Ansel Adams - Tenaya Creek, Dogwood, Rain
Yosemite National Park, 1948

A photograph from a spring day when dogwood blossoms are emerging in the woods.


Ansel Adams - Tenaya Creek, Dogwood, RainTenaya Creek, Dogwood, Rain
Ansel Adams

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The making of the picture

Adams was out searching for such dogwood displays one spring day in Yosemite and spotted possible opportunities near Tenaya Creek. After parking the car and investigating further he found a suitable situation some six hundred feet from the road, he returned to the car to retrieve his 8 x 10 in view camera and set about capturing this image.

Just about to give up for the day in the light rain that was starting to fall, instead the focusing cloth was used to keep the rain off the camera. The gently falling rain gives an special diffusion of the light and of the mid-range values adding detail and richness. An exposure of 1/2 a second was achieved in the still conditions and gives a slight blurriness to the flowing water of the stream.

The dogwood flowers are the white areas amongst the foliage to the left and mid-right of the picture. In actual fact the "flowers" are bracts of coloured leaves surrounding the real flowers which are small and insignificant by comparison.

Adams was never really able to express in words the feelings and emotions that he wished to convey in a picture. Pictures such as this one were very strongly imagined before they were taken or discovered - "As with many photographs, this picture opportunity seemed to be waiting for me; the visualization was immediate and complete". Adams felt that trying to describe the photographers emotional and aesthetic intentions would confuse the viewer and limit their response to the picture produced.

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Bibliography - Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs by Ansel E. Adams