A PHOTOGRAPHIC AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Donald F. Anthrop is a long time ZIBA customer. Four of his images can be seen on the California Mountains page of our website, /pages/california-photography. Below he describes how he got started in photography, and some of the things he has done in this field.
Don Anthrop: I got my first camera, a Kodak Pony 828, while an undergaduate student at Purdue University. After graduation, I came to Berkeley to attend graduate school. A group of us began taking frequent backpaking trips into the Sierra Nevada. I was impressed with the spectacular beauty of the mountains and I wanted to capture this wild beauty on film. At the same time, I felt constrained by the 8-exposure rolls of film that the Kodak 828 required, so I bought an used Zeiss Contaflex. One day, while trying to photograph a scene of Matterhorn Peak in northern Yosemite National Park in which I wanted everything in focus--from wildflowers that were 6 feet in front of the camera to mountains in the distance--I realized the limitations of a 35mm camera for landscape photography, so I purchased an used 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 Linhof.
In 1962, I finished graduate school and moved to Boston to work for an aerospace firm. In December 1964, I was able to return to California. This was during the devastating floods in northern California. It also happened to coincide with efforts by conservationists to create a Redwood National Park in the redwood forests on the North Coast. I made my first trip to the redwood forests of Humboldt County in the March of 1965. Along with three other young photographers, I was soon very busy photographing the great redwood forests along Redwood Creek as well as the devastation being wrought by the clear-cutting techniques that were used at the time. Soon, my images were appearing in the Sierra Club Bulletin, The Living Wilderness, and the Sierra Club book, The Last Redwoods Of Redwood Creek. Today, some of these historic images are hanging in the Redwood National Park South Operations Center in Orick, CA. During the time that I was photographing redwoods for the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Sociery, I had the good forture to meet Ansel Adams. I did a great deal of this work in traditional silver halide black and white, and Ansel Adams was an enormous help to me in developing darkroom technique.
In 1972, I started teaching environmental science at San Jose State University. Although the courses I taught were primarily in energy and water resource management, during the last 20 years I taught a course in landscape photography. I always ran one field trip to Yosemite National Park so that the students could experience the grandeur of that place.
My photographs have been showcased in many calendars with images from throughout California, and I have provided images for use by Redwood National Park, The California State Parks Foundation, and other organizations.