Unique Offer in Fine Art Photography – Michael Frye

Swirling Clouds and Mist, Sunrise, Yosemite National Park, California by Michael Frye

Yosemite trades in light; in dawns and sunsets illuminating a cherished landscape, it is hard not to yield to a superlative scene. True light sees fit to accentuate each experience and remind us of what is magical.

Michael Frye, a resolute witness of the Sierra, is no stranger to beautiful horizons. He has been photographing Yosemite for 35 years, and during that time has enjoyed innumerable sunrises. But last month, he had an opportunity to photograph one of his finest: Swirling Clouds and Mist, Sunrise, Yosemite National Park. Couple with this another stunning morning during the autumn, Sunbeams, Mist, Half Dome, and the Merced River and it has been quite a successful year for Mr. Frye. In recognition, we are thrilled to offer collectors, friends and fellow art lovers, a chance to purchase these never-before-printed images from Yosemite at a discount prior to their availability within the general market place.

While Michael’s original prints normally sell up to $750 in these sizes, you can now add one to your private collection for 25% off the initial retail price. Each photograph is made by Mr. Frye, printed to current archival standards, signed and numbered, as well as mounted, matted and ready for framing. The time to purchase will begin at 9:00 AM Pacific Time on Monday, June 17th and will expire upon the close of business, Sunday, June 23rd at 6:00 PM. Once the offer has expired, we anticipate an order fulfillment time of approximately four to five weeks to ensure the quality of each individual order. This inaugural printing offer is available for a very limited time, after which, the print will return to full price.

The gallery would also like to share with our followers the big news that Michael’s print prices, after many years, will be raised starting August 17th, 2019. Pricing will start at $450 for a nominal 16×20 print and increase from there. If you have been eager to add an original Michael Frye to your collection for some time, there is no better time than the present. See more of Michael’s outstanding work from throughout his career.

You are also welcome to email our curator, Evan Russel, at evan@anseladams.com if you have any additional questions about the prints, pricing or shipping.

Sunbeams, Mist, Half Dome, and the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California

Sunbeams, Mist, Half Dome, and the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California by Michael Frye


Swirling Clouds and Mist, Sunrise, Yosemite National Park, California by Michael Frye

Swirling Clouds and Mist, Sunrise, Yosemite National Park, California

I’ve watched many sunrises from Tunnel View, but this is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen.

It didn’t start out with much promise. When my wife Claudia and I arrived in Yosemite Valley we found lots of mist, but overcast skies. Some forecasts hinted that the skies might clear later in the morning, when the sun would be too high. Other forecasts showed little or no clearing all day.

But I thought it was likely that the sun would break through sometime that morning, so I hung around and photographed misty black-and-white scenes while I waited. I knew if the sun did appear early enough that morning it would be right between El Capitan and Cathedral Rocks, which could provide some unusually interested lighting.

By 6:35, about 45 minutes after sunrise, I could see a bright spot in the clouds where the sun was. A few minutes later the sun started to backlight the mist. Then for the next 90 minutes the sun, mist, and clouds put on a spectacular show. One beautiful view followed another, but this is my favorite moment from that morning.

Misty sunrise, Half Dome and the Merced River, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Sunbeams, Mist, Half Dome, and the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California

I made this photograph on a late-November morning after an autumn storm. The ground and trees were soaking wet after three inches of rain, so when the sun would hit a spot for the first time it would evaporate that moisture, creating wonderful mist, and a succession of beautiful scenes. It was one of those magical Yosemite days when I wished I could be in twelve places at once.

Lacking the ability to clone myself, I worked my way around Yosemite Valley, trying to arrive in the right places at the right times to catch moments when the sun first reached the valley floor. One of my first stops that morning was at this view of Half Dome with the Merced River in the foreground. I got there just in time to catch the sun breaking through the mist, casting sunbeams and forming a beautiful corona. To top it off, the cottonwoods along the river still had color, and some wonderfully-patterned clouds were passing overhead and reflecting in the water.

There have been many mornings when I’ve risen early to photograph a sunrise, and thought later that perhaps more sleep would have been a better option. But you never know unless you get out there. And every so often I get to photograph a beautiful, special sunrise, like this one, and remember why I keep getting up early and trying – and why I photograph landscapes in the first place.


Michael Frye’s photographs show a restless creativity in depicting the world of nature, with subject matter ranging from wildlife, to the landscapes of Yosemite Valley, to boldly colorful nighttime images of the American West.

“My 30-year-old dictionary defines photography as “The art or process of producing images of objects upon a photosensitive surface (as film in a camera) by the chemical action of light or other radiant energy.” I’m not sure about “producing images of objects.” I tell students that we don’t photograph objects, we photograph the light reflected off of objects. A great subject with poor light will make a poor photograph; an ordinary subject with great light can make a great photograph.

But I like the part about “radiant energy.” Although I’m sure Webster’s didn’t mean it this way, I think the radiant energy comes mostly from the photographer, or from the interaction between the photographer and his or her subject.

The photographs on this web site encompass two distinct bodies of work, each using very different kinds of light. One group of images was made during the day, using all the wonderful forms and textures of sunlight. The other group was made at night, combining electronic flash and flashlights (often covered with colored filters) with the dim light of the moon and stars. Although the subject matter is similar, the look and feel of the images is very different. I try to use my main tool—light—to create a mood, whether the mood is lyrical, playful, or mysterious. ” ~Michael Frye

Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He has written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and is the author and photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite and Yosemite Meditations. He was also featured in the book Landscape: The World’s Top Photographers. His photographs have been published in over thirty countries around the world; magazine credits include National Wildlife, Outdoor Photographer, American Photo, Sunset, and Texas Highways. Michael lives with his wife Claudia and son Kevin in Mariposa, California, just outside Yosemite National Park. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite since 1983.

Visions of Taos: The Making of “Taos Pueblo” by Ansel Adams and Mary Austin

(The Ansel Insider) 

When Ansel Adams traveled to New Mexico for his fourth time in April 1929, the majesty of the desert had already started to ingrain itself deep in his soul. During this particular trip, Ansel began to develop a lasting and very rewarding collaboration with feminist writer and bohemian Mary Austin. The artistic duet between Ansel and Mary in this particular case spawned the creation of “Taos Pueblo,” an exceptional project at the intersection of their two careers as photographer and writer.

Taos Pueblo Plate IV – “Girl of Taos” by Ansel Adams

When Ansel arrived in New Mexico in April 1929, he wrote a letter to his father to describe the impact of the desert and his partnership with Mary Austin on his spirits and career trajectory:

“Today there is thick black sky and snow is falling in the hills. Tomorrow it may be a crystal clear day; the changes of the weather are always startling…Mary Austin gets back in a day or so. We are enjoying every minute of the time, and the people are all so good to us that we feel quite at home. There is an unfolding a perspective of work that seems much, much more than I had ever hoped for…I am certain that New Mexico will keep me half a year at least [in the future] and I shall meet with a great success. The wealth of material is beyond belief.” — Ansel Adams letter to Charles Adams, New Mexico, April 4, 1929

“Taos Pueblo” Title page and subsequent page signed by Mary Austin and Ansel Adams

Ansel and Mary decided upon the subject of the Pueblo of Taos for their creative collaboration. Their dream came to fruition with the help of friend Tony Lujan, a Taos Indian, whose wife Mabel, heiress and patron of the arts, hosted Ansel and Mary at her home in Los Gallos, Taos. Tony Lujan approached the Governor of Taos, who in turn held a Council Meeting, and the following day granted Ansel permission to photograph the Pueblo. Ansel was thrilled to begin this project, greatly inspired by the stunning subject matter of “great pile[s] of adobe five stories high with the Taos peaks rising a tremendous way behind. And the Indians [so] majestic, wearing as they do their blankets as Arabs.” (Ansel Adams, Letters 1916-1984)

Left: Taos Pueblo Plate XII – “Church at Ranchos de Taos” by Ansel Adams. Right: Plate III – “Man of Taos” by Ansel Adams

Ansel’s awe of the Taos landscape, architecture and culture translated directly into the impressive photographs he made for “Taos Pueblo.” His enthusiasm was wild, resounding with excitement and wonder. In a letter to his best friend Cedric Wright from where he was staying at Mabel’s home in Los Gallos, Ansel wrote:

“Lookie! Jezuz Krize this is a great place. Such MOUNTAINS!!!! Peaks are 13000 feet high — MIT SNOW!!!! Pines Aspins Snow Clouds Burros Swell People Injuns No photographers but me. You gotta see this place before you die.” — Ansel Adams letter to Cedric Wright, Los Gallow, Taos, NM, April 1929

Taos Pueblo Plate V – “New Church” by Ansel Adams

Thus the “Taos Pueblo” project began, sparked by the good will of friendship, the enchantment of the region, and a shared sense of dedication to produce something truly remarkable. And remarkable, it was. “Taos Pueblo” was produced in 1930 in a small edition of 100 signed and numbered copies, plus eight artist’s copies, each containing twelve original prints. Ansel published this exceedingly rare book with Grabhorn Press in San Francisco. The folio is hand bound in original quarter tan morocco over orange buckram by Hazel Dreis. Ansel’s contribution to the work includes twelve original silver bromide prints which were hand printed by the artist himself on rag paper specially sensitized with emulsions by William Dassonville, his friend and San Francisco paper supplier. The manuscript pages were enhanced with a striking graphic motif by Italian-American printmaker illustrator and author, Angelo Valenti.

“Taos Pueblo” Book Cover (hand bound in original quarter tan morocco over orange buckram) and Inside Cover

Over a period of several months during the fall of 1929, Ansel manually produced 1,296 silver prints for the book edition. The quality and care put into the publication of “Taos Pueblo” along with its marking of the development of Ansel’s style makes it a breathtaking, sentimental masterpiece.

Taos Pueblo Plate IV – “Ruins of Old Church” by Ansel Adams

In 1977, the New York Graphic Society published a facsimile edition of the original, with the cooperation of Ansel. The society used gravure prints rather than original photographs, and produced a limited edition of 950 copies, each signed by Ansel. Following the release of that edition, photographic historian Weston Naef wrote:

“With Taos Pueblo we see a commitment to light and form as the essential building blocks of a picture. Every exposure was made in the most brilliant sunshine which in turn created deep shadows. Sunlight and shadow are at the same time the photographer’s friend and foe. Neither films nor papers can record the two extremes of bright sun and deep shadow equally well, and an unhappy tonal compromise is often the result. Rich shadow detail is here realized simultaneously with delicate highlights in a way that proves Adams’s native sense for the toughest technical problems of the medium, and how to solve them.” — Weston J. Naef, The Metropolitan Museum Art

Taos Pueblo Plate II – “South House (Hlaukwima)” by Ansel Adams

A seminal work in Ansel’s career, and a landmark photography book, “Taos Pueblo” is considered by many to be the greatest pictorial representation of the American West. With the publication of “Taos Pueblo,” Ansel launched his career as arguably the greatest landscape photographer of our time.

Learn more about the life of Ansel Adams here, leading up to and following his publication of “Taos Pueblo.” View the complete set of twelve photographs made by Ansel for “Taos Pueblo” listed by the Two Red Roses Foundation, a private, non-profit educational institution that promotes an understanding of the American Arts & Crafts movement.

New Release: Mt. McKinley, Wonder Lake – Modern Replica Print

Ansel Adams’ 1947 masterpiece captured in Denali National Park, Alaska

Mount McKinley at 20,320 feet is the highest peak in North America.

Collectors have found the gallery’s “Modern Replicas” a welcome addition to the options for collecting the work of Ansel Adams. The prints’ quality is on par with the contemporary photographs using the latest printing techniques. For the collection, the gallery have chosen prints from the collections of the Ansel Adams family and the Ansel Adams Archive at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona.

Now the gallery is introducing a print of the majestic image “Mt. McKinley, Wonder Lake” taken in Denali National Park, Alaska in 1947.

The photo of Mount McKinley with Wonder Lake in the foreground was taken in the summer while Adams was in Alaska on a Guggenheim Fellowship trip. It was one of the rare cloudless days of that summer in Alaska. Adams and his son Michael spent a week in the ranger station waiting for the right conditions. The image was ultimately captured with his trusty 8×10 camera at 1:30 in the morning.

The print is available in sizes from 8×10” to 30×38” printed on heavy paper that mimics the look and feel of gelatin silver paper. It is shipped dry mounted to an acid-free foam core backer. The 8-ply overmats are museum quality acid-free rag board, also hinge mounted to the backer. The prints are also available framed in both Valley Wood or Matte Black. To find out more about the print and owning Mt. McKinley, Wonder Lake as a Modern Replica Print.

Read more stories from the making of this photograph:

Mt. McKinley Bears Invade Ranger Cabin
The Mosquitos Stole the Show on Mt. McKinley Negatives

Path, Muir Woods

Path, Muir Woods

In 1919, when Adams made this photograph, he was 17 years old and experimenting with photography. He was most likely still using the Box Brownie his father gave him in Yosemite in 1916. The standard “art” photography of the day was in the Pictorialist style, an effort to diffuse the natural sharpness of the lens and film and more closely resemble traditional landscape painting. This is one of the very few pieces of the early pictorialist style that Ansel printed later in life, the most well known being the Grove of Tamarack [sic, actually Lodgepole Pines], also known as the Lyell Fork of the Merced from 1921.

Muir Woods would have been a relatively difficult day’s journey, crossing the mouth of the San Francisco Bay by ferry and traveling the next 20 miles of winding dirt road by car, bus, horse, or bicycle. Quite an excursion if the sole purpose was to experiment with the camera. The Adams family has within its collection several pieces of Path, Muir Woods, including a vintage bromoil print that Ansel inscribed to his mother. This is a late print from the family collection, by descent to Anne Helms. It is, obviously, atypical of what Adams was known for, but is an early example of his creativity and natural awareness of composition to achieve a finished work.

Portrait of Musician (Domenico Brecia) by Ansel Adams

Portrait of Musician (Domenico Brecia)

Portrait of Musician (Domenico Brecia)” Born in 1866, Brescia studied music in the Milan and Bologna conservatories. He left Italy to arrive in Chile in 1892 as choir director of an opera company. After a change of government in Chile in 1911, he settled in San Francisco, where he became professor of composition at Mills College, a position he held until his death in 1939. Brescia is the author of four operas, two symphonies and many shorter works, especially chamber music. He was a longtime member of the Bohemian Club, composing music for two Grove plays.

Gottardo Piazzoni by Ansel Adams

Gottardo Piazzoni

Gottardo Piazzoni

Gottardo Piazzoni” Piazzoni was a Swiss-born American landscape painter, muralist and sculptor of Italian heritage, and a key member of the school of Northern California artists in the early 1900s. Born in Intragna, Switzerland, Piazzoni moved at the age of 15 to his father’s dairy farm in the Carmel Valley. He studied at the prestigious Académie Julian and Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, then returned to California to begin his career. Art critic Ray Boynton wrote that “One finds in Gottardo Piazzoni an artist, a landscape painter, who is also a poet and a philosopher and sometimes a prophet. His conception of landscape is idyllic. He is a romanticist whose methods are realistic.”
Specializing in landscapes in a muted palette, scholars consider Piazzoni among the “Tonalists”. He sought out the lighting effects of certain times of day, taking a “special interest in full moonrises, the viewing of which became a family ritual. Venturing up a hill, the family would cheer the appearance of the moon. Piazzoni knew the exact time for each moonrise and kept precise records.” This, the fact that Gottardo was a highly respected member of the Northern California Artists, along with his gentle personality, may have influenced Ansel Adams respect for Gottardo. His best known murals are on permanent exhibition in San Francisco’s de Young Museum and it is thought that he might have been an influence in encouraging Ansel to print in larger, mural formats. It is no wonder Ansel chose this image to be part of his Portfolio Six edition.

Ruins of Old Church,Taos by Ansel Adams

Ruins of Old Church, Taos

Ruins of Old Church, Taos, 1929

Ruins of Old Church,Taos Taos Pueblo, a collaboration between a young Ansel Adams and feminist writer and bohemian Mary Austin, was published in 1930 in a small edition of 108 copies. Limited and hard to find, it is considered one of the greatest books produced by San Francisco’s renowned Grabhorn Press. The project was exceptional for its time – not only the intersection of two careers, photographer and writer, but of the American environmental movement and a movement by white women to promote Pueblo arts. Always an innovator, this lovely print from the 1970’s illustrates how Ansel was experimenting with modern papers to see if he could replicate the look and feel of the original Dassonville sensitized paper used in the Taos project. Although not one of the 108 prints that were bound for the book, “Ruins of Old Church, Taos” is the Plate 4 image. Exceedingly rare, this photograph comes to us from Anne Adams Helms collection and is the only exemplar we’ve seen outside of the published edition.

Meeting House, Davenport by Ansel Adams

Meeting House, Davenport, c.1970, Polaroid

Meeting House, Davenport”, c.1970, Polaroid, 3.5 x 4.5 inches (center) St. Vincent De Paul Church, in Davenport, was built in 1914 entirely of cement from the local Santa Cruz Portland Cement Company, which had been established in 1906. Ansel Adams made the church famous when he took the photograph above with a Polaroid camera in the 1970s. There’s a world of difference between the contemplative process of using a view camera and the instant result of a Polaroid camera. Edwin Land and Ansel Adams met in 1947 at an optics convention, and once Adams saw what Polaroid cameras could do, he immediately became a consultant. Adams was still testing films and cameras for the company up until his death in 1984. “There it was, (a Polaroid image) brown and of rather awful quality. But, by gosh, it was a one-minute picture! And that excited me to no end,” Adams said. The success of Adams’ collaboration with Dr. Land laid the groundwork for Polaroid’s later sponsorship of younger artists such as Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg.

Petroglyphs Monument Valley by Ansel Adams

Petroglyphs Monument Valley

Petroglyphs Monument Valley”: This famous petroglyph depicting Bighorn Sheep was captured by Ansel Adams in 1958, located at Monument Valley, Arizona. Found in all parts of the globe except Antarctica, many petroglyphs are dated to approximately the Neolithic and late Upper Paleolithic boundary, about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, if not earlier. Although there are many Anasazi Petroglyphs in Monument Valley, the ones photographed by Ansel are thought to be some 700 years old. The running Bighorn sheep are particularly striking and can be seen in a niche below the Eye of the Sun, another historic rock formation. Monument Valley is a Tribal Park owned and managed by the Navajo Nation. This is a superb example by Ansel Adams, printed in a glossy 16×20 inch format and in “Excellent” condition.

Old California Street Firehouse by Ansel Adams

Old California Street Firehouse”

Old California Street Firehouse”

Old California Street Firehouse: The style of Engine 15 firehouse has been referred to as “Gothic Burlesque”. Built in 1884, it represents the ‘Gothic Revival Spirit’ that prevailed in San Francisco from the 1850’s; reaching its peak in the 1880’s. This structure was one of the principal buildings of this picturesque style that survived the 1906 great earthquake and fire. Demolished in 1959, the important ornamental features of the facade were retained for exhibition purposes. (Library of Congress)