Distant View of the Domes, Yosemite Valley, California, c. 1866

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Gift of Walter R. McCarthyexpand_more  91.125

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Carleton Watkins spent considerable time in Yosemite Valley in the late 1800s, photographing its natural wonders. He worked both from the floor of the valley and from its peaks, producing breathtaking, large-scale images such as this one. Based in San Francisco, he focused largely on landscapes, and his artistry far exceeded the capabilities of most landscape photographers. In this image, he expertly created strong contrast between the silky-smooth water in the foreground and the heavily textured shore of pebbles directly beyond it. The reflections of the trees in the water add depth to the picture and introduce a hint of symmetry. Watkins effectively used atmospheric perspective to delineate a soft background of massive mountains, including Half Dome on the right. His immense wooden camera helped him produce a finished print graced with meticulous detail and a wide range of rich tones.

Details
Title
Distant View of the Domes, Yosemite Valley, California
Artist Life
1829-1916
Role
Photographer
Accession Number
91.125
Curator Approved

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