Tuesday, April 29, 2008

LeConte Memorial Re-Opens for the Season

The Sierra Club’s LeConte Memorial Lodge re-opens in Yosemite Valley for the summer season on May 1st. They will be open every Wednesday through Sunday from 10AM - 4PM through September. The memorial was constructed in 1903-04 and became the Valley’s first public information center. Today it is listed as a National Historic Landmark and still continues to provide public programs, educational displays and a library.

Photographer Ansel Adams actually worked at the LeConte Memorial early on his photographic career. Starting in the summer of 1920, Ansel served as the custodian at the memorial. As his interest in photography grew, his relationship with the Sierra Club led him to participate in the High Trip in 1927, which was the Club’s annual outing into the wilderness of the Sierra. By 1929 he became of official trip photographer and in 1930 he became the assistant manager of the outings.

Today, through the efforts of the Sierra Club, a curator and summer caretakers still provide visitors with information on Yosemite, the Sierra Nevada, the National Park Idea and present various interpretive programs to the public.

The May 2008 Interpretive Programs are as follows:

Friday, May 2 @ 8PM: American Indian Storytelling and Flute

Saturday, May 3 @ 8PM: State Gaurdians of Yosemite: The First Park Rangers

Sunday, May 4 @ 8PM: John Muir & Teddy Roosevelt in Yosemite: 1903

Friday, May 9 @ 8PM: Meet Galen Clark: Gaurdian of Yosemite

Saturday, May 10 @ 8PM: Hiking Half Dome

Sunday, May 11 @ 7PM: Open House

Friday, May 16 @ 8PM: Dr. Steller’s Jay, A Visit with Dr. Stellar

Saturday, May 17 @ 8PM: A Centennial at Muir Woods

Sunday, May 18 @ 8pm: Climate Change & “An Inconvienent Truth”

Thursday, May 22 @ 4:30PM: Climate Change & “An Inconvienent Truth”

Friday, May 23 @ 2PM: Yosemite Valley School Poetry Festival

Friday, May 23 @ 8PM: John Muir Around the World

Saturday, May 24 @ 8PM: View of the Solar System

Sunday, May 25 @ 7PM: Open House

Wednesday, May 28 @ 4:30PM: Climate Change & “An Inconvienent Truth”

Thursday, May 29 @ 8PM: Interesting Plants from Yosemite’s Unusual Habitats

Friday, May 30 @ 8PM: The Sounds that Nature Makes

Saturday, May 31 @ 10:30AM: Botany Walk

Saturday, May 31 @ 8PM: Flowering Plants of Yosemite

Sunday, June 1 @ 8PM: John Muir – Life & Legacy

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Creative Black & White Process Workshop

Last week photographer Ray McSavaney taught The Creative Black & White Process workshop in Yosemite Valley. Participants were greeted with everything from sunny days to clearing storms, making it a great week photographically. When they weren’t in the darkroom learning printing techniques or having their prints reviewed, the group went to locations throughout Yosemite Valley including Mirror Lake, Tunnel View and the Merced River to make images and improve their camera skills. Here are a few shots of the group from their week spent in Yosemite.

Michael Adams Takes Robert Scoble and Marc Silber in the Footsteps of His Father

On April 24th and 25th, Robert Scoble, a video blogger from Fast Company, and professional photographer Marc Silber spent time with Michael Adams, son of Ansel Adams, in Yosemite National Park. Taking Robert, Marc and crew through the park, Michael taught them about his father’s life and work.

To read about and see video footage of their time spent with Michael, please visit Robert and Marc’s blogs at the following links:


Marc Silber Photography Blog

New York Times Article - "What Adams Saw Through His Lens"

What Adams Saw Through His Lens
by Louise Story
Published: April 27, 2008

WAWONA TUNNEL is a passageway from civilization to natural splendor. The tunnel, dug through a hill on the south side of Yosemite National Park in the 1930s, hides the coming view like a mile-long blindfold.

And then you’re there. Pale, curvaceous granite rocks dance in the skyline. Dozens of people stand along the edge of the pull-off, called Tunnel View, trying to capture the scene. Some snap two quick shots with disposable yellow cameras, and others set up their tripods for hours, watching the light strike Yosemite’s monoliths. On the left, El Capitan, a rock climbers’ mecca, appears the tallest. The Half Dome and Sentinel Dome arch upwards in the center. And the two Cathedral Spires sit on the right next to the sometimes gushing Bridalveil Fall.

Many people know these sights by name, but more know them by sight alone, as captured through the lens of the legendary American photographer Ansel Adams.

Adams first visited Yosemite in 1916 when he was 14 years old. On that trip, he hopped up on a tree stump to take a photo of Half Dome, then stumbled, headfirst, and accidentally pushed the shutter release. The upside-down image remained one of Adams’s favorites, he wrote in his autobiography.

The park itself also remained a favorite. Adams ended up living much of his life in Yosemite, and took many of his most well-known photographs there. Today, it is not unusual to encounter professional photographers and novices alike trying to retrace his path. They wait for the perfect minute of moonrise over Half Dome or a shadow on a fallen tree in Siesta Lake. They remember his photo of a juniper tree they saw in a museum, on a coffee cup or a monthly calendar. Ansel Adams’s work, in some ways, is the best unpaid advertising a national park could get.

The first step on an Ansel Adams-inspired trip to Yosemite is to visit the gallery run by his family. It is in the park’s central area called Yosemite Valley, and displays and sells Adams’s work as well as photos taken by several contemporary artists. Before Adams died in 1984, he spent years living in a house behind the gallery and leading workshops there. Now others teach the workshops, and the gallery is managed by Adams’s grandchildren. The gallery’s staff leads free camera walks three days a week. The gallery also shows a free film about Adams once a week, rents out cameras and tripods and sells keepsakes and guidebooks.

I ordered three books written by Adams from the gallery’s Web site before my trip: Adams’s autobiography, his collected photos of Yosemite and a step-by-step explanation of some of his works called “Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs.” By the time our plane landed in Fresno, Calif., I felt well-equipped to step inside Ansel land.

But Yosemite does not often appear as it did at the moments Adams tripped his shutter. Nor is it easy to stand where he stood and capture the same images.

“I’ve had people say they are kind of disappointed,” says Glenn Crosby, the curator of the Ansel Adams Gallery. “They only know the park through Ansel’s eyes, and he was only showing you the keepers. The park is not always as dramatic as his work.”

Back in 1986, Mr. Crosby was working at a job he didn’t like with too long a commute. So he moved to Yosemite to take photographs for a year and has stayed there ever since. He likes to say he has his own “Moonrise and Half Dome” because in 1998 he photographed the rock with an astronomer who had tracked the exact minute the moon would ascend next to Half Dome in the same way it did in front of Adams in 1960. But as talented as Mr. Crosby is, he says he doesn’t fool himself.

“Someone could be standing shoulder to shoulder with Ansel and come away with a totally different interpretation,” he says.

Once a week, Mr. Crosby takes a handful of people into a backroom at the gallery for a free show of original Adams photos (hint: pre-register). Recently, Mr. Crosby showed visitors Adams’s 1927 photo called “The Diving Board” (which includes Adams’s future wife, Virginia Best, standing on a distant rock) and his 1921 picture “Lodgepole Pines, Lyell Fork of the Merced River,” among others. He handles the photos carefully with white-gloved hands, since the prices for rare prints are as high as $40,000.

“We’re a gallery,” Mr. Crosby says. “We’re not a museum.”

The gallery has been in the family since 1902, when James Best, a local painter, won the rights to sell his work there. Ansel Adams married Virginia Best, James’s daughter, in 1928, and the family still holds the concession license. In the 1970s, Ansel’s son, Michael, renamed the gallery after his father.

Ansel Adams’s family members today say they feel a responsibility to provide education and service.

“We offer a connection to Ansel for people who love Ansel and this park,” says Matthew Adams, president of the gallery and grandson of the photographer.

By the 1950s, Adams had already taken most of his famous Yosemite images. Not unlike tourists today who visit his tripod points, Adams packed up his two teenage children, wife and a couple of burros in 1952 to recreate some of his earlier treks. For 10 days, they hiked through the backcountry of Yosemite, past Merced Lake, Vernal Fall and the peak that would be named Mount Ansel Adams in 1985. It had been decades since Ansel had been to some of those spots, but without hesitation he scrambled up on ledges and visualized new images, recalls his son, Michael Adams, who was 19 at the time.

“He loved the scenery as it was at the time,” says Michael Adams. “Whether it was dead trees or trees that were alive. Or whether the waterfall was full or down. It wasn’t always the big vistas, it could be a wonderful rock.”

Visitors to Yosemite should come with the same openness to appreciating the scenery as it is, rather than expecting to see the living version of Ansel Adams’s pictures. The Jeffrey pine that Adams photographed atop Sentinel Dome in 1940, for example, fell a few years ago, and it is now a rotting log.

Adams was often frustrated with the development of the park during his long life there. When he was young, he felt as if seeing others in the wilderness was “an intrusion or even trespass” and wrote many letters to the national park service bemoaning the commercialization of Yosemite.

But he outgrew the desire for privacy in the park. “Nature is always better when left to itself — but for what purpose?” he wrote. “Starry-eyed reaction to the splendors of nature is an invaluable experience for everyone.”


The Ansel Adams Gallery (209-372-4413; www.anseladams.com) hosts free camera walks, showings of rare Adams prints and a biographical movie. The gallery also runs private and group photography lessons for fees that range from $250 to $700. It costs $20 a car to enter Yosemite National Park (www.nps.gov/yose/) and visitors must make reservations to camp or stay in hotels there.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

22nd Wedding Anniversary Celebration - A Hike to Upper Yosemite Fall

On Sunday, photographer Michael Frye and Ansel Adams Gallery vice-president Claudia Welsh celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary. It was 24 years ago that they met in Yosemite National Park.

After a series of seasonal jobs for Yosemite Park & Curry Company, both secured year round employment at The Ansel Adams Gallery in the fall of 1985. On April 20, 1986, the two married in the meadow behind the Ahwahnee Hotel. The Gallery was kind enough to open the store late on that Sunday so friends and co-workers could attend the mid-morning celebration. For the wedding, they chose a spot behind the hotel were the trees framed a beautiful view of Upper Yosemite Fall to celebrate their commitment with family and friends.

Recently, Michael and Claudia realized that although they had covered many trails in the park together, they had not climbed to the top of the Yosemite Falls as a couple. So on Sunday, they decided to embark on the 7.2-mile roundtrip hike to Upper Yosemite Fall in celebration of their 22 years together.

The weather was clear and a bit on the cold side when they started the trail at 1:00PM. In the afternoon, most of the trail is in the shade, but the light on the upper falls is spectacular. It takes about 2-4 hours to make it to the top depending on your pace. Affectionately known as the "Stairmaster,” the trail is both beautiful and demanding, gaining an elevation of 2,700 feet.

One suggestion Claudia and Michael have for those hiking this trail is not to miss the spur trail to the gorge overlook. It is worth the effort but is not well marked and can be easily missed. Just as you first get to the place in the trail where you finally have a view of the upper falls, look for the spur trail on your right. It is about 50 feet to the railing and a breathless view into the gorge. You will see the tiny people on the lower falls bridge and a rainbow or two if the sun is behind you. Even if you only decide to go this far, you will have a wonderful, breath-taking memory of your time in Yosemite.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Yosemite in Spring: Silver or Pixels Workshop

Last week photographer Mark Citret instructed the Yosemite in Spring: Silver or Pixels workshop for The Ansel Adams Gallery Photography Workshops. Eight participants from different parts of the United States ventured out to Yosemite National Park to participate. Ranging in format from 4x5 to digital SLR cameras, Mark instructed the students in their medium of choice through field sessions, demonstrations, print critiques and more.

Throughout the workshop, photography workshop director Sara Bateman and workshop assistant Tommy Matthews documented the group working in the field and participating in print critiques as seen in the included photographs.

The Mist Trail Opens for the Season!

The Mist Trail officially reopened two weeks ago in Yosemite National Park. Climbing 2.5 miles along the cascading Merced River, one will encounter both Vernal and Nevada Falls. Prepare to get wet, as the Mist Trail lives up to its name.

The grace of Vernal Fall and the ruggedness of Nevada Fall make them two of the most engaging waterfalls to photograph in Yosemite National Park. Ansel Adams photographed both of these falls and found each image to be so magnetic that he felt them important enough to include in his Special Edition Photograph series, as well as in two separate portfolios.

Both morning and afternoon are great times to take this hike. In the morning hours, the waterfalls and their resulting mist can exhibit a backlit effect. By early afternoon, softer light will warm up the landscape. During high runoff, rainbows should be visible throughout the sunny part of the day at the base of both falls, depending on perspective.

The photographs that accompany this posting were taken by Ansel Adams Gallery staff photographer Evan Russel on April 15, 2008 between 9-11:30AM in the morning.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Charles Cramer on Exhibit through May 30th

A selection of both new work and old favorites from photographer Charles Cramer are on display in our Yosemite gallery from April 16th - May 30th.

Please join us for an artist's reception with the photographer on May 11th from 5-7PM.

The Green Glass Company

One of the new handcraft items in our Yosemite gallery this spring is a line of glassware from The Green Glass Company based out of Weston, Wisconsin. The basis of this line is to turn recycled bottles into usable glassware. The bottles used come from the waste stream and are sorted and supplied to Green Glass where they turn them into beautiful tumblers, goblets, candle holders and more.

For further information or to purchase, please call our gallery at (209) 372-4413.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Special Earth Day Photography Walk - In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams

Join staff photographer Evan Russel for In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams on Sunday, April 20th from 10am - noon. This special Earth Day photography walk will visit a number of locations from which Ansel Adams composed images that helped motivate the American environmental movement. While visiting these locations, you will receive insight about Ansel’s philosophies as well as lessons on photographic technique.

To register for this program, please call The Ansel Adams Gallery at (209) 372-4413.

For more Earth Day activities in Yosemite National Park, please visit www.yosemitepark.com.

Work Begins on Photography Workshop Facility in Yosemite

Two weeks back the gallery began renovation on a space to be dedicated to our photography workshop program. Beginning in 2009, both traditional and digital workshops will be based out of Yosemite National Park. Here is a sneak peak of our new facility and a look back at the workshop facility circa 1979, courtesy of photographer Alan Ross.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Yosemite's Waterfalls Begin to Peak!

With temperatures soaring into the 80’s this weekend in Yosemite Valley, the spring run-off is beginning to bring the waterfalls to their peak. The upcoming weeks will bring the height of Yosemite’s waterfall season, making it a wonderful time of the year to visit the park and make the hike out to Yosemite, Bridalveil, Vernal and Nevada Falls.

The above photographs of Lower Yosemite Fall were taken yesterday evening by two staff members from The Ansel Adams Gallery.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Jenny Ellerbe Places in Critical Mass Top 50

Congratulations to Jenny Ellerbe or placing in the top 50 of Critical Mass. An annual juried competition sponsored by Photolucida, Critical Mass aims to promote the best emerging and mid-career artists working today.

Focusing on the area around her Louisiana home, Jenny works to document the rural landscape and communities of the region. During the past years, she has been developing a portfolio of northeastern Louisiana, which lies between the Mississippi and Ouachita Rivers. Her images tell the story of the land and of the generations who have lived and worked on it.

Jenny, along with photographer Tom Mallonee, will be instructing the Ink on Paper: A Guide to Digital Black & White Printmaking workshop this September through The Ansel Adams Gallery Photography Workshops.

Monday, April 7, 2008

"Yosemite: America's Treasure" to Air on Travel Channel

Soaring granite peaks and cliffs, gigantic Sequoias, waterfalls among the world's highest, sparkling lakes and sweeping meadows create a natural treasure...Yosemite National Park. The Travel Channel will provide an insider's view of this legendary landscape.

Scheduled to air on the Travel Channel during the following times:

Sunday, April 13th at 7:00PM ET/PT

Thursday, April 17th at 8:00PM ET/PT

Friday, April 18th at 4:00PM ET/PT

New Ansel Adams Acquisition - "Moonrise, Hernandez"

Moonrise, Hernandez
Negative Date: 1941
Print Date: ca. 1978
Print Size: Approximately 16” x 20”
Print Condition: Excellent

For further questions and pricing information, please contact fineprints@anseladams.com

Photographer Charles Cramer Participates in the Adobe Tasmania Lightroom Adventure

Photographer Charles Cramer is currently part of the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Adventure in Tasmania. He is joined by a group of internationally renowned photographers who will be testing Adobe software while capturing images of the Tasmanian landscape.

While working in the field, photographers will utilize Lightroom to upload, sort and output their images. Through the following blog you can see their images and read stories from this adventure:


To view more photography by Charles Cramer, please visit www.anseladams.com.