Light is magical. Photographs record light. A camera is directed towards a subject or scene. The shutter opens for a fraction of a second, or sometimes minutes long, and an image is recorded. On film or a sensor. This passage of light provides a simple recording of information. After the light is captured, how does an image become a work of art? Ansel Adams says this:

A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.”

To create a work of art out of a simple recording of light requires the photographer’s heart and mind. The artist places a frame around that which moves her or him. Lines, shapes, and contrast between shadow and light form the graphic design. The lighting and weather at the moment of exposure determine the mood, whether subtle or dramatic. The making of a strong photograph is a highly selective process.

However, the magic element is the emotion within the photographer. Photographs have the wonderful ability to reconnect us with emotions beyond the physical content of a scene or the feelings it evokes. An important aspect of being an artist is the ability and willingness to express and share emotions.

Cloud reflections and Mt Moran at the Oxbow Bend on the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming 1990

Although working in the field is often a quiet, meditative, solo activity for me, I am invariably entranced and thrilled with what I have discovered. From capture through final processing, I interpret and refine many aspects of each photograph, including contrast, color, and brightness, while enhancing the subtleties of shadow and highlight until the image rings true to my emotional experience and intent.

Beyond light passing through the shutter for each image, a more significant passage occurs for artists over time, including for this artist. I began this journey in 1974 with my first camera. “Passages of Light” alludes to the long and winding road I’ve traveled: evolving, exploring, experimenting, succeeding and failing, creative bursts and lulls. By following my instincts, persisting through the ups and downs of a long career, and by engaging with nature intensely for these four decades.

Passages of time. Passages in a life. The photographs shown here represent my journey, each a sublime experience expressing awe and love for the beauty of nature.

Join us in Yosemite at The Ansel Adams Gallery to view Passages of Light: Photographs by William Neill, starting on June 5th and running through July 23rd, 2022.

More About the Artist: William Neill

For more information on Passage of Light: Photographs by William Neill or other exhibitions at The Ansel Adams Gallery please contact Evan at

Artwork in Passages of Light

Last Updated on June 15, 2022