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Mt. McKinley Range, Clouds, Denali National Park, Alaska

Artist: Ansel Adams
Created: 1948
Format: Photograph

Mt. McKinley Range, Clouds, Denali National Park, Alaska

Ansel Adams once said “Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter”.  His comment is certainly plausible when one considers his photograph titled ‘Mt. McKinley Range, Clouds, Denali National Park, Alaska’ taken in 1948.

The majestic mountain range in Alaska draws enormous and seemingly endless banks of billowing clouds. Adams captures this image under perfect lighting, achieving a spectacular effect. The dark, shadowed mountains appear relatively small against the vast luminosity of the sky above. Adams’ intention with regard to ratio may well have been to emphasize the magnitude of the clouds and diminish the scale of the mountains. The practised photographer was able to encapsulate the scene ‘Mt. McKinley Range, Clouds, Denali National Park, Alaska’ from a vantage point that overlooks Wonder Lake, creating a picture worthy of the word “magnificent”.

Alaskan Conservation

During his first journey to Alaska in 1947, Ansel Adams developed a notable passion towards the conservation of the Alaskan lands and subsequently embarked on a life long journey to establish the preservation of its wilderness. He met with many leaders of power, including presidents and congressmen in order to persuade them to establish conservation legislation.

On April 22 (Earth Day) in 1985, a year after his death, an 11,760 foot mountain that lies on the boundary of Yosemite National Park was named Mt. Ansel Adams.

About the Artist

While on a family trip to Yosemite National Park in 1916, young Ansel received a Kodak Brownie box camera from his father. The gift became a monumental moment in Adams’s life as he took his first pictures of nature’s beautiful scenery.

Throughout his photographic career, Adams received wide recognition for his production of powerful images that focused mainly on the natural world; it was perhaps his subtle way of imparting a plea for environmental protection. In time, his career led him to co-found Group f/64; its members were able to promote their innovative approach to photographic style, eventually motivating Adams to begin teaching his own applied methods and techniques.

In 1941, after embarking on many instructional workshops, Adams began teaching at the Art Center School of Los Angeles (currently known as the Art Center College of Design).


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