Ansel Adams – Photographer, Environmentalist

Nature Brought to Life in Black-and-White

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel


Winter – when tourist crowds are gone – is the perfect time to enjoy California’s natural beauty.

California’s raw coastlines and majestic forests are not only breathtaking to see, but through the lens of master photographer Ansel Adams, they are immortalized for all to enjoy.

Working primarily in black-and-white, Adams’ use of light and shadow and his fine eye for composition and detail turned nature’s landscapes into unsurpassed works of beauty.

Growing up, one of his favorite spots to wander was in San Francisco’s still-wild Golden Gate area and the nearby sand dunes along Lobos Creek. As a teenager, armed with a Kodak Brownie camera, he first discovered the wonders of Yosemite in 1916 and would spend a lifetime capturing all the facets of its beauty on photographic plates.

Starting in 1927, with his portfolio of photographs of the High Sierras, Adams launched a career that would encompass creating iconic images of Yosemite, San Francisco, Monterey, and other points throughout the Northwest, including Glacier National Park, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon.

Though he preferred black-and-white photography because it gave him more control over the finished picture than the limited options of the emerging color photography of his day, Adams did experiment with the new color medium – and got some amazing results.

A son of the West, who was born in San Francisco in 1902 and died in Monterey in 1984, Adams was an avid environmentalist and used his photographs to help build awareness and support for preserving natural landscapes. He also served as director of the Sierra Club from 1934 to 1971.

Once destroyed, nature’s beauty cannot be repurchased at any price.

– Ansel Adams.

Surf’n Beach Scene Magazine

SurfWriter Girls

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