Clearing snowstorm, Yosemite National Park, California
© Jeff Lewis/Tandem Stills + Motio
Ansel Adams' enduring vision
Of all the camera-wielding luminaries who've snapped this eastward view of Yosemite Valley in California, few can hold a 'candela' to Ansel Adams, born this day in 1902. The American photographer of Western landscapes was given his first camera here in Yosemite as a boy. The national park was his favourite place in the world, and he returned every year for the rest of his life.
Adams' style is one of the most recognizable in photography: Bright whites against deep blacks, with high horizon lines that leave most of the frame filled with landscape, a narrow lens aperture placing every tiny detail in biting focus. Unlike many photographers of the day who considered themselves more journalist than artist, Adams was a visionary: Instead of plainly documenting what he saw, Adams aimed to convey the enchantment, awe, and terror his beloved landscapes made him feel, spending hours in the darkroom fine-tuning exposures to match what he visualized. 'Clearing Winter Storm'—the photo that today's image pays tribute to—was taken around 1937, depicting ominous clouds gathering around El Capitan and Bridalveil Fall, whiting out the distant peak of Half Dome.