such a beautiful place.

Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

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