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Cheyenne Falls by William Henry Jackson
Cheyenne Falls by William Henry Jackson

Cheyenne Falls, 1882

William Henry Jackson

This image of a roaring waterfall near Cheyenne, Wyoming dates to 1882, when making photographs was so cumbersome and expensive, only professionals could afford to take it on. The artist had been part of an expedition surveying the Wyoming Territory along the Oregon Trail. It was probably a rough horse and wagon trip, during which the photographer had to haul at least 300 pounds of equipment just to do basic photography. The technology of the time, the wet-collodion process, required developing and fixing the negatives in a dark tent in the field within 20 minutes of exposure to preserve the image.

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