Winter Trees, Fog, Yosemite Valley, CA 1990

John Sexton

Original Gelatin Silver photograph signed by John Sexton

Image size 11" x 14"

Mounted and overmatted with 4-ply archival museum board 


$1,500.00 USD

About John Sexton

John Sexton was born in 1953 and has lived on the Monterey Peninsula in California for more than forty years. Respected as a photographer, master printmaker, author, and workshop instructor, he is best known for his luminous, quiet, black and white photographs of the natural environment. In 2018 John was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum, St. Louis, Missouri. After more than fifty years John still finds magic in exposing and processing film, and making silver gelatin prints, by hand, in his traditional darkroom at his home and studio in Carmel Valley, California. John shares that home and studio with his wife and photographer, Anne Larsen, and their black and white cat, Boots.

John's most recent book is Recollections: Three Decades of Photographs, an award-winning retrospective volume, published by Ventana Editions. John's previous award-winning books include Quiet Light, a monograph representing fifteen years of his work, and Listen to the Trees, which were published by Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown and Company, along with Places of Power: The Aesthetics of Technology published by Ventana Editions.

He is Director of the John Sexton Photography Workshops program, and for more than forty-five years has taught photography workshops throughout the United States and abroad, emphasizing traditional silver gelatin printing techniques and personally expressive photography. Some of these organizations include: Anderson Ranch Arts Center, The Ansel Adams Gallery, Maine Photographic Workshops, The Friends of Photography, and The Palm Beach Workshops.

John's informed and entertaining lectures for photographic and professional organizations, colleges, universities, and museums discuss the aesthetic and technical aspects of expressive photography. He has presented lectures for, among others, Adobe, Apple, Kodak, George Eastman House, Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, Boston University, Oregon State University, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Bowers Museum, Monterey Museum of Art, Museum of Photographic Arts, New Hampshire Institute of Art, Portland Art Museum, and the Seattle Art Museum.

A recipient of the 2005 North American Nature Photography Association Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2014 American Society of Photographers International Award, John is a consultant to Eastman Kodak Company and other photographic manufacturers. He worked as both Technical and Photographic Assistant, and Technical Consultant, to Ansel Adams from 1979 to 1984. Sexton assisted Adams in the darkroom and in the field, and conducted all the technical testing on the revised editions of Ansel's books The Negative and The Print. Following Mr. Adams' death Sexton served as Photographic Special Projects Consultant to The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust. Along with serving as an instructor at number of the Ansel Adams Yosemite Workshops, Sexton was the director of that program in the early 1980's. From 1985 to 1993 he was a member of the Board of Trustees of The Friends of Photography.

John's photographs are included in permanent collections, exhibitions, and publications throughout the world. His work has been featured on the CBS Sunday Morning show, and on the MacNeil Lehrer News Hour. Bank of America, General Motors, Eastman Kodak Company, and Apple, Inc. have used his photographs in national advertising campaigns. Sexton's photographs have been featured in numerous periodicals including: Time, Life, American Photo, Backpacker, Photo Techniques, Darkroom Photography, LensWork, View Camera, Black and White, Zoom, Outdoor Photographer, Outside, The Washington Post, and Popular Photography.

About the Image

This photograph was made two days before Christmas in 1990. It was on this trip that I first attended the legendary Bracebridge Dinner (written in large part by Ansel Adams) at the historic Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley. A few years before, a group of close photography friends decided we would all enter the lottery to attend the Bracebridge Dinner. (At that time there were only three Bracebridge offerings each year, and demand greatly exceeded capacity). Our agreement was that if one of us was fortunate enough to win a table in the lottery, we would all attend. This all came together in 1990. Since we were all interested in photography, we stayed additional days in Yosemite Valley explore photographically, along with having a fantastic time attending the memorable dinner and performance.

It was the coldest time I have ever experienced in Yosemite Valley. The low temperature got down to 6 degrees Fahrenheit as I recall. Some of us were staying in very rustic, and in those days' affordable, Curry Village cabins. Without going into great detail, I can only say that the flush toilets stopped working as the drainpipes were frozen!Along with the cold, we were fortunate to have snowy conditions. As I have mentioned in past newsletters, El Capitan Meadow is one of my favorite areas of Yosemite Valley - especially if there is snow. This image, Winter Trees, Fog, Yosemite Valley, was made one afternoon as a few of us from the group were wandering about El Capitan Meadow enjoying the winter wonderland. I can still hear the cold snow crunching under my boots and feel the sting of the frigid breeze on my skin. As is often the case when the temperature begins to change, mist and fog can quickly form and then dissipate in various parts of the valley. I had been studying this group of three oak trees. I liked the dark curving gestures of the trunks in contrast with the snow covered meadow, but felt something was missing. Then the mist began to appear!I quickly set up my 4x5 Linhof Technika camera with my 120 mm Nikkor-SW lens. I used the slightly wide angle lens to try and give the dark tree trunks a sense of presence hoping that the mist would add a tonal separation and create an illusionary sense of depth by lightening and obscuring the details in the background. I had to work quickly as the fog was constantly moving. As is the case with many photographs that I make in the snow, I used my Wratten #12 yellow filter in an attempt to reveal the subtle modulation in the snow, which can be so difficult to render in soft light. The negative is challenging to print in terms of balancing the tones of the near tree trunks as well as the distant cliff and row of trees at the bottom.It was a cold day, but I am glad that we decided to bundle up and defy the frigid weather, rather than spending the afternoon indoors by a cozy warm fire. I hope you enjoy the image!

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