Born Free and Equal – Slideshow

The Way We Take Photos Has Changed, But What Ansel Adams Brought To The Craft Hasn’t

By Robin Lubbock
Leaning close into Ansel Adams’ photograph “Canyon de Chelly National Monument,” created in 1942, I saw the fine dark outline of a tree, far away, down by the river. It was so clear, and so sharp, I felt like I could reach out my hand and gently lift it from the valley floor.

I’ve been making images professionally almost all of my adult life, and like so many of us today, I have a camera in my pocket at all times, and I document life as I go. Making pictures is easy these days. But it wasn’t always that way, and as I walked from print to print through the Museum of Fine Arts’ “Ansel Adams In Our Time” exhibition, I could feel the excitement of a very different era of photography pulling me along, my heart in my throat. It took me back to my days of black and white photography, pushing film into cameras, bathing it in developer, printing on glossy paper in the red light of a darkroom, and letting the soft illumination of an enlarger play through my fingers as I struggled to get the print I wanted….read more

Ansel Adams: The Early Years, at the Longmont Museum

The Longmont Museum’s latest exhibit Ansel Adams: Early Works launched Friday, Jan. 28, 2019 with an opening reception, complete with appetizers, a cash bar and live music on the Museum’s own Shigeru Kawai piano. Cocktail attire was requested, and many attendees complied, so it was a very happy evening, with a magnificent display of photographs to enjoy as well.

But what goes into putting together such an exhibition for us all to appreciate? Erik Mason, the museum’s History curator explained the process of this and the other major traveling collections that the museum presents.

The photographs in this exhibition were from the collection of New York residents Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg, who also have a similar collection of works by Edward Weston and other notable 20th century photographers. Such collectors of artwork are usually very happy to share and are eager to find the best way to do this…read more

Ansel Adams in a New Light

The National Parks are in partial shutdown. But America’s wilderness shines in a show at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston that reveals how human intervention has changed purple mountains’ majesty.


By Vicki Goldberg – The New York Times
January 17, 2019

BOSTON — Ah, wilderness! It’s our answer to Europe’s cathedrals, our proof of a unique national identity.

Most citizens were first introduced to the wilderness by images. In the early 19th century, Thomas Cole placed the eastern wilderness — his beloved Catskill Mountains — on walls. Later in the century, Carleton Watkins’s 1861 photographs of Yosemite contributed heavily to Lincoln’s decision in 1864 to secure the valley forever “for public use, resort and recreation,” the first time any government anywhere set aside land to benefit the public.

William Henry Jackson’s 1871 photographs of Yellowstone helped persuade Congress to establish the first national park in 1872. Then in the 1930s, Ansel Adams (1902-1984), a staunch conservationist who had grown up near the windswept dunes of Golden Gate Park, lobbied Congress and sent the government a book of his photographs of the southern Sierra Nevada range. They strongly influenced President Franklin Roosevelt’s decision to make the Kings Canyon area a national park. Read more at The New York Times

Apricity: noun. The Warmth of the Winter Sun.

  • El Capitan, Sunset, Winter
  • Backlit Snowy Black Oak
  • Backlit Pines, Bridalveil Fall, Winter
  • Sunlit Spackled Black Oak Grove
  • Black Oaks in a Snow Squall
  • Boulders and Bands of Ice, 2
  • Pebbles and Ice, Yosemite
  • Brave Brave Sir Robins (and perhaps a lady or two)
  • Bison and Clepsydra Geyser, Yellowstone
  • Clinging Clouds, Dawn, Yosemite
  • Frosty Pines, Yellowstone

See all Exhibition Photographs

I fell in love with winter in Yosemite. After all, I’d spent most of my life in New England where winters, though often pretty, were synonymous with concepts like bone-chilling and raw. There, it was a season to be endured, where backs ached from shoveling and ice was an obstacle to progress. In Yosemite, I truly discovered its beauty when an already spectacular landscape was adorned in winter robes. And I thoroughly enjoyed being out in it. I marveled how in Yosemite Valley, in particular, it was a simple matter to view a frozen landscape from the comfort of a warm sunny spot. And each storm brought its own artist, adept at melding color, light and forms in infinite ways, and scribbling poetry in the smallest of details. When Winter arrived, I was eager to get outside and discover everything it had to say.

I first heard the word apricity spoken by Ammon Shea, the author who had just completed a one-year, 21,370-page traipse through the Oxford English Dictionary. He read each word and its definition as one would read a novel, and upon completion, wrote his own treatise, Reading the OED – One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages, published by Perigree in 2009. Ammon was recounting ten of his favorite words from his lexiconic adventure, and apricity was among those that stood out to him. I could see why. Apricity describes the subtle warmth of the winter sun. It is a warmth that might only change the temperature a degree or two on a chilly winter day, but that slight change in temperature balances the world between two states. It is all that separates drops of melt-water and crisp, fresh snowflakes that squeak underfoot. I certainly knew the feeling of apricity, I had just never heard one word describe it so succinctly.

When I teach, I liken the process of learning photography with learning a new language, the language of light. Like any language, we start by learning a basic vocabulary. Next we try to arrange the words into meaningful sentences. Then paragraphs. Eventually, if we take the time and immerse ourselves in the task, we may become fluent. Beyond fluency is an even greater goal, the goal of the artist: to be poetic.

Poetry comes with command of a language, an understanding of nuance and an economy of words. It is a distillation that reveals the essence of the subject. Similarly, photography is a distillation of the scene. We can’t include everything before us in every image, so we select just the elements that are essential and exclude the rest. A powerful, precise, poetic word like apricity is the verbal equivalent of a successful image. Simply beautiful.


In Memory of Peter Hoss

November 29, 2018

Memorial Service to be held on Saturday, January 19, 2019 at 1 PM
Church of the Good Shepherd – 300 Corral De Tierra Rd. Salinas, CA 93908

Peter Hoss with Jeanne Falk Adams and her children Matthew and Sarah on the beach at Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park, circa 1972

Peter Hoss, a member of the Board of Directors of The Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite National Park, passed on November 29, 2018, in Monterey, California.

The Adams and Hoss families have been close friends since the 1920s, when Herman Hoss was the personnel director in Yosemite for the Yosemite Park and Curry Company and the Yosemite Magistrate. Della Hoss was an artist, Ansel Adams was photographing, and Virginia Best Adams was helping her artist father Harry Best in his Yosemite studio. In Yosemite, at the Lewis Memorial Hospital, Michael Adams was born in 1933 and Peter Hoss was born six months later in 1934; they have been close friends since infancy. Their wives and children have long been friends and all have artistic influences coursing through their veins. Peter and his family moved to Palo Alto during World War II, and later Peter and Michael were in the same class at Stanford. Peter received his law degree from Stanford Law School in 1958, ultimately settled in Salinas and practiced law with Noland, Hamerly, Etienne and Hoss. His love of Yosemite, where he was born, continued throughout his long, engaged life. Peter was passionate about justice and accountability and would go to great lengths to defend established rights. An example was his testifying before the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation July 9,2013 regarding Public Impacts of Closing Amenities in Yosemite.

All of us at The Ansel Adams Gallery who knew Peter will miss his insights, knowledge, friendship and presence. We all will continue to know and love his sons Martino (artist), Vincent (architect) and their families.

Jeanne Falk Adams, former President and General Manager of The Ansel Adams Gallery


Unexpected Landscapes: Photographs by Ted Orland

November 30, 2018 – January 5, 2019

If anything is true of Orland’s photographs, it is that they are unique in approach, constantly in flux, incomparable, and impossible to ignore. Evan Russell, Curator, The Ansel Adams Gallery

See all photographs by Ted Orland

Ted Orland is a California photographer and writer now living in Santa Cruz, California. His work is in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan, the Amon Carter Museum, Dallas, Texas, and The Oakland Museum of California. The National Endowment for the Arts, the Oregon Arts Commission, and the National Park Service have each recognized and given support to his work and career.

Orland received a degree in Industrial Design from the University of Southern California in 1963; in 1966 he first visited Yosemite where he enrolled as a student in Ansel Adams’ Summer Workshop. By 1972 Orland had become Ansel’s top photographic assistant and right-hand man, during that time he also developed influential working relationships with program alumni David Bayles and Sally Mann.

His photography career began in a rather conventional manner, shooting in a similar fashion to Ansel Adams. As his own style evolved, Orland diverged from the lessons he had learned and moved from classic large-format landscape photography to hand-painted black and white photographs. This new method of working centered on a much wider range of subject matter. His current body of work relies on hints of satire, mythology and irony from and about his subjects, as well as cross-pollinating contemporary printing processes. These radically different techniques marry the new of digital printing with the old – the prints are veneered with hand-tinted oils more popular during Yosemite’s infancy in the 19th century. It is now known that Ted Orland took the first computer-based photographic images of Yosemite in the early 1980s and in accordance with his abilities, he became the first recipient of Yosemite National Park’s Artist-in-Residency program.

Opening at The Ansel Adams Gallery on November 30, 2018 “Unexpected Landscapes: Photographs by Ted Orland” will exhibit works from throughout the artist’s career, featuring images from Yosemite and locales farther afield. A reception for the artist will be held at the gallery on December 1st from 3-5 in the afternoon. We hope to see you there!

Unearthing the Enigma of Moonrise

Original Mural of “Moonrise, Hernandez”

Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico (1941). It is the image that almost didn’t occur. For fifty years, the dating of this fateful image remained in question.

It was approaching twilight on an autumn day in 1941. Ansel Adams and his companions were traveling by car, after an uneventful outing in the Chama Valley. The stormy skies had cleared over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, with a ghostly gibbous moon rising above an old adobe church and graveyard in the approaching distance.

“We were sailing southward along the highway not far from Espanola when I glanced to the left and saw an extraordinary situation – an inevitable photograph! I almost ditched the car and rushed to set up my 8 x 10 camera. I had a clear visualization of the image I wanted, but I could not find my Weston exposure meter! The situation was desperate: the low sun was trailing the edge of clouds in the west, and shadow would soon dim the white crosses.”

Mural-sized enlargement of “Moonrise, Hernandez” next to the negative

Ansel Adams knew intuitively that “Moonrise, Hernandez” was an unusual photograph, but he had no idea that it would become his most popular single image. Original 16×20” gelatin silver prints that sold for $500 during his lifetime, now sell for over $50,000. Although he could remember some of the most minute details, Ansel admittedly neglected to record when his negatives were exposed, and this iconic and timeless image was often incorrectly dated.

“Because of my unfortunate disregard for the dates of my negatives I have caused considerable dismay among historians, students, and museums – to say nothing of the trouble it has caused me. Moonrise is a prime example of my anti-date complex. It has been listed as 1940, 1941, 1942 and even 1944. At the suggestion of Beaumont Newhall, Dr. David Elmore of the High Altitude Observatory at Boulder, Colorado, put a computer to work on the problem.”

Ansel Adams in front of his most famous image, “Moonrise, Hernandez”

In 1981, solar physicist David Elmore calculated the exposure day and time for “Moonrise, Hernandez” based on the position of the moon and the surrounding landscape. He concluded that it had been made on Halloween Day, October 31st, 1941 at 4:03 pm.  Although a harrowing effort, Elmore’s calculations were off by a day. His computer screen distorted the height to width ratio, and his location coordinates for the town of Hernandez were off.

Dennis di Cicco, an astronomer and former writer for Sky and Telescope magazine, pursued the enigma for ten years until he came up with a new date: November 1st, 1941 at exactly 4:49:20 pm Mountain Standard Time. Di Cicco discovered that “Adams had been at the edge of the old roadbed, about 50 feet west of the spot on the modern highway that Elmore had identified”. Visits to the site and modern computing software would aid in his calculation in 1991, fifty years after the making of Ansel’s historic photograph.  

Whether you’ve seen his photographs reproduced in a magazine or on exhibition at a museum, the images of Ansel Adams are so powerful, so perfect and true, that in our minds they supersede reality.”  – Joan Mondale

Ansel Adams’ “Moonrise, Hernandez” stands as one of the most famous and iconic photographic images in history. Ansel was a perfectionist in the creation of each individually hand-produced gelatin silver photograph, and his darkroom techniques were unparalleled in terms of skill and adeptness. Today, his original prints are as powerful and poignant as ever, and utterly Timeless.  

If you are interested in this image as an original 16 x 20″ print or an extremely rare mural-sized photograph, please contact us by email at  

Moonrise, Hernandez: Mysterious, Timeless and Iconic from The Ansel Adams Gallery on Vimeo.

A Continuing Legacy in Yosemite Romanticism New Oil Paintings by James McGrew

Our autumn exhibition, “A Continuing Legacy in Yosemite Romanticism – New Oil Paintings by James McGrew” embraces not only our own roots as one of the longest running businesses in any National Park, but we also pay homage to the role that art has held in the establishment and protection of our most revered public lands.

On Exhibit in Yosemite ‘Within Sight: The Road To Home” by Roman Loranc

When I first came to California, I became acquainted with the Merced National Wildlife Refuge in the Central Valley. Efforts were then being made to restore the wetlands that had once been prolific in that area but were being diminished at an alarming pace. Through my photography, I joined the conservation efforts to save these natural and wild places. I want to share my artistic vision with others to increase awareness of these pristine landscapes, which are precious resources meriting preservation.