Before I became a writer, I was a photographer. I studied at Brooks Institute of Photography in sunny, eucalyptus and ocean-scented Santa Barbara, California. I was following my life-long dream. I first knew I wanted to be a photographer when I was seven. My parents took my sister and me to the zoo, and I brought along my Kodak box camera. I photographed the lumbering brown bears, snuffling for food. I photographed the elephants, sweeping up dust clouds with their trunks in search of peanuts. I photographed the vibrant, pink flamingoes, posing on a single, spindly leg. Then, I sat on a park bench, flipped the lock up on my camera, and pulled out the film to see my pictures. Nothing. Just a long stretch of glossy, black film. Gone were the bears, the elephants, and the pretty flamingoes. Enter tears….
My father, being a scientist, explained in the simplest terms how photography works. I became intrigued. I wanted to know more about the magic that changed a strip of blank film into negatives. Then, I needed to learn how to take those negatives and change them into prints. By the time I turned fifteen, I had converted our basement bathroom into a darkroom equipped with an old, but functioning, enlarger, trays for chemicals, tongs, a paper safe, film processing canisters, the works! Through high school, I took every evening course in photography the junior college up the road offered. By my sophomore year in high school, I became the school photographer for the newspaper and yearbook. Brooks Institute of Photography, which I mentioned earlier, is where I met my husband, a wonderful man whom I married the day after graduation. We opened a studio and photographed weddings, families, children, and pets. We were living our dream. Years into our career, I over lifted a piece of heavy equipment and won myself a matched set of textbook-perfect bulged discs (the doctor’s description). We closed our studio doors. My husband turned to banking, and I turned to my love of writing.
So, why the story about my years as a photographer? Because today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday (PPBF) review is about Ansel Adams, one of the greatest and most beloved nature photographers of all time.
Title – Antsy Ansel – Ansel Adams, A Life In nature
Written by – Cindy Jenson-Elliott
Illustrated by – Christy Hale
Published by – Christy Ottaviano Books – 2016
Suitable for ages – 5-9
Topics/Theme – going after your dream, determination, and love of nature.
Opening – Ansel was antsy. H never walked–he ran. When he sat, his feet danced. Even his thoughts flew about like a gull in a storm. Ansel noticed everything. And everyone noticed Ansel.
“Pay attention,” said his aunt.
“Please sit still,” begged his mother.
Amazon Review – View it HERE. You may be familiar with Adams’s iconic black-and-white nature photographs. But do you know about the artist who created these images?
As a child, Ansel Adams just couldn’t sit still. He felt trapped indoors and never walked anywhere–he ran. Even when he sat, his feet danced. But in nature, Ansel felt right at home. He fell in love with the gusting gales of the Golden Gate, the quiet whisper of Lobos Creek, the icy white of Yosemite Valley, and countless other remarkable natural sights.
From his early days in San Francisco to the height of his glory nationwide, Antsy Ansel chronicles a restless boy’s path to becoming an iconic nature photographer.
Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.