Monolith, The Face of Half Dome
Monolith, The Face of Half Dome 1927 is one of Adams’ finest works and a lasting and iconic depiction of one of the most unique spots in the American wilderness. Its technical excellence and artistic mastery would soon launch Adams’ career as one of the finest commercial and fine-art photographers of the 20th century.
Modern Replicas were born from the desire of the artist's family to create a collection of Ansel Adams prints that showcased the artist throughout his career and delivered at a level of quality comparable to an original. The collection of Modern Replicas span Ansel's lifetime of exploration in Yosemite, and also beyond to the remote wonders of the Southwest, the expanses of Alaska, the forests of the Pacific Northwest, and the coastlines of California and New England. Each black and white replica is reproduced directly from an original photograph by Ansel Adams, and carefully crafted to mirror the photograph's brilliance and richness in contrast and tone.
Exclusively from The Ansel Adams Gallery, these digitally-mastered prints leverage modern technologies, not available during Ansel's lifetime, in order to allow more people the enjoyment of owning and displaying an Ansel Adams piece. Available in a variety of sizes, up to 40x50 inches, Modern Replicas offer the flexibility to enhance both the larger and more intimate spaces of your home. Modern Replicas will stand the test of time. Made with museum-quality materials estimated to last over 180 years, their heavy paper mimics the look and feel of gelatin silver paper, and multiple pigments reflect the tones and highlights of Ansel's original works. Each replica can be finished with a custom frame of your choice, arriving at your home ready to hang. Authorized by the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust, this collection ranges in price from from $149 to $1,899 depending on size and framing.
Join us in celebrating a full range of some of Ansel's finest work, featuring America's wild places, its national parks, and its great mountain ranges. As an owner of an Ansel Adams Modern Replica, you become a part of the story behind these images—of wildness and wilderness, that spans generations and continues to inspire us today—to see, revere, and protect the Earth.
About the Image
On the chilly spring morning of April 10th, 1927, Ansel Adams set out along Yosemite’s LeConte Gully to capture an image of the striking sheer face of Half Dome, one of Yosemite National Park’s most iconic natural features. Though Ansel knew their route well, having spent four teenage summers as the keeper of the Sierra Club’s nearby lodge in Yosemite Valley, his companions—his fiancée Virginia Best and three close friends, including his lifetime friend and fellow wilderness photographer Cedric Wright—picked carefully along the steep gully in the icy shadow of nearby Grizzly Peak.
As the 25 year-old Ansel hiked, he was in the midst of personal and professional upheaval. An accomplished pianist with a passion for photography, Ansel had only recently realized that his photographic skills dwarfed his musical ones, forcing him to abandon his dream of professional musicianship. His life’s work lay ahead of him, farther up the trail.
When the group reached the Diving Board, a steep outcropping more than 3,500 feet above Yosemite Valley, Ansel knew this was the perfect vista from which to capture Half Dome’s sheer face. The photograph he made, “Monolith, the Face of Half Dome,” shows the mountain rising from an ink-black sky, its face illuminated by a dazzling midday sun just out of frame. Though Ansel initially made an exposure using a yellow filter, he immediately swapped that for a dark red filter, which darkened the sky and produced the deep shadows and bright light we recognize in the final image. It was a startling expression of emotion and drama from the young photographer, and its technical excellence and artistic mastery would soon launch Adams’ career as one of the finest commercial and fine-art photographers of the 20th century.
Today, the image stands as not only one of Adams’ finest works, but as a lasting and iconic depiction of one of the most unique spots in the American wilderness.
- Archival Pigment Print
- Exclusive Reproduction from Ansel Adams' Original Photograph
- Museum-Quality Frame & Finish
- Wired Backing (ready to hang)
- Expert Packaging with Care
- 30 day - 100% Satisfaction Guarantee (or full refund)
About the Modern Replica – Technical Details
Modern Replicas are very high quality reproductions of Ansel Adams images, available in multiple sizes, made using the most advanced digital technologies today. Each one is individually produced and inspected, assembled with the best materials, and designed to provide the most elegant presentation possible. Available exclusively from The Ansel Adams Gallery.
The technology begins with imaging, but the entire process begins with image selection. The Modern Replicas are reproductions made from original photographs hand printed by Ansel Adams, rather than from the negatives. This allows us to accurately capture Ansel’s intent when he made the photograph, including all of the choices he made in the darkroom – paper selection, burning, dodging, and toning – to achieve his “visualization”. We have chosen prints from the collections of the Ansel Adams family and the Ansel Adams Archive at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. The exact print is selected based on the tonal values and clarity.
The imaging technology we are using is not generally available. It is currently in use by only three entities in the US: ourselves, the GettyMuseum, and the Smithsonian Institution. Every element of the image capture is carefully controlled and characterized – the image capture device, color temperature of the lighting, how light falls on the print, and colorimetric readings of the print itself. These elements are then processed with the raw image file using a specialized software program to produce the most accurate baseline image file possible. There is some modest ‘cleaning’ done after the scan is made, but this process provides a nearly 100% color accurate file across 100% of the image area.
The image capture is done in full color, because all gelatin silver prints will have subtle hues of cyan, magenta, and yellow that the eye renders as gray or black. It is only recently that the technology has advanced to the point that these hues can be replicated on paper without creating noticeable (and disagreeable) color shifts. Prior to these advances, gray scale reproductions could look good, but simply did not have the right tonal qualities to be acceptable for Ansel’s work. The printers are constantly self calibrating, and use 12 different inks, including 4 shades of gray. They offer a consistency from Modern Replica to Modern Replica that is unmatched.
Even in, or perhaps especially in, a mechanical process, quality control is critical. Sometimes the technology provides a level of QC that is acceptable, such as printers constantly self calibrating. Regardless, we eye-match every single print to a master and take colorimetric readings on a regular basis to validate the tonal qualities of the Modern Replica. Each one is inspected for other aberrations – scratches, paper dust, paper flaws, or general hiccups. Our standards are very high, and we will not offer anything less than superb.
The “archival-ness” of a medium has become a very important in the world of photography and digital imaging and printing. Many types of color photographs have had a tendency to deteriorate quickly, and early digital printing technologies could only expect to last 5 to 8 years without noticeable deterioration. Recent advances have lengthened the “archival stability” – measured by the length of time that a medium would be expected to retain its tonal characteristics – of certain printing media to over 100 years. The paper and ink used in the Modern Replica have been estimated to last over 180 years.
Display and Design
The design of the Modern Replica starts with the choice of paper. This is a heavy paper that mimics the look and feel of gelatin silver paper. We found in testing that it provided the richest feel and carried the image the best.
We have carefully designed the finished look and specified the material, sizes, cut, color, mount, and frame profile to dramatize each image at the size you choose.
The Modern Replica are dry-mounted. Acid-free foam core provides stiffness and the dry-mounting assures the print to lay flat with less chance of warping as humidity changes.
The 8-ply overmats are museum quality acid-free rag board, hinge mounted to the backer for sizes 8×10-16×20.
The color of the overmat is specified based on the tonality of the image, for example, Modern Replicas with more of a vintage feel (Sierra Meadow) will have a creamier overmat than others.
Each overmat is custom cut to reveal just the image, with a generous outside border. The size of the overmat is close to standardized, enabling multiple images to be hung together, but with some variation relative to the proportions of the image itself.
The frame itself can also add or detract from the overall presentation. We have selected five different options to accommodate different preferences and environments – wood and metal, each with two profiles, and different colors. Plexi-glass is used to provide protection for the print during shipping and for display.
Frame your Modern Replica and receive it ready to hang and designed to stand the test of time. Our Gallery makes framing easy, offering competitive rates simply based on the size of your artwork. Every frame is professionally built by our team of expert craftspeople using the highest-quality materials (wood or metal moulding, acid-free mats and foam core, and optional acrylic with 99% UV protection). Our turnaround time is fast—usually 2-3 business days to create your piece— and then we ship your finished work of art to your door.Image Size
Standard vs Museum Acrylic
We size our prints according to nominal image size. Meaning not all prints are exactly the stated size. Ansel used many different cameras over his career that created finished prints in different aspect ratios. Modern Replicas are not cropped, they are faithful reproductions of Ansel Adams’ original photographs and adhere to the exact aspect ratio (relationship between the height and width of the image)
Use our handy artwork chart to determine the relative size of the finished (matted and/or framed) print.
Size Chart Dimensions are listed in inches
|image size||matted size||metal frame||wood frame|
Our Museum Acrylic is Tru-Vue Optium Museum Acrylic®. This is virtually invisible, yet provides the ultimate protection for your artwork. It is the highest-quality acrylic available and is used by the world’s most renowned museums. This acrylic provides 99% UV protection. Is anti-reflective, abrasion and shatter-resistant.