Jan 25, 2008

Mount Williamson, The Sierra Nevada, from Manzanar, California

Mount Williamson, The Sierra Nevada, from Manzanar, California


Ansel Adams

(American, 1902–1984)

Gelatin silver print, printed 1980

Image: 38.7 x 45.9 cm (15 1/4 x 18 1/16 in.); Matted: 61 x 76.2 cm (24 x 30 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1989.18



Taken during one of Adams's many visits to Manzanar, the Japanese relocation camp in the Owens Valley of eastern California, this photograph reveals both his great love for the unspoiled landscape and his ability to record it. Placing the camera on the rooftop platform of his car, he selected the smallest lens aperture and positioned the camera to hold both near and distant objects in sharp focus. He thus captured this view of Mount Williamson, located several miles away across a field of boulders, and the rays of the sun filtering through the storm clouds above. By using the "zone system" (which grouped tonal values into ten zones ranging from dark to light), Adams was able to compose and develop an image filled with high contrasts of light and shadow.

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