Yosemite Falls, View from the Bottom by Carleton Watkins (1878-81)

The photograph titled “Yosemite Falls, View from the Bottom” was taken by artist Carleton Watkins sometime between the years 1878 and 1881. It depicts the majestic Yosemite Falls from a ground-level perspective, emphasizing the height and power of the waterfall within the surrounding landscape.

The image shows the iconic feature of Yosemite National Park, with the water cascading down from the upper falls, through the middle cascades, and down to the lower falls, before finally reaching the bottom where it would continue as a river. Despite the monochrome palette due to the photograph’s age, the texture and contrast are striking, providing a sense of the dynamism and raw beauty of the scene. The rock faces framing the waterfall are rugged and steep, suggesting the sheer scale and grandeur of Yosemite’s geology. The fine details of the rocks and the mist from the falls give life to the photograph, inviting the viewer to ponder the natural wonders of that era.

Other Photographs from Carleton Watkins

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