Mist Steaming from Morning Oaks
About Charles Cramer
Charles Cramer is a photographer who revels in exploration and craftsmanship. A masterful artist, his career broadly parallels that of Ansel Adams: an early focus on music, finding inspiration in Yosemite National Park, and exploring the developing medium of photography. Charles has worked in the darkroom for many years, mastering the complex Dye Transfer process. He was also one of the first landscape photographers to work with the "digital darkroom", recognizing the computer as an unparalleled means to control color and realize his artistic interpretation of the scene.
"I studied piano for 20 years, ending up with a degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. This conservatory was endowed by George Eastman, who also founded the Eastman Kodak Company. This connection between music and photography can be seen in the lives of many photographers. I gradually turned to full-time photography by 1980. The end goal of my photography has always been to make beautiful prints. I have spent a large part of the last 30 years refining my skills not just photographing the natural scene, but learning how to make the best possible prints from these images.
"When venturing out into the field, I am drawn to photograph primarily by the 'light' and only secondarily by the subject. I search for that special kind of light that can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. This brings me out at seemingly odd times---sunrise, sunset, during storms and snowstorms. The weather can be onerous. But when everything comes together for a photograph, all that is quickly forgotten. Many of my photographs are from the Southwest. The light here is unique, especially when bouncing off canyon walls and enveloping a scene in glowing, warm light. Another favorite canyon is Yosemite Valley."
"For many years, I made my own photographic prints in the darkroom with the Kodak Dye Transfer process. This was a very difficult, expensive, and time-consuming process---but I felt the results were worth all the work. In 1997, I started working with processes that I feel can now rival and even surpass the beauty of a dye transfer print. I scan my original 4x5 inch transparencies at very high resolution, and using Photoshop as a digital darkroom, I can adjust the image with more subtlety than I had with the dye transfer process. I do all the final printing with Canon printers.