Clearing snowstorm, Yosemite National Park, California
© Jeff Lewis/Tandem Stills + Motio
An enduring vision
Of all the camera-wielding luminaries who've snapped this eastward view of Yosemite Valley, few can hold a 'candela' to Ansel Adams, born this day in 1902. The legendary photographer of Western landscapes was given his first camera here in Yosemite as a boy. The national park was his favorite 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.
While Adams had to lug bulky box cameras and light meters into the wilderness to capture his vision, chances are you've got the whole setup in your pocket. Why not grab that phone of yours, venture outside, and celebrate this legendary shutterbug's birthday with some masterful nature snaps of your own?