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TECHNICAL INFORMATION

ANSEL ADAMS SPECIAL EDITION PRINTS OF YOSEMITE

The Yosemite Special Edition Photographs are quality photographic prints made directly from Ansel Adams’ original negatives, and have been printed since 1975 by Alan Ross, Adams’ assistant from 1974 to 1979. These prints are available only through the Ansel Adams Galleries.

The prints are made by projection rather than by contact, regardless of negative format. This ensures a consistency in finished size and also affords the greatest control of dodging and burning. Most of the negatives in the series are 8×10 format, but other negative sizes include 5×7, 4×5, 31/4×41/4, and 120 rollfilm. The 8×10 and 5×7 negatives are printed in the Beseler 8×10 enlarger designed by Ross, with a custom Aristo 12″x12″ cold-light head. Negatives 4×5 and smaller are printed with an Omega D5500 enlarger with a diffusion color-head.

The negatives are printed on Ilford Multigrade Fiber Base paper, double weight, glossy. Using varying strengths of yellow or magenta color-correction (CC) filtration controls print contrast. The prints are developed in Ilford Multigrade developer, usually at 1:16.5 dilution, for 3 minutes. After immersion in a standard acid stop bath they are fixed for 2 minutes in Ilford Universal Fixer, diluted 1:7, and transferred to a large tray of fresh water for a preliminary rinse, and then to a larger, clean-water holding bath.

The final processing sequence involves selenium toning; a procedure, which intensifies the blacks of the print and which also, makes the image more permanent. Adams also felt this process gave the print a more appealing image color, neutralizing the usually greenish-black tones of an untoned print to a sometimes very slight “cool-purple” black.

The selenium toning process for the Special Edition prints consists of three baths. Each of three trays contains a working dilution of Zonal Pro Archival Rinse; the second of these trays is the toning bath (Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner added, 1:10 dilution). The prints are given a minimum of three minutes in the first bath with continuous agitation, and then are transferred to the “toning” bath where they are continuously agitated until the prints have acquired sufficient color and density. They are then transferred to the third bath where they are given intermittent agitation for about five minutes. The prints are transferred to a preliminary rinse in a fresh water bath and then transferred to a large sink where they are rinsed again and held while being loaded into archival print washers. After washing, the prints are squeegeed and laid face down on fiberglass drying screens.

The dried prints are “spotted” to remove inevitable dust specks and are then mounted on Light Impressions Westminster board (bright-white 4-ply) with Seal MT-5 dry mounting tissue. Overmat stock, which has been specially letterpress imprinted with the Special Edition logo is bevel cut by hand to accommodate each image. Finally, each print is personally re-inspected and initialed on the back by Alan Ross before shipment to the Gallery in Yosemite.