Our Art / Carleton Watkins / Yosemite Falls

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Yosemite Falls by Carleton Watkins on the Depict FrameYosemite Falls by Carleton Watkins
Yosemite Falls by Carleton Watkins

Yosemite Falls, 1865

Carleton Watkins

Even if you’ve seen it in real life, this stunning view of Yosemite Falls still has the power to take your breath away. Partly, it’s the vantage point: Watkins managed to find a spot that provided the perfect tree-flanked frame through which to view the entire cascade. The contrast of sumptuous dark trees and foliage with the airy, misty veil of water and the shiny granite is another stroke of technical mastery; the illumination seems surreal, almost like moonlight. Watkins’ Yosemite photographs were not only spectacular works of art; they also prompted President Lincoln to sign a bill that preserved Yosemite Valley and became a blueprint for National Park System.

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