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Ansel’s Teenage Years: Largely Unknown Images

In his late teenage years, Ansel spent quite a bit of time falling in love with Yosemite, traversing the park and discovering many of its wonders. Some of these wonders he documented by camera.

Circa 1920, when he was 18,  Ansel traveled to Tenaya Canyon and captured “Fall in Upper Tenaya Canyon, Yosemite National Park.” Looking at this photograph, it almost feels as if you are flying above the canyon, with an incredible bird’s-eye-view of the sun-struck waterfall below. Luminous against its granite surroundings, the fall claims its place carving right down the center of Ansel’s sweeping scene. One can only imagine how the artist might have been standing, leaning ominously forwards, to have captured such a view!

Image result for fall in upper tenaya canyon ansel adams

“Fall in Upper Tenaya Canyon, Yosemite National Park, California” by Ansel Adams, c. 1920. Image courtesty of the Museum of Modern Art.

Around the same time, also circa 1920, Ansel photographed another two remarkable early works titled “Vernal Fall through Tree” and “Back of Half Dome.” Even though Ansel was very young in his photographic career when he captured these images, they show a very sophisticated sense of composition. They only exist as small contact prints made around the same time as the negatives.

 

“Vernal Fall Through Tree, Yosemite National Park, California, 1920” and “Back of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California” by Ansel Adams. Image is a picture taken from the book “Ansel Adams 400 Photographs”

About four years later, circa 1924, Ansel photographed “Simmons Peak, In The Maclure Fork Canyon” on another adventure in Yosemite.

 

“Simmons Peak, In The Maclure Fork Canyon, Yosemite National Park, California, c. 1924” by Ansel Adams

Because Ansel neither published these images in articles or books nor included them in any exhibitions, they are largely unknown. Though these four images have not been openly shared by the artist himself, they offer a fascinating window into his early experimentations with composition, along with the fundamental Yosemite expeditions that captured his heart and inspired his artistic passion for years to come.

Yosemite Valley & Your Smartphone With Dillon Engstrom

Learn how to photograph your next Yosemite experience like a pro, all with the camera you always carry: your mobile device!

Dillon Engstrom, staff photographer at The Ansel Adams Gallery, has created an empowering workshop that guides participants of all skill levels to make the most out of their cameraphone.

Dillon’s smartphone photography class in the field going over composition and light

“In the Field: Creative Smartphone Photography” takes participants on a fun adventure throughout breathtaking Yosemite Valley. Dillon’s class shares step-by-step processes on how to capture, edit, and produce professional looking photos, all in the field and on the go.

Dillon delves into the more intricate technique capabilities of your cameraphone, and shares pro tips on both shooting and filming practices to truly document the essence of your Yosemite experience. He guides his students to explore ways on how to bring the vitality out of the photos they take.

Dillon’s class plays with reflections and Black & White camera settings (photograph taken and edited with smartphone)

“In the Field: Creative Smartphone Photography” builds confidence and aptitude in its participants, along with showing them how to create photographs that accurately represent how the scene looked the moment they took the photo. This class helps participants elevate photos to the level they deserve, and shows each student how to actualize their creative vision.

Dillon guiding his student through quick editing techniques

After exploring Yosemite Valley and practicing what you’ve learned amidst the mountains and meadows, you’ll head back to the gallery workshop for a lesson in editing and photo production. Here, you get to be creative with post-processing techniques, and play around with the artistic capabilities of a free professional photo editing app.

Half Dome compositions with an iPhone camera

When you step away from class, you’ll leave with a clear understanding of the principles of mobile photography, along with how to personalize them for your own unique vision. You’ll be excited and prepared to capture that special moment when it strikes, in Yosemite and beyond.

Practicing smartphone waterfall photography following Dillon’s techniques