Kevin Briggs Photography

"Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico" & "Black and White No. 3"

Kevin Briggs

Ansel Adams is the most famous landscape photographer in the history of the photographic medium. “Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico” is Adams’ most famous work.

In this fantastic video, both the photographer and his son speak about the events surrounding the capture of this fine art photograph, one of the most celebrated in the history of fine art photography.

While I would never compare myself to the truly incomparable Ansel Adams, the specific events pertaining to the capture of my own fine art photograph, “Black and White No. 3,” are actually very similar to that which surrounds “Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico,” as are described in the video presentation.

 Black and White No. 3

Black and White No. 3

While on the highway and traveling at about 75 mph, I saw the beginnings of what would constitute “Black and White No. 3” very quickly emerging before me. Not more than 20-30 seconds later I had abruptly pulled off the side of the highway, jumped out of the vehicle and began hastily grabbing my gear.

As Adams’ son recounts in the video, the remarkable landscape scene which was captured by his father — that which now and forever constitutes “Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico” — very quickly evaporated after light had been allowed to do its magic on the film negative.

So it was with “Black and White No. 3,” but this time light was impacting a medium format sensor. Only 2-3 minutes after this scene presented itself, the moon began to hide behind quickly gathering clouds. As a result, much of the dynamic range which I was fortunate enough to capture in this work was nearly lost.

I feel most privileged I was able to shoot this scene at the exact point in time in which it appeared — to be so fortunate as to simply be in the right place and at the right time (precisely). To say that such a confluence of events do not happen very often is to dramatically understate the rarity of such occasions.