Information about Vernal Fall

Location: Yosemite National Park
GPS Coordinates:
37.727, -119.543
Original Photograph Negative
: ca 1948
Artist: Ansel Adams


About the Image

Ansel Adams made this image around 1948 with a 4″ x 5″ view camera. The hike up the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall is short, accessible, and heavily trafficked. John Muir, in his book “The Yosemite,” described the fall: “The Vernal, about a mile below the Nevada, is 400 feet high, a staid, orderly, graceful, easy-going fall, proper and exact in every movement and gesture …it is a favorite with most visitors, doubtless because it is more accessible than any other, more closely approached and better seen and heard. A good stairway ascends the cliff beside it and the level plateau at the head enables one to saunter safely along the edge of the river as it comes from Emerald Pool and to watch its waters, calmly bending over the brow of the precipice, in a sheet eighty feet wide, changing in color from green to purplish gray and white until dashed on a boulder talus.” The Mist Trail is notoriously wet — standing in the rain can be drier. Adams would have faced challenges keeping his equipment dry while capturing this familiar icon of Yosemite . “Vernal Fall” appeared “Portfolio IV, What Majestic Word,” published by the Sierra Club in 1963 and Classic Images, the book based on the Museum Set Collection, a retrospective portfolio of what Adams considered his strongest work. It has also been published in Yosemite and the Range of Light (out of print), Yosemite , and the Portfolios of Ansel Adams.