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Ansel Adams

El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, from the portfolio Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras
about 1925, printed 1927
gelatin silver print
9 7/8 x 11 7/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase. Used with permission of the Trustees of the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust. All rights reserved.

Adams photographed this bold granite face in different seasons and lights, turning El Capitan into an American icon. Carleton Watkins, Adams’s nineteenth-century predecessor, photographed El Capitan from exactly the same spot nearly a half century earlier. Thanks to men like Ansel Adams who were instrumental in the creation of America’s national parks, nothing much appears to have changed since this photograph was taken.