Information about Bridalveil Fall

Location: Yosemite National Park
GPS Coordinates:
37.716, -119.646
Original Photograph Negative
: 1927
Artist: Ansel Adams


Part of the 1938 book, Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail by Ansel Adams.

About the Image

Ansel Adams made this image with a 6 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ Korona view camera and a glass plate negative around 1927. The image captures Yosemite’s majestic Bridalveil Fall, including the curling mist that inspired its Native American name pohono, meaning “puff of wind.” The fall looms large in family lore: in 1901, Harry and Anne Best, the parents of Ansel’s wife Virginia, were married at its base. “Bridalveil Fall” is emblematic of the images Adams made during the late 1920s, a critical development period in his career.

During this time, he asserted control of the photographic process by accentuating and minimizing different aspects of his images, a process he called visualization. Adams discussed visualization in “Modern Photography 1934-35: The Studio Annual of Camera Art,” writing that before exposing the negative, “The photographer visualizes his conception of the subject as present in the final print.”

His friend Francis Farquhar described Adams ‘ brilliance at visualization in a 1931 article for Touring Topics: “It is the artist’s genius which enables him to perceive at once the arrangement of masses, the flow of lines, and the texture of surfaces in the object of vision, whether it be a mountain, a landscape, a building, a cloud, a tree, a human form or face, or anything whatsoever.” Adams emerged from the 1920s with a new vision of his role as an artist and abandoned his ambition to become a concert pianist.

“Bridalveil Fall” appeared in Sierra Nevada: the John Muir Trail, Yosemite and the Range of Light, (out of print), Yosemite and the High Sierra, Yosemite, and “Classic Images,” the book based on the Museum Set, a retrospective portfolio of what Adams considered his most vital work.