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The Four Seasons in Yosemite National Park (1938) by Ansel Adams


Introduction

Half Dome drawing by Della Taylor Hoss

Geologists say that long ago in the Ice Age two great glaciers, slowly moving down the canyons which rise eastward on either side of Half Dome, joined; and that with terrific power, they ground and gouged away the granite slopes of a lesser canyon, leaving the wide gorge and perpendicular walls which is now Yosemite Valley.

Reason and evidence tell us this is true. ‘But sometimes it is easier to believe that some prehistoric race of giants, directed by a master sculptor, hewed and carved the huge monuments of granite which tower almost a mile above the level Valley floor; and then led the mountain streams to the edge of the precipice and sent them thundering down.

This childish thought is scarcely more fantastic than the actual scenery which seldom fails to amaze even the most seasoned traveller. Yosemite defies description. It is a place of contrasts. Tremendous yet jewel-like in precision and beauty—formidable yet friendly—brooding yet gay—magnificent yet done with the simplicity of Nature’s master works.



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