Tripod Holes

The photography world looks with disdain on photographers who try to recreate the work of others, preferring original subjects and compositions. There’s even a phrase used for it- “reusing tripod holes.” The most famous source of tripod holes, especially in landscape photography, is Ansel Adams. This is an especially common phrase in Yosemite Valley, where shutterbug wannabes all over the park are trying to recreate his iconic images. So consider the following quote:

Then we spent the night on Walpi Mesa, proceeded to Chinle, and had two spectacular stormy days at Canyon de Chelly. I photographed the White House Ruins from almost the identical spot and time of the O’Sullivan picture!! Can’t wait until I see what I got.

Clearly this is from a photographer looking for tripod holes. Since it’s landscape photography, it wouldn’t be a bad guess to suggest he was looking for Ansel Adams tripod holes, except that the quote calls out the name of the photographer as “O’Sullivan.” Pretty straightforward, right?

Well, it would be, until you consider the author of the quote.

Ansel Adams.

It was from a letter he wrote to Beaumont and Nancy Newhall on October 26, 1941. Creativity and a fresh perspective are always preferred. But the next time someone (perhaps your own conscience) accuses you of searching for tripod holes, don’t feel too bad. Even the great Ansel Adams, perhaps the most famous landscape photographer of all time, did it from time to time.

p.s. I came across the quote in The Grand Canyon and Southwest by Ansel Adams

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.