Ansel Adams first came to Yosemite National Park in 1916 and returned in 1920 as a caretaker for the Sierra Club’s LeConte Lodge. At the time, he was still planning a career as a concert pianist. As a result of this pursuit, Adams found himself befriending Harry Best, a landscape painter and political cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle who at the turn of the century took an excursion to Yosemite Valley to camp and paint.
Adams fell in love with Best’s daughter Virginia, and on January 2, 1928, they were married in in the “new village” in Yosemite Valley, the area that later became the heart of the Valley.
The addition of Ansel Adams to the Best family had a major impact that became mutually beneficial. At the time of the wedding, Adam’s career as a photographer was just beginning. He had published his first portfolio in 1927, “Parmelian Prints of the High Sierra,” but his projects didn’t pick up steam until some years later. During the Second World War the family moved to Yosemite year round, where the Adams’ children grew up.
Today, you can relive the history and learn more about the legendary photographer at The Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite. It’s a must-stop on any visit to the Park, not only to see his work but also to learn more about his important role in promoting the area’s idyllic beauty.
The gallery, located in the heart of Yosemite Valley between the Visitor Center and Post Office, is open seven days a week, from 9 am to 5 pm, with extended hours in the summer. NOTE: Winter hours are 10am-5pm.
In addition to offering fantastic vistas of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and Glacier Point, the gallery offers a variety of tours and activities for photographers and photographic art lovers, such as:
- Camera Walks– Free camera walks, led by staff photographers, are offered every Monday (at the Ahwahnee Hotel), Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday throughout the year. These depart from the Gallery porch at 9:00 AM and are limited to 15 people. Topics include cameras, composition, exposure, and whatever questions arise. Both digital and traditional formats are welcome.
- Fine Print Tours – Spend an hour with the gallery curator viewing some of the Ansel Adams original photographs in their inventory. Evan Russel discusses the evolution of photography, Adams’ personal artistic evolution, and answers questions. Highly recommended for aspiring to advanced collectors. Tours take place most Saturdays at 3 pm, but be sure to check the gallery calendar and call for information.
- Ansel Adams films – The gallery hosts a free viewing of “Ansel Adams, Photographer” each Friday at the Yosemite Lodge by the Falls. Check the calendar to confirm location and time.
- Photography Workshops – Intensive photography workshops are offered in Yosemite, ranging from 1 to 6 days in length. Each workshop varies in terms of focus and level, and range in price from $600 to $1350. Visit the gallery’s website for more details about specific photography workshops.
About the Author: Lindsay Taub is an award-winning journalist with over a decade of experience as a writer/editor/photographer covering travel, lifestyle, culture, arts, food, health, and all facets that make life a journey. Follow her on twitter @lindsaytaub58.