Tempest Anderson was born on December 7, 1846 at Stonegate in York, England. The scion of a prominent physician, he received his education at York's St. Peter's School and then at the University of London, where he received his Bachelor of Science and medical degrees. He received an honorary Doctorate of Science degree from the University of Leeds in 1904. After completing his education, Dr. Anderson became a scientist, a respected oculist, and President of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society.
Never married, Dr. Anderson spent his leisure time traveling and pursuing a variety of interests that included alpine climbing and studying volcanoes. He was an active member of the Alpine Club and regarded as an expert on the Western Alps. It was believed that his love of photography commenced during one of his alpine excursions, during which he took the critically acclaimed mountain photograph, "The Ridge of the Petit Flambeau." However, his photographic specialty area quickly switched to volcanoes in May 1902 when he and Scottish geologist Dr. John Smith Flett were commissioned by the Royal Society to investigate a major volcanic eruption in St. Vincent in the West Indies. The following year, he wrote Volcanic Studies in Many Lands, and in his preface he noted his impressive history of studying such volcanic areas as Vesuvius, Etna, the Canary Islands, the Grand Canyon, Snake River, Crater Lake, and Yellowstone Park.
Over his years of extensive travel, Dr. Anderson developed various techniques and preferences he believed produced the best landscape photographs. For instance, he maintained that plates produced better results than film, despite being heavier and more cumbersome. Most of his photographs are enlargements from quarter-plate negatives that measured 4-1/4 x 3-1/4" because, he explained, "Most rapid plates are far too coarse grained to bear much enlargement, and are only fit for snapshots." His particular favorites were B. J. Edwards and Company's isochromatic plates because of the inclusion of eosine in the emulsion promoted greater film sensitivity, resulting in more vibrant colors. Further deviating from convention, Dr. Anderson preferred fine wet collodion plate emulsion to the more convenient dry plate gelatine method because he felt the wet emulsion produced more detailed images. He also corrected any atmospheric haze issues that might obscure objects in the distance by using a Bausch and Lomb Ray filter.
Dr. Anderson took several varying lenses on his volcanic expeditions, with the most popular being the Dallmeyer rapid rectilinear lens with a 6-inch focus. In certain situations, he would use a Cooke lens with a 6-inch focus at full aperture to eliminate distortion. Although he always carried a telephoto lens, he was unimpressed with its field depth and lack of detail. He preferred wide-angle Dallmeyer lenses instead. His field experience resulted in the design of a panoramic camera fitted with a revolving lens that was purchased by Kodak.
In 1913, Dr. Anderson joined Dr. Flett on another volcanic expedition, this time on Krakatoa in Indonesia. On his return home, he contracted enteric fever, and on August 26, 1913, Dr. Tempest Anderson died at the age of 66. He left behind spectacular alpine and volcanic images that have both visual and scholarly appeal. A year before his death, he provided the Yorkshire Museum with funding to build the Tempest Anderson Hall, and today the museum displays more than 5,000 of Dr. Anderson’s photographs.
1913 Alpine Journal, Vol. XXVII (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co.), p. 417-420.
1913 Geological Magazine, Vol. X (London: Dulau & Co., Ltd.), pp. 478-479.
1904 Northlight, No. 7 (Phoenix: Arizona State University), pp. 54-57.
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