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Black oak leaves, El Capitan Meadow, Yosemite National Park 1983

May 28th, 2010


John and I have been working on my next ebook, which is a collection of my Yosemite photographs.  This image is one of my favorite Yosemite images, but it has sadly languished in terms of printing it because the original film was lost about twenty years ago.  The Cibachrome lab I used lost it.  I never had a proper scan made of the film as high res film scanning was not commonly available back then.   And don’t get me started on “lost film” stories.  I have far too many…

However, I have an exhibit coming up this summer at The Ansel Adams Gallery from  7/07 to 8/17/2010 so this will be a golden opportunity to print and exhibit this image.  For the digital file shown here, I scanned an 8×10 Cibachrome.  Not an ideal method, but I can make a very clean 16×20 print from that file.

By the way, this photograph was made with my Wista 4×5 Metal Field Camera in January, 1983.

In my Yosemite: The Promise of Wildness book, I included this photo and wrote these words about the making of it:

“This young oak stands a few feet from the main road leaving Yosemite Valley.  Millions of visitors race by it each year.  Despite its incongruous location, the tree conveyed a sense of wildness to me.  I had had a bad day at work [The Ansel Adams Gallery] and was heading home.  Needing something to calm my frustrated disposition,  I stopped for a walk along the meadow’s edge.  Having had the time to slow down and relax, I looked up from my ruminations and was struck with the beauty of these leaves.  With my attitude adjustment complete, I exposed my favorite image of Yosemite!”

Enjoy,  Bill

And come visit The William Neill Store!

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8 Responses to “Black oak leaves, El Capitan Meadow, Yosemite National Park 1983”

  1. I don’t usually comment but I gotta admit thanks for the post on this great one : D.

  2. Richard Wong says:

    Oh man! This must have been a difficult one to lose. I have your Yosemite book and this was one of my favorite images in the book.

  3. Stacey says:

    All I can say is that just reading that the negative was lost went right to my gut. I really really like this image.

  4. Hi David,

    I don’t remember talking to Phil specifically about loosing originals, but did regarding the poor handling of film by most publishers.

    BTW, I worked at North Cascades during college, in the summers of 1974 and 1975. Phil’s photos in “Wild Cascades: Forgotten Parkland,” was a great inspiration. Still have the small softbound edition!

    Glad you like this photo. I believe I used my Epson V750 Pro to scan the print.


  5. Hi Bill, that is a beautiful photograph. You may have traded “lost original” stories with Dad because he too had a lot of them having sent out his original film to many, many publishers. When the Sierra Club used Barnes Press, they were the worst. They lost all of his color originals from the famous Exhibit Format Series book, “Wild Cascades: Forgotten Parkland,” that helped establish North Cascades National Park. Fortunately with the digital age we have resurrected some of the damaged originals. I am curious what kind of scanner you used to scan the Cibachrome of the image above… In my experience, Cibachrome does not scan as well as dye transfer.

  6. Hi Bill,

    Thanks Bill. Most unfortunate I agree, and that was the only transparency I exposed!

  7. I can see why you would be sick at losing the negative. Like all of your images, very unusual. Good luck with progress on the book, that image is certainly an attention getter.

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