Ansel Adams
Mount McKinley and Wonder Lake, Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, 1947; printed ca. 1972

In 1947 Ansel Adams traveled to Alaska with his 14-year-old son, Michael. While there, the photographer took his first flight on an airplane, which made a frightening landing after one of its wheels failed. Of the impetus for traveling deep into the remote Alaskan wilds, Adams later wrote, “I felt Alaska might be close to the wilderness perfection I continuously sought.”

Rising twenty thousand feet above sea level, majestic Mount McKinley embodies the pristine nature that Adams doggedly pursued. In the ethereal early morning light captured here, the snow-covered mountain appears almost immaterial, like a ghostly vision in the distance. During printing, Adams heightened this effect by suppressing foreground detail in deep blacks, drawing attention to the brightly lit face of the formidable peak.

Artwork image is not available online.

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Mount McKinley and Wonder Lake, Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Artist name
Ansel Adams
Date created
1947; printed ca. 1972
gelatin silver print
40 in. × 48 1/2 in. (101.6 cm × 123.19 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Gift of Alfred Fromm, Otto Meyer, and Louis Petri, San Francisco
© The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Other Works by Ansel Adams

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