It’s been just over three decades since the passing of Ansel Adams, but his legacy lives on in the hearts and minds (and on many of the walls) of those he inspired. One of those people, noted National Geographic photographer Peter Essick, decided to pay tribute to the renowned Group f/64 master.
Essick revisited Ansel Adams’ ‘playground’ to pay homage to the scenery Adams captured several decades before. Traveling through the Ansel Adam Wilderness, an area in the Sierra Nevada of California that is named in Adams’ honor, Essick composed photographs in what might be considered the “Ansel Adams style,” ultimately compiling the fruits of his labor into a book titled, The Ansel Adams Wilderness.
In the introduction to his book, Essick speaks to the motivation behind this project:
Like Adams, I am a native Californian familiar with the High Sierra, and some of my first successful photos were of this wilderness area (located between Yosemite National Park and Mammoth Lakes, and renamed for Adams following his death in 1984). For 25 years I have traveled throughout the world as a photographer for National Geographic magazine, but the High Sierra always has had a special place in my heart.
Using the stopped down, zone-system approach to his photographs, Essick almost perfectly replicates the monochrome aesthetic of the work that both literally and figuratively put Ansel Adams on the map, without copying him outright or “standing in the same tripod holes,” so to speak.
Today, we have the honor of presenting a collection of images from the book, with permission from Essick, himself. Before you dive in, however, we do have a couple of suggestions.
First: scroll slowly, so that you might better savor the work. And second: when you’re done, be sure to head over to Amazon and secure yourself a copy of The Ansel Adams Wilderness for a steal at only $18.
As a bit of a bonus, below is a 25-minute National Geographic Live presentation that Essick gave in which he shares the journey that lead to the creation of these images. While it is a bit of a long watch, it’s as inspirational and informative as the above photographs are beautiful, so be sure to put it in your queue.
Image credits: Photographs by Peter Essick and used with permission