Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada, from Lone Pine

Description (Brief)
Silver gelatin, mounted. View of sun-lit, snow capped mountains with smaller shadowy mountains in front. Small hills and grass cover ground with two horses in foreground. Signed, ink (recto: bottom right). Verso: Adams stamp, title handwritten, ink. "RSN 82532R32" handwritten, pencil.
The "natural chiaroscuro" of this scene in the Sierra Nevadas, foothills shaded in clouds and background mountains brightly lit, had Adams lingering outdoors in zero-degree weather waiting for the perfect composition to reveal itself. According to his book "Examples," Adams had the history and ecology of this region in mind when he took "Winter Sunrise." The endangered Mono Lake, which appears in the foreground, had once nurtured a lush and thriving valley, but by 1944, "practically all the water of the area flows to the homes and swimming pools of the City of Angels, and an American tragedy is here for all who care to see," according to Adams ("Examples," p.163). The photographer was equally upset by the letters "LP" which local Lone Pine High School students had painted on the left hill. Adams meticulously spotted out the graffiti in the darkroom before making his first prints, but the letters are still just visible in this print of the negative.
Ansel Adams (1902-1984) is one of the most well-known twentieth century photographers. His contributions to the field of photography include his innovation and teaching of the Zone System. The quality of his photographs set the standard by which many straight photographs are judged.
The collection in the Photographic History Collection consists of twenty-five photographs, all printed in or about 1968. All are gelatin silver, mounted, labeled and signed in ink by the photographer. The photographs include some of his most well-known images, but also portraits and objects. The selection of images was made in collaboration between the collecting curator and Adams.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
negative made
print made
ca 1968
Adams, Ansel
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 35.3 cm x 45.6 cm; 13 29/32 in x 17 15/16 in
place made
United States: California, Lone Pine
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Photo History Collection
Ansel Adams Collection
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Photo History Collection
Ansel Adams Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Reproduction rights held by the Center for Creative Photography--ARIZONA

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.