From The Collection of
The Turtle Bay Exploration Park
, Redding, CA

The exhibition features a collection of forty-seven works by Ansel Adams (1902 -1984), about two-thirds of a selection Adams made late in his life to serve as a succinct representation of his life’s work.  He felt these photographs were his best.  Called “The Museum Set”. These works reveal the importance Adams placed on the drama and splendor of natural environments that might not, to the ordinary passing hiker, have revealed their secrets. Included are many of Adams' most famous and best-loved photographs which encompass the full scope of his work: elegant details of nature, architectural studies, portraits, and the breathtaking landscapes for which he is revered. The exhibition also includes a photo portrait of Ansel Adams by James Alinder.

In August of 1978, Gallery owner Maggi Weston of Carmel California approached Ansel Adams with a concept for what was to become the Museum Set Edition of Fine Prints.  Adams had wanted a way to make his most important and favorite images available to a wide range of institutions and Maggi's proposal became the perfect solution.  Originally it was conceived as a master set of 2500 prints created from 70 images selected by Adams.  Though he was able to complete a substantial number of the prints, his death in 1984 curtailed the long range plans for the project.

Adams profoundly influenced the course of 20th century photography not only through the example of his sumptuous and technically precise images, but also by means of his personal energy and devotion to advancing the cause of photography as an art form. As an artist, educator, innovator, and writer, he helped establish many of the institutions that have come to represent the highest aspirations of the medium of photography.

In a career that spanned more than five decades Ansel Adams became one of America’s most beloved landscape photographers and one of its more respected environmentalists. There are few artists whose name and works represent the extraordinary level of popular recognition and artistic achievement as that of Ansel Adams. Writers, critics and fellow artists have presented many reasons for Adams’ popularity. Among them is his deeply held conviction that place matters and that the world around us is a marvel to behold and to respect and honor. There is a poignant and romantic feel to his photographs, as well as a celebration of the beauty of nature.

The collection was donated to The Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, CA, by Dr. Fidel Realyvasquez. Turtle Bay Exploration Park is located in Northern California on the Sacramento River. Its facilities include a museum with permanent, interactive exhibits and two large special exhibition galleries, the McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, and the world famous Sundial Bridge by world renowned Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava. The Turtle Bay Exploration Park educates visitors of all ages with entertaining and stimulating exhibitions and programs that interpret the complex relationships between people and their environments.

The traveling exhibition is organized by The Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, CA, in association with Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA.

Exhibition Installation Images - Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, CA Fall 2012

c. James Alinder


47 framed photographs by Ansel Adams
1 photo portrait of Ansel Adams by
James Alinder

- list of works -

Loan Fee:
price on request

Exhibitor responsible

Exhibitor responsible

Jeffrey Landau

Tel: 310-397-3098
Fax: 310-397-3018

E mail:



as of 08/12/22


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List of Works

47 framed photographs by Ansel Adams
1 photo portrait of Ansel Adams by
James Alinder’s

- Please Email to Receive an Illustrated Checklist -

All works by Ansel Adams (1902 - 1984), unless noted otherwise.

“ Alfred Stieglitz and Painting by Georgia O’Keeffe, An American Place, New York City,” 1944

“ Aspens, Dawn, Dolores River Canyon, Autumn, Colorado,” 1937

“ Aspens, Northern New Mexico,” 1958

“ Barn, Cape Cod, Massachusetts,” c. 1937

“ Buddhist Grave Markers and Rainbow, Maui, Hawaii,” c. 1956

“ Clearing Storm, Sonoma County Hills, California,” 1951

“ Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park, California,” 1944

“ Cypress and Fog, Pebble Beach, California,” 1967

“ Dawn, Autumn, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee,” 1948

“ Dune, White Sands National Monument, New Mexico,” c. 1942

“ Eagle Peak and Middle Brother, Winter, Yosemite National Park, California,” c. 1968

“ El Capitan Fall, Yosemite National Park, California,” c. 1940

“ Evening Clouds and Pool, East Side of The Sierra Nevada, from the Owens Valley, California,” c. 1962

“ Frozen Lake and Cliffs, The Sierra Nevada, Sequoia National Park, California,” 1932

“ Ghost Ranch Hills, Chama Valley, Northern New Mexico,” 1937

“ The Golden Gate Before the Bridge, San Francisco, California,” 1932

“ Grass and Pool, The Sierra Nevada, California,” c. 1935

“ Half Dome, Merced River, Winter, Yosemite National Park, California,” c. 1938

“ José Clemente Orozco, New York City,” 1933

“ Leaves, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington,” c. 1942

“ Lodgepole Pines, Lyell Fork of the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California,” 1921

“ Manly Beacon, Death Valley National Monument, California,” c. 1952

“ Merced River, Cliffs, Autumn, Yosemite Valley, California,” c. 1939

“ Metamorphic Rock and Summer Grass, Foothills, The Sierra Nevada, California,” 1945

“ Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California,” April 17, 1927
“ Monument Valley, Arizona,” 1958

“ Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico,” October 31, 1941

“ Mount Williamson, The Sierra Nevada, from Manzanar, California,” 1945

“ Oak Tree, Rain, Sonoma County, California,” c. 1960

“ Oak Tree, Snowstorm, Yosemite National Park, California,” 1948

“ Orchard, Portola Valley, California,” c. 1940

“ Penitente Morada, Coyote, New Mexico,” c. 1950

“ Redwoods, Bull Creek Flat, Northern California,” c. 1960

“ Rock and Grass, Moraine Lake, Sequoia National Park, California,” c. 1932

“ Rose and Driftwood, San Francisco, California,” c. 1932

“ Sand Bar, Rio Grande, Big Bend National Park, Texas,” 1947

“ Sand Dunes, Sunrise, Death Valley National Monument, California,” c. 1948

“ Siesta Lake, Yosemite National Park, California,” c. 1958

“ Spanish American Woman, near Chimayo, New Mexico,” 1937

“ Tenaya Creek, Dogwood, Rain, Yosemite National Park, California,” c. 1948

“ Tenaya Lake, Mount Conness, Yosemite National Park, California,” c. 1946

“ The Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming,” 1942

“ Trailer Camp Children, Richmond, California,” 1944

“ Trailside, near Juneau, Alaska,” 1947

“ Trees, Slide Lake, Grand Teton National Park,” c. 1965

“ Vernal Fall, Yosemite Valley, California,” c. 1948

“ White Mountain Range, Thunderclouds, from the Buttermilk Country, near Bishop, California,” 1959

“ Winter Sunrise, The Sierra Nevada, from Lone Pine, California” December, 1944


Robyn G. Peterson, Ph.D.
Director of Collections and Research/Curator of Art
Turtle Bay Exploration Park,
Redding, California

Strange as it may seem, Ansel Adams has something in common with Frederic Remington, Grandma Moses, and Norman Rockwell. Like the others, Adams is one of the few American artists to have become a household name. He is the only photographer to have achieved such an extraordinary level of popular recognition, perhaps in the world. Noted photography scholar John Szarkowski refers to “the affection and trust” that Adams enjoyed to an unusual degree from his public.1 I would like to reflect upon this achievement and upon why the work of a particular creative mind becomes beloved by millions, for Adams’s work evokes a very different kind of allegiance from that inspired by the works of Remington or Rockwell. Adams’s finest photographs are like stories with happy endings, court cases where justice is served, days when everything “clicks.” Like folktales and myth, which satisfy even when told over and over, his photographs are exactly the way many people want life to be. They are a fit. They are wish fulfillment. Why?

There are dozens of reasons for the popularity of Adams’s photographs, but chief among them is that his work bolsters the human being’s deeply held conviction—whether consciously recognized or not—that place matters. Adams’s career spanned a period of unprecedented mobility on
the part of the American people. Since that circumstance has increased rather than decreased since his death, his work, which is so deeply rooted in the celebration of place, strikes a primeval chord. He ventured widely in his travels, yet homes back in on his native California with an unwavering sureness. Further, as if benefiting from “home team advantage,” Adams consistently produced better work where his heart was, rather than abroad. ”Orchard, Portola Valley, California,” reveals that even the manmade landscape of California could inspire him to create exceptional images.

There is a poignancy, too, that compels viewers to clasp these images close to the heart. We know that Adams took many of these photos so that he could strip the veil from the eyes of the urban American and say, “Look at this!”  “Mount Williamson, The Sierra Nevada, from Manzanar, California” is one among hundreds of these gripping images. He knew that since the time of Carleton E. Watkins in the 1860s and William Henry Jackson in the 1870s, photographs had been a catalyst in this country for the preservation of remarkable tracts of land. The sadness in our backward glance stems from our knowledge of how far we’ve fallen from his mark. Ours is an era both romantic and selfish, longing to be generous and noble, but addicted to material comforts that too often preclude more far-sighted decisions.

Like a translator, Adams interprets the voice of nature that for too many of us is no longer understood. It is not a puny, self-questioning voice, but a heart-swelling, noble voice that converts opinions about nature into truths. We see his passion, yet we also see what he is passionate about and partake of it. He takes something we know we should love and shows us its value in such a way as to erase all further doubt. When we see an image like “Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California” we know it’s worth every bruise and insult endured to preserve a place that looks like that, and we know Adams has done something fine—for us, personally. It is not an exaggeration to state that he pulls back a curtain to allow us a view of the divine.

There is undeniable pride in association with accomplishment, with genius. As Californians, we are proud that Adams is “ours.” When we look at his works, we are proud of that spark of recognition, and we blurt out, “I know that piece!” (or, “I know that place!”) as if it were an old friend approaching us at a high school reunion. How do we come to feel that we have a right to claim a kind of ownership of another person’s work or insider knowledge of what motivated another? Adams, like all artists, has experienced times of greater or lesser popularity with critics, but his standing fluctuates within the confines of the highest ranks. His significant position within the history of photography is assured. Both specialists and the general public consistently hold his work in high regard. This is a circumstance enjoyed by comparatively few artists. To find oneself in accord with professional critics confers on those who have not made a close study of art the feeling of possessing artistic judgment. This is by no means cynically meant. In a country where few receive meaningful education in the visual arts, those who wish to understand that facet of their own culture face a personal struggle to self-educate, a struggle undertaken by many without benefit of a mentor or teacher who can validate their opinions. Having one’s view jibe with the opinion of a critic can be that validation. On the other side of the equation, it is deeply important for an artist to connect with the tenor of his own time, and while the greatness of many artists lies in their prescience, it devolves upon a select few to work on that knife’s edge between an idea’s coming of age and its devalued and superficial over-popularization. Adams was such an artist. In his early allegiance to straight, or uncontrived, photography, he bridged the gap between an idea before its time and an idea past its prime.

Adams’s popularity also lies in the fact that he starts with the familiar. Aspens, mountain streams, rocky shorelines . . .we already know and love these subjects. Upon this foundation, however, he introduces a luminous, scintillating, fragmented clarity like the refracted light from a faceted gem. In his photographs the patterns in nature strike us like the pure ringing sound of a staccato beat on a single instrument. “Frozen Lake and Cliffs, The Sierra Nevada, Sequoia National Park, California,” for instance, is so abstract in its emphasis on pattern that many viewers must look hard at it to discern the subject. Adams’s work differs from the storied, velvety, arcane, and brutal photographic images of his contemporaries Weston, Strand, Cunningham, or Lange. There is a sensuousness tempered by intellect in Adams’s work; it further cements the connection between the thing depicted and what the viewer already knows. Through his meticulous selection from among all the variables of exposure, filter, position, and myriad other factors, Adams created a rationalized naturalness, free of the discomfort of chaos. Life is the essence of Adams’s work—a majestic and perfect life—and it is this quality of life that distinguishes it from the work of photographers whose technical acumen rivaled his. The viewer senses a breathing entity in an Adams tree or cliff face, not a relic. He does not merely document a scene that the viewer is expected to see as static and part of the past. Rather, by evoking the beauty of living stillness—which we all know already from personal experience—he taps into the essential connection between human beings and the natural world. In short, we feel akin to his subjects.

But surely the factor that is central to the singular fondness that continues to be accorded to Adams and his work is what we know about him as a person. Nothing we learn about Adams’s convictions and actions during his lifetime tarnishes or compromises our appreciation of his art. On the contrary, the way in which his roles as committed preservationist, teacher, and artist meld and become one convinces us of the genuineness of his passion and his aesthetic vision. He convinces us that life and art can be one, and affirms our increasingly desperate need to know that such imponderables as nobility, integrity, and compassion do exist. Adams was an egalitarian artist whose primary concern was to be inclusive and accessible, rather than elitist. Adams used the following words of another man, but he could just as well have applied them to himself: “To him nature was a fundamental spiritual reality. He was not a place-gatherer, or a mountain-winner, or did he in any way approach the world as prey for egotistical conquest.”2

It flowed naturally from his egalitarianism and his desire to communicate that he became a teacher. He was a technician certainly and reveled in the science of photography, but he managed to communicate these technical complexities to hundreds of students through the sheer force of his passion.

Adams believed that the splendors of the Western—and specifically Californian—landscapes were pivotal to defining the country as a whole, just as he believed that photography was a defining art form for the twentieth century. For Adams, photography was a means as well as an end. The act of searching out a view, recognizing a subject’s potential, and crafting a fine object—the photographic print—were all part of a discipline destined to lead to a kind of enlightenment and self-knowledge as surely as any religious devotion. In many respects, he was a photographer’s photographer; yet, he also opened doors for the novice. His work as a teacher and author of many publications on photography cannot be discounted in any assessment of his impact on photography. He was a proselytizer for photography as well as for the preservation of his photographic subjects. Szarkowski describes Edward Weston’s photographic portrait of Adams as “an electric charge in the form of a man.”3 A more apt description both of the photograph and the person would scarcely be possible. It is with just such a tingling double-take, as if connecting with a current of raw creative energy, that we apprehend some of Adams’s individual masterpieces —“Aspens, Northern New Mexico,” for instance. Elfin in appearance, inexhaustible in his approach to life, prone to redraw the boundaries in all matters, Adams gave to all of us an exhilarating view of our own surroundings. His work continues to help us find the will to preserve the best.

A brief sketch of a life

Ansel Adams was an only child, born in San Francisco in 1902. Early memories included surviving the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, roaming the seaside near his family’s beautifully situated home, recurrent illnesses, and a decided aversion to school. In early adulthood, Adams was faced with the difficult choice of developing his great talent as a pianist or plunging into the relatively untried world of working as an artist in photography. To the world’s great benefit, he chose photography. From that day forward, Adams worked tirelessly in all areas of the photographic arts. With Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, and a handful of other photographers, Adams founded in the early 1930s Group f/64, which was dedicated to straight photography as an art form. Photography at the time was dominated by the “pictorialists,” who created staged, artificial (and now largely forgotten) photographs that imitated the conventions of painting. Adams was instrumental in the struggle to gain
for photography recognition as art on its own merits.

Adams is an artist identified with specific places, and Yosemite is chief among them. His involvement with Yosemite began in youth and pre-dated any of his serious work as a photographer. His was not a tourist’s acquaintance with the place; Adams spent many, many seasons living and working in Yosemite, and his early experiences as a Sierra Club employee allowed him to become deeply familiar with the area.

Adams was involved in every aspect of the world of photography, from seeing his best work featured in the world’s finest art museums to taking on rote commercial photography jobs. An early proponent of the Polaroid system, Adams was also frequently involved in the testing of new equipment. His views about photography continually evolved, and his aesthetic preferences also changed with time. Adams had always insisted on printing his photographs himself—a preference that resulted in an enormous burden of work for him—and it is possible to date some of his prints by the different ways in which they are printed, reflecting his changing attitudes toward the aesthetic qualities
of the print.

By the time Adams began to enjoy the fame that eventually came to him in the 1950s and 1960s, he had already done his best work. He remained heavily involved in teaching photography, and he devoted time, energy, and his flair for the written word to environmental preservation. By the time of his death in 1984, he had been showered with honors and awards to a degree enjoyed by few American artists.

The collection donated to Turtle Bay Exploration Park by Dr. Fidel Realyvasquez represents about two-thirds of a selection Adams made late in his life to serve as a succinct representation of his life’s work. He himself felt these photographs were his best. Called “The Museum Set,” the full selection of 75 images reveals the importance Adams placed on the drama and splendor of natural environments that might not, to the ordinary passing hiker, have revealed their secrets. The portraits in this group remind us that Adams did not live in a world devoid of humanity . . . quite the opposite . . . but the breathtaking splendor of his unpeopled views of the land reveals that his spirit resonated most deeply before pristine landscapes and natural vignettes like ”Grass and Pool, The Sierra Nevada, California.” Yet, his work, which informs the intellect and feeds the spirit, is without meaning except in the context of the increasing tension of modern humanity’s relationship with the environment. Adams didn’t photograph landscapes so much as he photographed the environment, literally the circumstances or conditions surrounding us. His images make no sense as abstractions separate from human life. Adams’s work truly built bridges between disciplines in a way that makes a gift of his work to Turtle Bay Exploration Park particularly appropriate. As our young institution grows, we too strive to drop the artificial barriers between such worlds as art and nature, and tell the stories of the northern California region in the same seamless way in which life
is actually lived.

1 Alinder, James. 1985. Ansel Adams: Classic Images. Boston, MA:
Little, Brown and Company. P.5.

2 Preface, What Majestic Word; In Memory of Russell Varian, Portfolio Four, 1963.

3 Szarkowski, John. 2001. Ansel Adams at 100. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company in association with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. P. 34

Robyn G. Peterson, Ph.D.
Director of Collections and Research/Curator of Art
Turtle Bay Exploration Park,
Redding, California

Photographs by Ansel Adams.
Used by permission of the Trustees
of the Ansel Adams Publishing
Rights Trust. All Rights Reserved.

Further reading

Adams, Ansel, with Mary Street Alinder. 1985. Ansel Adams; An Autobiography. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company.

Alinder, James, and John Szarkowski. 1985. Ansel Adams; Classic Images. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company.

Alinder, Mary Street, and Andrea Gray Stillman, editors. 1988. Ansel Adams: Letters and Images. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company.

De Cock, Liliane, editor. 1972. Ansel Adams. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company.

Jennings, Kate F. 1997. Ansel Adams. Wilton, CT:
Belden Hill Press.

Newhall, Nancy. 1963. Ansel Adams: An Eloquent Light. San Francisco, CA: The Sierra Club.

Szarkowski, John. 1977. The Portfolios of Ansel Adams. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company.

Szarkowski, John. 2001. Ansel Adams at 100. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company in association with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.