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Yosemite's Structure and Textures: Photographs by Eadweard Muybridge, Carleton Watkins, Ansel Adams, and Others
July 25 - October 28, 2007
The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University announces the exhibition "Yosemite's Structure and Textures: Photographs by Eadweard Muybridge, Carleton Watkins, Ansel Adams, and Others," on view from July 25 through October 28, 2007. Fifty photographs plus maps, guidebooks, and stereo prints present the geological wonders of Yosemite Valley and its surrounding High Sierra peaks.
The views range from Watkins's mammoth-plate prints with their stunning detail to Adams's equally detailed, but also atmospheric, images in which Yosemite's granite faces are masked by storm clouds or revealed by moonlight. The rapidly flowing Merced River, the plunging waterfalls and mists of Bridal Veil and Yosemite Falls, and the seemingly unchanging granite face of El Capitan are among the memorable images in this exhibition.
The inaccessible valley was home to six Indian tribes, including the Ahwahneechee and the Yosemetes. In the early 1850s the Indians were relocated and miners and prospectors began to arrive. As word spread of the Valley's wonders, photographers soon arrived; during the 1860s and 1870s, Watkins, Muybridge, and the lesser-known George Fiske, each burdened with cumbersome equipment, explored the terrain.
Watkins's photographs, made on 15 x 20 inch mammoth glass plates, were sent to Washington, where their extraordinary beauty helped convince President Abraham Lincoln and Congress to undertake efforts to protect the unique landscape. In 1890, Yosemite Valley was formally declared a National Park, two years before the Sierra Club was formed. Muir's 1912 book, The Yosemite, introduced the Valley's extraordinary character to a wide audience.
The 19th-century photographs by Watkins, Muybridge, and Fiske, whose works are also presented in the exhibition, and the 20th-century images by Adams remain unrivalled as testimony to Yosemite's geological character. These photographers, who knew the Valley well, recorded it through many seasons and in all kinds of weather.
The exhibition includes early maps and guidebooks, plus many stereo views, which add another dimension to the iconic images of Yosemite's grandeur. The small stereo views offer variants of the larger scenes and also portray visitors exploring the great Sequoias.
The exhibition has been organized by Betsy G. Fryberger, Burton and Deedee McMurtry Curator of Prints and Drawings, with the assistance of Judy Dennis and Nancy Ferguson, and with Lauren Silver, associate curator for education. In addition, Luise Richter, from The Bill Lane Center for the Study of the North American West, contributed research.
Related programming includes documentary films, August 8, 15, 22, and October 18 at 7 pm, for details visit museum.stanford.edu. Stanford Continuing Studies offers a related course, beginning June 27.
Free admission, presented in Annenberg Auditorium, Cummings Art Building
Gallery labels for the exhibition
In the 1850s Yosemite was virtually inaccessible and known to only a few. In 1851, the Governor of California had authorized the Mariposa Battalion of volunteers to drive the Native American tribes out of the region around Yosemite. Within a few months, peace treaties were concluded with the Indians who had resettled elsewhere. By 1864, the United States Congress authorized the State of California to set the area aside for "public use, resort and recreation."
The fact that Yosemite rapidly became so widely recognized was due to the work of a few photographers, as well as such painters as Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Hill, and William Keith. This exhibition focuses on the geological features of Yosemite, comparing the 19th-century photographs of Carleton Watkins, Eadweard Muybridge, and George Fiske with those of a century later by Ansel Adams.
In 1861 and 1865-66, Carleton Watkins pioneered a photographic format, appropriate to Yosemite's scale, creating more than 130 mammoth glass plate negatives (18 x 22 inches). His carefully composed images with their stunning clarity of detail expose Yosemite's geological formations as seemingly timeless and unchangeable. In 1867, Eadweard Muybridge arrived; his images reveal a more daring personality who sometimes found vantage points in treacherous locations. Both Watkins and Muybridge also used a stereo camera to make numerous small views, which were enormously popular, undoubtedly helping persuade some to experience Yosemite's wonders firsthand. George Fiske found his life work in Yosemite, settling there in 1880 and remaining for almost four decades. In addition to photographing its famous landmarks, Fiske included ordinary people-something his predecessors had rarely done.
With improved access to Yosemite Valley for wagons and stagecoaches and the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, it rapidly became a tourist destination. In 1890 it was designated a National Park and by 1900 some 1500 photographers had recorded its landmark domes and waterfalls.
Ansel Adams first visited Yosemite in 1916. During the late 1920s, he made prints from Fiske's negatives, preferring the changing sunlight and flowing water of his images to the static ones by Watkins and Muybridge, whose earlier equipment could not capture such transitory effects. Many today see Yosemite as defined by Adams's classic images.
The exhibition guides the viewer into the Valley, along the Merced River, stopping at Bridalveil, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, and other sites, and then up into the High Sierra. The photographs by Watkins, Muybridge, and Fiske, and those by Adams of a century later illuminate Yosemite's structure and textures in memorable ways.
The works in the exhibition have been drawn from the collections of the Cantor Arts Center and of Stanford University Libraries. Thanks go to Curatorial Assistants Judy Dennis and Nancy Ferguson, Associate Curator for Education Lauren Silver, and Luise Richter, a Yosemite Intern from The Bill Lane Center for the Study of the North American West at Stanford. Additional material was prepared by students in John Tinker's undergraduate class "Objects of Argument: Arrangement and Design of Museum Displays."
The exhibition is made possible by the Halperin Exhibitions Fund, Ambassador and Mrs. "Bill" Lane, and Bill and Carolyn Reller, with additional support from L. Jay and Marjorie Rossi. Supplementary programs are supported by the Mark and Betsy Gates Fund.
A CENTURY AT YOSEMITE (1851-1960)
1851The volunteer Mariposa Battalion entered Yosemite Valley driving out the Native American tribes
1855 J. M. Hutchings brought the first visitors to Yosemite
1855-56 First southern trail entered from near Wawona, through the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias
1856 The Coulterville Trail established a western access along Bull Creek and Tamarack Flat
1857 Galen Clark explored Mariposa Grove
1859 Charles Weed took first photographs of Yosemite
1861 Carleton Watkins entered through the Mariposa Grove
1862-63 William Brewer and Josiah Whitney began their work for the Geological Survey of California; Watkins's photographs exhibited in New York and seen by Albert Bierstadt who traveled to Yosemite that year as did fellow artists Thomas Hill and William Keith
1864 Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and Yosemite Valley entrusted to the State of California by U. S. Congress to be reserved for "public use, resort and recreation"
1865-66 Watkins returned with more extensive equipment; worked with Geological Survey of California
1866-79 Galen Clark appointed Yosemite's first guardian; his Wawona ranch became an important point of entry on the Mariposa Trail
1867 Bierstadt returned to paint; Eadweard Muybridge arrived to photograph; Yosemite's fame reached Europe; Lawrence & Houseworth of San Francisco awarded the highest photographic medal at the Paris Exposition for Yosemite views (actually taken by Weed)
1868 Scottish-born John Muir walked from San Francisco across the Central Valley to Yosemite; J.D. Whitney's The Yosemite Book, published with 24 of Watkins's photographs
1870s Completion of the Transcontinental Railroad improved access toYosemite; East Coast visitors included artist Thomas Moran and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson
1872 Third trail opened, leading to Glacier Point; Harvard botanist Asa Gray visited; geologist Clarence King guided Bierstadt; Muir guided artist William Keith; Watkins and Muybridge photographed independently
1874-75 Improved and widened roads allowed wagons into the Valley
1879-80 George Fiske first photographer to winter in the Valley
1883 Artist Thomas Hill built studio near Wawona
1892 Sierra Club organized
1899 Camp Curry area for tent cabins established by Mr. and Mrs. David Curry (now Curry Village)
1890 Congress declared Yosemite a National Park (but the Valley remained a state park until 1906)
1900 More than 150 photographers had visited since Weed's arrival
1902 H. C. Best established art studio in the Valley (his daughter Virginia later married Ansel Adams)
1903 President Theodore Roosevelt met Muir in Yosemite
1905 Boundaries of Yosemite National Park changed; survey by geologist François Matthes undertaken
1907 Yosemite Valley Railroad opened (discontinued in 1945)
1912 Muir's The Yosemite published
1913 Automobiles admitted; Hetch Hetchy Valley authorized for use as a reservoir
1915 Tioga Road purchased from successors of the mining company; 30,000 visitors (more than double the previous year)
1917 National Park Service organized as bureau of the Department of the Interior; Wawona and Glacier Point Roads acquired by U.S. government, tolls abolished
1922 Visitors exceeded 100,000
1925 Yosemite Park & Curry Co. formed with Donald Tresidder as President
1926 All-year highway from Merced opened
1927 Ahwahnee Hotel opened
1930 Boundaries extended to include over 7,700 acres; Matthes's Geologic History of the Yosemite Valley published
1932 Wawona area added to the Park (14 square miles)
1933 Wawona tunnel opened; almost 10,000 campers by early July
1936 New Glacier Point Road completed
1940 New Big Oak Flat Road and tunnels opened
1949 Largest fire in history of Yosemite
1950 Flooding caused great damage in the Valley
1952 Lodgepole needleminer (moth) epidemic damaged 47,000 acres in Tuolumne Meadows
1953 Worst fire season in the Park's records, 79 forest fires
1956 New Yosemite Lodge completed
1959-60 Tioga Road widened and rerouted, causing damage to meadowlands and glacial polished granite along Lake Tenaya
1829 Born in Oneonta, New York
1851 Arrived in California, with Collis P. Huntington; worked in Sacramento
1853 Moved to San Francisco
1859-60 Commissioned by John Charles Frémont to photograph his property, south of Yosemite, Las Mariposas, for purposes of mining documentation
1861 Entered Yosemite from the south, through the Mariposa Grove
1862 Met William Brewer and Josiah Whitney of the California State Geological Survey; Watkins's Yosemite views shown to acclaim at Goupil's New York Gallery
1864 His Yosemite photographs shown to President Abraham Lincoln; Congress authorized State of California to reserve Mariposa Grove and Yosemite for public use
1865-66 Returned to Yosemite with Geological Survey of California
1875 Financial troubles led to bankruptcy; lost all negatives and prints to Isaiah W. Taber who published Watkins's photographs as his own
1880-90 Traveled widely on the Southern Pacific Railroad; rephotographed Yosemite, Mts. Shasta and Lassen, resorts such as the Hotel del Monte, Monterey, and mining properties as far away as Montana
1891 Eyesight and health failing
1906 Earthquake and fire of April 18 destroyed his San Francisco studio; in discussion with the Leland Stanford Jr. Museum to acquire its contents
1909 Declared mentally incompetent
1916 Died in Napa State Hospital
WATKINS AND YOSEMITE
Carleton Watkins pioneered the use of mammoth-size glass plates (18 x 22 inch) in his views of Yosemite that proved to be instrumental in introducing its splendors to the outside world.
The photographic equipment that Watkins carried to Yosemite's high waterfalls and sheer cliffs was cumbersome and heavy. In 1861, he brought some 30 mammoth plates; in 1865-66, 100 sheets. On these trips he also carried two cameras (one for the larger views, another for stereo subjects), as well as the chemicals necessary to fix images on location. Watkins mastered the logistics of marshalling his supply of heavy equipment hauled in wagons by donkeys to precipitous heights.
Returning to Yosemite in later decades, Watkins rephotographed some of the earlier sites, under easier conditions. His early photographs, however, remain his most memorable accomplishment and continue to astonish viewers with their classic composition and stunning clarity.
MILTON S. LATHAM, PATRON OF CARLETON WATKINS
Although Watkins's most famous photographs are of geological wonders such as Yosemite, he earned commissions photographing less spectacular sites for the Southern Pacific Railroad, as well as for mining properties and private estates.
In 1871-72, the lawyer and banker Milton S. Latham commissioned Watkins to photograph Thurlow Lodge in Menlo Park, his magnificent new estate. Latham also acquired three series of Watkins's mammoth-plate photographs in 1874 (just before the Depression of 1875 when both patron and photographer went through bankruptcy). The three magnificent series, each of about 50 views, included Yosemite, the Columbia River Gorge, and Pacific Coast Views. From Latham, these series passed eventually to Timothy Hopkins, who donated them to Stanford University Libraries.
Each albumen print in the Yosemite series is mounted on a heavy sheet that is elegantly inscribed with a caption giving the site and often the elevation, executed in the style of the San Francisco calligrapher Fulgencio Seregni.
1830 Born in Kingston-on-Thames, England, as Edward James Muggeridge
1856 Established a bookstore in San Francisco; changed his name to Eadweard Muygridge
1860 Suffered brain damage from a stage coach accident
1867 Returned to San Francisco as Eadweard Muybridge; first visit to Yosemite where he photographed 72 (6 x 8 inch) views and 114 stereo views
1871 Married Flora Stone
1872 Second visit to Yosemite; photographed 51 mammoth plates and hundreds of stereo views; photographed Leland Stanford's horse, Occident, proving that a trotting horse lifts all four hooves off the ground
1873 International Gold Medal for Landscape Photography, Vienna
1875 Tried and acquitted for murdering his wife's lover; photographed ruins and coffee plantations in Central America
1878 Began to photograph animals in motion at the Stanford family Palo Alto farm
1879 Invented the Zoopraxiscope, a precursor of motion picture projectors
1883 Photographed motion studies at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; invented a clockwork mechanism to control his camera and enable photographs to represent speed as well as movement
1887 Publication of Animal Locomotion, 781 studies of animals and people in motion
1893 Lectured and projected moving pictures at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago
1904 Died in Kingston-on-Thames, England
MUYBRIDGE AND YOSEMITE
Muybridge was an extremely innovative and intrepid photographer whose images of Yosemite reflect both his aesthetic and technical creativity. Due to the lengthy exposure time required to produce a negative, clouds rarely appeared in mid-19th century photographs. Muybridge made a series of cloud negatives and added them to the print process. By 1869 he had invented the "sky shade," an adjustable curtain briefly removed from the upper part of the lens so that clouds would appear on the negative.
In 1872 the San Francisco newspaper Alta California described Muybridge's unique approach to photographing Yosemite:
From 1867 through 1872 Muybridge signed his negatives with the name of the Greek sun god, "Helios," reflecting an early description of photography as "sun drawing." His mobile darkroom, labeled "Helios's Flying Studio," transported his heavy equipment.
After photographing many regions in the West, including San Francisco and Alaska, Muybridge pursued his passion for motion in photography that eventually led to moving pictures.
Helen Hunt Jackson, best known for her novel Ramona, praised Muybridge in a travel article:
1902 Born in San Francisco
1916 First trip to Yosemite with parents; received first camera
1920 Began 50-plus years' association with the Sierra Club; was summer caretaker of its Yosemite headquarters
1927 Met Albert Bender, art patron; Adams issued his first portfolio, Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras
1928 Married Virginia Best (later had two children, Michael and Anne)
1927-31 Employed making postcards and prints from George Fiske's negatives
1932 First show at De Young Museum, San Francisco; founded "Group f/64" dedicated to straight photography, with Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, and others
1936 One-man show at Alfred Stieglitz's New York gallery, An American Place
1937 Moved to Yosemite Valley; Virginia inherited Best's Studio concession
1938 Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail published; effective in campaign to establish Kings Canyon National Park
1940 Co-founded photography department at Museum of Modern Art, New York
1941 Appointed photomuralist to U.S. Department of Interior
1946 Received his first Guggenheim Fellowship to photograph national parks
1946 Founded photography department at California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco
1950 Portfolio Two: The National Parks & Monuments published
1955 Began holding workshops in Yosemite
1960 Portfolio Three: Yosemite Valley published
1962 Moved to Carmel
1963 Portfolio Four: What Majestic Word, In memory of Russell Varian published
1980 Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom
1984 Died in Carmel
ADAMS AND YOSEMITE
Ansel Adams created some of the most influential photographs ever made of the American landscape. His lyrical images of Yosemite have attracted thousands to visit the park. His work has been credited with helping to launch the modern environmental movement, and has contributed to public acceptance of photography as a fine art.
Adams was raised in San Francisco. As a boy, he was restless and hyperactive, but found peace in the outdoors. Initially self-taught, he began formal study of the piano in 1915. Through music, he became disciplined, learning to express his emotions by producing beautiful and precise sounds.
In 1916, Adams first visited Yosemite. He was profoundly affected and returned every year thereafter. In 1920, Adams began his long association with the Sierra Club, initially working as summer caretaker of its Yosemite headquarters. Later, he joined group outings, wrote and took photographs for the Club's publications, and served on its Board of Directors.
Around 1930, Adams decided to pursue photography as a career. The next two decades were his most productive and creative. By bringing out subtle nuances of tone in his photographs, he captured the evanescent quality of the landscape. He once compared the tones from blackest black to whitest white to the piano's eighty-eight keys, asserting that a photographer must be able to play every key.
UPPER YOSEMITE FALL
LOWER YOSEMITE FALL
MIRROR LAKE AND MT. WATKINS
BRIDAL VEIL FALL
WILD CAT FALL
THE HIGH SIERRA
1835 Born in Amherst, New Hampshire
1858 Moved to Sacramento
1864 Active as a photographer in San Francisco
1868 Worked for Carleton Watkins's gallery, printing from Watkins's Yosemite negatives
1869-74 Took stereo views for San Francisco firm of Thomas Houseworth
1872 Photographed in Yosemite
1873 Married Elmira F. Morrill
1874 Returned to work for Watkins
1875 Accompanied Watkins on trip to Yosemite
1879-81 First to remain all year in the Valley
1882 Took up permanent residence in Yosemite; built house and studio
1883 on silver medal at San Francisco Mechanics' Institute exhibition
1884-85 Won award at the winter New Orleans World's Fair
1896 His wife Myra died
1897 Married Caroline Paull
1901-03 Sold works at the Sierra Club Cottage in Yosemite
1904 Yosemite house and studio destroyed by fire
1917 His second wife Caroline died
1918 Committed suicide
GEORGE FISKE AND YOSEMITE
Fiske is a minor luminary in the history of Yosemite photography. Early in his career he made prints from Watkins's negatives, and in admiration, even named a son after him. Fiske did not merely visit Yosemite, he became a resident and formed a friendship with Galen Clark, Yosemite's first guardian.
During the 1880s, as photographic processes became less cumbersome with a shorter exposure time and paper negatives, Fiske was able to capture fleeting effects in the sky and water. Calling his handcart of photographic equipment a "Cloud Chasing Chariot," he made the first winter and storm views of Yosemite. In later years, with greater competition from ever more photographers, Fiske increasingly relied on novelty views for tourists, such as dancing girls on overhanging rocks. Where Watkins and Muybridge rarely showed any human activity, Fiske left a rich record of Yosemite's simple buildings and its inhabitants. Although he had printed many of Watkins's mammoth-plate views, Fiske preferred smaller images; his speciality was "boudoir size" (4 x 7 inches). He never marketed mammoth-plate or stereo views under his name.
In 1918 after Fiske died, the surviving negatives were sold to Mrs. David A. Curry, who with her husband had founded Camp Curry, and continued to run concessions in the Valley. From 1927 to 1931, the young Ansel Adams made prints from these negatives. A fire in 1943 destroyed the negatives, which were stored in the attic of a sawmill in the Valley.
JOHN MUIR (1838-1914)
A Scottishborn naturalist and conservationist, John Muir is Yosemite's most famous advocate. Muir first visited Yosemite in 1868 and quickly settled in the area, working a variety of menial jobs in order to support his exploration of the surrounding wilderness. Muir's fame grew after publishing several articles about the region, and he soon became one of Yosemite's most sought after guides, accompanying many prominent visitors, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and President Theodore Roosevelt.
As his notoriety grew, so did the controversy surrounding him. He persistently countered existing theories regarding the geological formation of Yosemite, claiming that glaciers alone had formed the Valley. State Geologist Josiah D. Whitney openly criticized Muir, pointing to his lack of geological training. However, Muir's theories were finally substantiated in the 1930s by State Geologist François Matthes.
One of Muir's greatest battles was for the preservation of the Yosemite wilderness. In 1889, after more than a decade of travels throughout Alaska and the Sierra Nevada, Muir returned to Yosemite. He was distraught to discover that sheep farming had nearly destroyed his favorite High Sierra meadows, and quickly began campaigning for government protection of the entirety of Yosemite. His dreams were realized only one year later when Yosemite was finally designated a National Park.
GALEN CLARK (1814-1910)
Clark arrived in California prepared to strike gold in 1853, but while working in the Mariposa mines, he contracted a severe case of tuberculosis. As a man who liked "nothing in the world better than climbing to the top of a high ridge or mountain and looking off," Clark was determined to spend his last days in the woods of the area now known as Wawona. Once settled, Clark discovered the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. While exploring the Grove, his health greatly improved, and he committed himself to saving these massive trees from logging.
Clark's letters to Congress, as well as Carleton Watkins's photographs, convinced President Abraham Lincoln to sign the Yosemite Grant in 1864, during the height of the Civil War. The grant deeded both the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove to the people of California, marking the first time in American history that the government had set apart land with the specific purpose of its preservation for the public. President Lincoln honored Clark's dedication to the area by making him one of the first Park guardians, a position Clark held proudly until 1880.
A humble man, Clark spent the last years of his life writing several books about Yosemite's Native American tribes, Giant Sequoia groves, and the Valley, without mentioning his own involvement in the preservation and formation of the Park.
NATIVE AMERICANS IN YOSEMITE
Indigenous groups had inhabited Yosemite as long as 10,000 years before white settlers discovered the Valley in the 1850s.
When the first settlers entered the Valley, they encountered a diverse group of Native Americans who called themselves the Ahwahneechee and their Valley home Ahwahnee. Made up of a mixed group that included Northern Paiute and Southern Sierra Miwok, the Ahwahneechee had strong ties to many groups outside the valley. They were hunter-gatherers who depended on acorns as the staple of their diet, supplementing it with wild crops, small fish and game, as well as the occasional deer or grizzly bear. They had a highly developed sense of both religion and politics, and were skilled at song, dance, and basket weaving.
After the 1850s, the Ahwahneechee, as well as many other small tribes living in the Yosemite area, were overrun by encroaching American civilization. After the Mariposa Indian Wars, a brief series of battles in 1851 between indigenous and American forces, most of Yosemite's Native American tribes were relocated to reservations near Fresno. Although many found ways to return to Yosemite, relocation effectively destroyed any remaining sense of tribal unity, and the Ahwahneechee split up into disparate groups.
Tourism in Yosemite began long before its recognition as protected public land. In late 1855, publisher J. M. Hutchings visited Yosemite after hearing rumors about its beauty. A shrewd businessman and Yosemite's earliest promoter, Hutchings brought along artist Thomas Ayres in order to capture views of the Valley for publication in Hutchings's California Magazine. This account anticipated a slew of early guidebooks that attempted to describe Yosemite, attract visitors, and prepare them for the rough trip into the Valley. Hutchings sold the first official guidebook, Scenes of Wonder and Curiosity, in 1860. Although the book contained descriptions of many sites throughout California, Hutchings paid special attention to Yosemite, offering suggestions on places to see and the right routes to take.
Hutchings' book was later eclipsed by San Francisco journalist John S. Hittell's 1868 guidebook, Yosemite, its Wonders and its Beauties. Hittell's book included 20 of Edweard Muybridge's views accompanying the text.
Josiah D. Whitney, California State Geologist, published The Yosemite Book in 1868. This book provided comprehensive geological and botanical information gathered during the California Geological Survey.
GIANT SEQUOIAS (SEQUOIADENDROM GIGANTEA)
Found only on a 250-mile section of the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, Giant Sequoias number among the world's largest living organisms. These massive trees can grow to over 250 feet tall and have a diameter as large as 30 feet. Although these trees grow quickly and can have a lifespan as long as 3000 years, they require thousands of gallons of water per day, and have shallow roots that are easily damaged. Without the right conditions, it is extremely difficult for the Giant Sequoia to reproduce. Their cones contain over 200 seeds each, which are only released after the cone dries out from extreme heat, insect damage, or fire. Even then, they can only germinate in soil rich in minerals and devoid of other vegetation. Although all of these conditions are best established by wildfires, fire prevention played a large part in Yosemite's history. For many years, the Park Service struggled to maintain its dwindling Giant Sequoia population before adopting controlled burns of the Yosemite Giant Sequoia groves in 1970.
Yosemite's three groves of Giant Sequoias-Tuolumne, Merced, and Mariposa-are easily accessible. The Mariposa Grove is by far the most popular, seeing a steady stream of visitors throughout the summer and fall season.
GEOLOGY OF YOSEMITE
Yosemite Valley may be viewed as the product of almost every geologic process active on our planet today. What John Muir saw as "the grandest of all the special temples of nature," we have now come to understand as a magnificent geologic work in progress. As solid and formidable as El Capitan and Half Dome appear, they are but momentary snapshots in the evolution of this part of the Sierra. Its history includes long periods of sedimentation and tectonics, episodes of volcanism and the intrusion of molten rock, uplift and tilting of the landscape, weathering, erosion by rivers and rockslides, periods of glacial erosion and deposition, the development and infilling of lakes, and the formation of the spectacular domes and waterfalls evident everywhere in and around the Valley.
And while the landscape continues to be lowered and worn down by the action of wind, water, and ice, the tectonic forces responsible for its initial uplift are still active, slowly but inexorably raising the mountains and accentuating the forces of erosion. The evolution of this dramatic landscape can be seen as a constant battle between these opposing forces, with the eventual winners being those of us fortunate enough, and wise enough, to pay attention to the results. Never has a conflict produced such beauty.
WHAT DOES "YOSEMITE" MEAN?
Yosemite place names have a very complicated history. Several institutions and over 75 individuals, including Leland Stanford, named the cliffs, creeks, falls and meadows in Yosemite National Park. Many of the native Miwok and Paiute names have been misinterpreted due to their subtlety or the fanciful notions of their translators.
Lafayette Bunnell, a surgeon with the Mariposa Battalion, wrote Discovery of the Yosemite, where he credits himself with proposing many of the current names, including Yosemite Valley. His colleague, Major James Savage, who was familiar with the Miwok language, incorrectly based the name Yosemite on ïsümat i [grizzly bear]. In the 20th century, researchers determined that the word yosé-meti means "those who kill." Yosemite natives were members of multiple tribes, including Mono and Paiute, and they were considered enemies by the neighboring Miwok tribe.
Yosemite natives called their homeland Ahwahnee [gaping mouth] reflecting the shape of the deep valley flanked by sheer walls.
We have based our definitions on the following sources:
STEREOSCOPES AND STEREO VIEWS
Stereo views are paired images photographed through two lenses, spaced about 2 _ inches apart, like human eyes. Each image is slightly different; when looking through a stereoscope, the eyes blend them into one, creating a nearly realistic vision with an illusion of depth.
The stereoscope was invented in 1833 to create three-dimensional views of drawings. It was only a technical curiosity until photography became a more common medium. The popularity of stereo views expanded when Queen Victoria received a stereoscope at the London Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1851.
From the 1850s until the 1930s stereoscopic views were a typical source of entertainment in middle class homes. Like television in the 20th century, they introduced viewers to exotic foreign countries, famous people, natural disasters, and splendid landscapes.
Watkins and Muybridge photographed stereo views along with their larger images of Yosemite, and they were very profitable. In the 1870s and 1880s nearly 100 photographers made stereo views of Yosemite.
(above: Eadweard Muybridge, Mirror Lake, Yosemite, 1867)
(above: Eadweard Muybridge, The First Fall, 1867)
(above: Eadweard Muybridge, Pom-pom-pa-sus (Mountains Playing Leap Frog), 1867)
(above: Eadweard Muybridge, Pohono (Spririt of the Wind), 1867)
(above: Eadweard Muybridge, Yo-sem-i-te Falls (Large
Grizzly Bear), 1867)
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