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The Long Road

Friday, August 4th, 2017


Introductory Essays by Art Wolfe and John Weller

Size: 280mm x 280mm (11×11 inches)

Pages: 214

Photographic Illustrations: 151

Available: October, 2017
Standard Edition £49.50 ($64.00 USD)

YOUR own poetic sensibility has greatly enhanced your ability to create realities that transcend surface realities… Your images have a presence that very few photographers achieve.
 -Jerry Ueslmann

There is wonder all around us; William Neill translates it all
into photographic poetry
-Art Wolfe

William Neill is one of the great landscape photographers of the last hundred years. His images – stunning, haunting, breathtaking, poetic – speak for themselves. There are no words necessary, just admiration. Through, in his own words, “observation and immersion” he has seen and recorded the beauty of the planet. But, more than that, he had captured its spirit. Again and again he shows us “the thread which holds all things together”.
This book is an instant classic; truly one for the ages.
– Dewitt Jones

William Neill has been an inspiration to me since my earliest days photographing the American West. His quiet and thoughtful compositions always inspire contemplation and solace.
-Guy Tal

During a recent workshop someone asked me about my favorite photographers, and one of the first names that came to mind was my friend William Neill. Bill has been producing consistently beautiful and innovative photographs of nature for decades,
and his new retrospective book looks wonderful.
-Michael Frye

Though Bill is a consummate artist, his drive is not to create art. Bill’s drive is to communicate the importance and fragility of nature. He does so through intimate details and sheer majesty. But photography, for Bill, is not the end in and of itself, but a means to his end, a tool. He has devoted all of his unique skill, and his entire life, to connecting people
with our endangered natural world.
 -John Weller

William Neill is widely recognized as one of America’s finest landscape photographers. Widely published and exhibited, his work is truly inspirational.
-Michael Reichmann, 2008

Neill is a master who has been an inspiration to me for over two decades. His images have a delicate elegance that few others achieve.
-Sean Bagshaw


The Long Road
(originally published at The Luminous Landscape)

We all walk the long road. Sometimes the light is all shining on me, sometimes I can barely see. What a long strange trip it has been, on this long and winding road. These lines from classic rock and roll songs pop into my head as I try to write about my four decades as a landscape photographer. You may ask yourself, how did I get here?

When I was growing up, my family often spent time outdoors. On weekends, we’d picnic in local redwood forests or beaches near our home in the San Francisco Bay Area. During most summers, we’d spend a week or two visiting National Parks such as Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Sequoia or Yosemite. These family road trips sparked my love of nature.

This passion became solidified in the face of personal tragedy when I was eighteen. While working a summer job in Glacier National Park before starting college in the fall, I learned that my brother had died of a brain aneurism. My immersion in that mountainous landscape during a time of great personal distress opened my eyes to the restorative powers of nature, and led me to a life in photography. At some deep level, the beauty of my surroundings seeped into my subconscious—the lush colors of a meadow dense with wildflowers, the energy of a lightning storm, the clarity of a mountain lake. In an effort to capture and convey these life-affirming discoveries, I began to photograph as I backpacked throughout Glacier. Within a few years, all I wanted to do was make photographs!


Just a few years after buying my first camera in 1974, I moved to Yosemite and never left. Living in or just outside the Park continuously since 1977 has been key to my development as an artist. After a few summers working for the National Park Service, I was hired to be the photographer in residence at The Ansel Adams Gallery. I was able to get to know Ansel and attend his workshop summer sessions; meet other world-class photographers such as Ernst Haas, Paul Caponigro, Joel Meyerowitz and Jerry Ulesmann plus Ansel’s stellar assistants John Sexton, Alan Ross, Ted Orland and Don Worth. I started teaching photography to park visitors, taking them for daily “camera walks” in the meadow near the gallery. I learned to make my own color prints, ironically, in Ansel’s Black and White darkroom. I listened and learned and explored.

As my career developed over the past 40 years, through many ups and downs financially and creatively, I slowly found a few key themes. (See: Thinking in Themes essay) Naturally, one of those themes was Yosemite. Through my connection to Ansel’s sphere of influence, I was inspired to discover new ways of seeing this grand landscape. I hiked and camped and climbed on my weekends, always with a camera. In 1994, a book of my Yosemite photographs was published entitled Yosemite: The Promise of Wildness.


Along this road, a new theme emerged that focused on intimate landscapes, isolations of the broad view. Rather than try to describe everything in front of me, I searched for simple design and magic light that moved me, and the viewer, beyond a literal description. “Landscapes of the Spirit” became the central theme in my landscape photography, and the theme took form in a major monograph book (in 1997) of my best photography to that date.

My new book begins with a large portfolio of my Landscapes of the Spirit series. It includes key images made with my 4×5 film camera, but also very recent digital captures. There are also chapters featuring my Antarctic work, Black and White images, impressionistic photographs each reflecting creative tangents I’ve taken.


Another chapter includes a portfolio entitled By Nature’s Design. From the very beginning of my photography, portraying nature’s patterns was a main subject for me. The theme took full form in 1993 when I illustrated a science book entitled By Nature’s Design. I was assigned to photograph dozens of specific subjects to artistically and clearly show branching, cracking, and spiral patterns to illustrate the science behind them. A large portfolio of the book’s images appeared in the October 1993 issue of Life Magazine.

The lesson of working with concepts to bring deeper meaning to my portfolios led to new themes. The Black and White images emerged from a long-standing love of the images by Edward and Brett Weston, Paul Caponigro, Minor White, and Wynn Bullock. Seeing the paintings of Monet and other Impressionists inspired my Impressions of Light collection of photographs using the technique of intentional camera motion to create painterly images.


One never quite knows where the road of life leads us. With a great sense of wonder, a passion for making photographs, and a desire to celebrate nature’s beauty, I’ve stayed focused on the task at hand, the goal in mind, moving forward one step at a time. Now, I can stop for a moment, look back at the path I’ve traveled, as seen in the pages of this book, and breathe a deep breath of satisfaction. Now looking forward, head down again and back to work. The long and winding road continues before me.


The book includes a full index of each image, showing the camera and lens used.


For more information and to purchase, visit Triplekite’s website.


As my conversations with Triplekite’s David Breen and Dav Thomas developed, I shared my book publishing history with them as well as the portfolios on my web page. To my surprise, they suggested a retrospective. It was a daunting prospect, but who was I to say no? Here is a brief Q&A with the publishers:

From the Publisher

What is your philosophy as a book publisher specializing in landscape photography?

“Our philosophy has always been to make the books that we would want to buy – which is also why we started; we simply couldn’t find many publishers making photography books of the natural world in any great quantity. We knew some great artists who couldn’t get a traditional book deal and self-publishing was pretty much a dark art, so we decided to make a stand against the traditional publishing world and prove it could be done in a newer, fresh and more personal way. Of course, things have changed radically in the five years since we started, but our philosophy stays the same – make great books, by great people, and they will sell. We have always been passionate about the product, its design as well as the content within it. We always strive to make a book which best represents the work within, that on occasion has meant books the size of an A2 sheet when opened out, or with quad foldouts over a metre wide. We still strive for these ideals as well as showcasing the best work, whether that’s from an established name or a relative newcomer, some of our greatest pleasure is derived from publishing someone for their first book.”

Why William Neill, and why a retrospective?

“William is, of course, a household name when it comes to Landscape photography, so maybe the question is ‘why wouldn’t we?’ Within our philosophy it is easy to see who we could and should be publishing, and it is often more difficult to see a way of making it viable – a relatively unknown artist will take a lot of marketing if we are to reach beyond break even and often we don’t. More established names are easier to make commercial decisions with but often are already tied into established publishing houses and contracts. When we approached Hans Strand about doing his “Iceland” book, we found a perfect mix of great work, great desire and a willingness to take a chance on a lesser-known publisher in ourselves. William was sent this book by Hans and really liked what it stood for, so he approached us about doing a book together. I remember looking through everything he’d already achieved and once over the awe of it all, thinking he’s never done a complete collection. I guess the idea came from there, and we have worked for a couple of years trying to capture the essence of a career which is beyond measure in its achievements and outputs.”

How did you learn about his photography?

“Personally, I originally knew more European photographers than Americans (apologies), but in my research, I have looked at all the great landscape artists throughout the world. Williams name comes up time and time again in my investigations. Doing polls of our book buyers, and his name comes up, he’s very much respected and followed across the globe and our pre-orders show that.”


Can you give us some insight into the design process?

“The design process starts with an evaluation of the images that will form the content of the book, followed by a rough idea of how to sequence the images. In this case, William already had a rough idea of sections for the book which covered both individual styles as well as locations. The physical format of the book is often guided by the proportions of the images it is to showcase – early on in the design process we decided that a square format would work best in this instance. 

Covers were designed early on including the limited edition options and this was followed by the layout including type choice and image spacing. 

After a number of draft versions, with slight alterations to the sections and image selection, we end up with a final version ready for artwork


For more information and to purchase, visit Triplekite’s website.

From The Ansel Adams Gallery – Unique Offer in Fine Art Photography by William Neill

Monday, August 4th, 2014
Blue Icebergs, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica January 29th, 2014 09:42:19

Blue Icebergs, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica January 29th, 2014 09:42:19

Greetings from the Sierra Nevada,

I am happy to announce that The Ansel Adams Gallery is offering three of my images in their latest “Unique Offer in Fine Art Photography.”

The Unique Opportunity The Ansel Adams Gallery is thrilled to offer its collectors, friends and fellow art lovers, a chance to participate in a unique opportunity. From time to time on our website, we will be featuring a never-before-printed, hand-made image from one of our distinguished Gallery artists at a discounted price, prior to its availability within the general market place. This month, we have arranged to present three 16”x24” images from William Neill: two images from the photogenic landscape of Yosemite, “Winter Twilight over Half Dome, Yosemite,” and “Raindrops and Pollen on Corn Lilly Leaves, Yosemite,” both in an edition of 75, with the third in honor of his recent trip to another unique photographic frontier titled “Blue Icebergs, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula,” in an edition of only 30. While Bill’s original 16”x24” prints normally range in price up to $3,000, you can now add one to your private collection for 25% off the initial retail price. Each photograph is made by Mr. Neill, printed to current archival standards, signed and numbered, as well as mounted, matted and ready for framing. The time to purchase will begin at 9:00 AM Pacific Time on Monday, August 4th, and will expire upon the close of business, Sunday, August 10th at 6:00 PM.Once the offer has expired, we anticipate an order fulfillment time of approximately four weeks to ensure the quality of each individual order. This inaugural printing offer is available for a very limited time, after which, the print will return to full price.

Email our curator, Evan Russel, at if you have any additional questions about the prints or shipping.


The Story of the Images – text by William Neill

Winter Twilight over Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California 2012 by William Neill

  Winter Twilight over Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California
© William Neill, All rights reserved (text by William Neill)

Yosemite Valley after a fresh snowfall is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I’ve been photographing for 38 years in the national park, and winter is my favorite season. Taken after a late December snowfall, I was lucky enough to arrive at Tunnel View with great light and snow still sticking to the trees. Although more dramatic light occurred earlier this evening, I preferred these more subtle colors of twilight. While I have often avoided photographing the icons, focusing in on more intimate views of Yosemite, I am still entranced by the epic landscape of soaring cliffs.
To purchase, please click here.


Raindrops and Pollen on Corn Lily Leaves, Yosemite National Park, California 2013

Raindrops and Pollen on Corn Lily Leaves, Yosemite National Park, California 2013

Raindrops and Pollen on Corn Lilly Leaves, Yosemite National Park, California 2013
© William Neill. All rights reserved (text by William Neill)

Patterns in nature have been a major theme of my photography for decades. When the corn lily plants spread their leaves during high country summers, I search for dense patterns of leaves like these to photograph. Living nearby, I timed my arrival in hopes of rain from an approaching thunderstorm. The rain drops combined with pollen to form a galaxy of water beads which heightened the magic of these leaves and their patterns. Processed as a Black and White image, I feel that the graphical pattern and mysterious field of possibilities shine through.
To purchase, please click here.



Blue Icebergs, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica January 29th, 2014 09:42:19

Blue Icebergs, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica January 29th, 2014 09:42:19

Blue Icebergs, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica January 29th, 2014 09:42:19
© William Neill. All rights reserved (text by William Neill)

On my recent trip to the Antarctic Peninsula, our group floated in Zodiac boats through sculpture gardens of ancient ice. The deeper the blues, the older is the ice. The crystalline icebergs glowed like magic in the morning light, revealing the patterns of weather and waves. It was especially challenging to compose precisely while moving, requiring speed in terms of focus, analyzing exposures that constantly changed, and timing to capture good spacing and compositions. It was a spectacular journey. A sweet Antarctic dream.
To purchase, please click here.

Story of the Artist
William Neill has been photographing continuously in his backyard of Yosemite National Park since 1977. Reared in California and Virginia, and educated at the University of Colorado (BA in Environmental Conservation, 1976), he has found his balance in the Sierra Nevada . In the early 1980s, he served as staff photographer at The Ansel Adams Gallery, where he was introduced to the work of Ansel Adams and other fine art photographers. The natural environment and spirit of Yosemite remains the constant inspiration for Neill. He pays special attention to the intimate detail and design of nature. His elegant color photographs celebrate the magic of our natural world.

“The reason I photograph is to experience the beauty of nature, of wild places. I explore the essential elements of rock and tree, of cloud and rushing water to discover the magic and mystery of the landscape. It is the spirit of the land I seek to reveal in my images.

“Photography is a quiet, meditative activity for me. I enjoy isolating the details of a scene. By creating photographs where the content or orientation is not obvious, an intimate and enigmatic feeling can come through. I enjoy making an image that asks a question, one that intrigues and arouses curiosity in the viewer.” He is the photographic author of many books including The Sense of Wonder, The Tree,By Nature’s DesignThe Color of Nature and Traces of Time. A portfolio of his Yosemite photographs has been published Yosemite: The Promise of Wildness as well as a retrospective monograph of his landscape photography entitled Landscapes Of The Spirit. In 1995, the Sierra Club honored Neill with the Ansel Adams Award for conservation photography. Also, he writes a monthly column, On Landscape, for Outdoor Photographermagazine. Neill’s assignment and published credits include National Geographic Special Publications, Smithsonian, Conde Nast Traveler, Gentlemen’s Quarterly, Travel & Leisure, Wilderness, Sunset, Vogue, Sierra and Outside magazines. Feature articles about his work have appeared in Life, Camera and Darkroom, American Photo, Photographer’s Forum, Outdoor Photographer and Communication Arts, from whom he has received four Awards of Excellence. Neill’s fine limited edition prints have been collected and exhibited nationally. Bill Neill resides with his wife, Sahdna, and their children in Oakhurst, California.

Please be sure to view more of William Neill’s photographs at well as at the Gallery’s site,

What You Need to Know

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Clearing Autumn Storm, Yosemite National Park, California, 2013

Here is my most recent On Landscape column published in Outdoor Photographer. I have added a few other images from October 28, 2013 to give you a broader sense of the epic quality of the day,  I would love to hear feedback on your favorite images, and share links to any “epic day” images you wish to share!
This is the golden age of information. Photographers have access to endless amounts of guides, tutorials, ebooks and websites about making perfect photographs, any kind of photograph, and that includes landscape photographs. Need to learn techniques for composing, exposing or postprocessing your images? Many sources are available, offered by excellent photographers and teachers. Outdoor Photographer covers those subjects in depth, in the magazine and on the website, leading the way forward since 1985. Need to know where to photograph and when at a new location? With a smartphone, you can learn where to stand, as well as the sunrise/sunset times so you know how early to set your alarm—no exploration or scouting needed!

My own photographic path started in the “old days,” with 35mm film cameras in the 1970s. Then I used a 4×5 view camera and sheet film for 25 years. I began making digital prints in 1994, and since 2005, have switched entirely to digital capture. My digital skills have evolved slowly, steadily into a simple, but effective toolset. When I can’t make my images say what I want them to say, when lack of technique is blocking my artistic expression, I update my skill set. I learn more. But in those early years, I made some very strong images with very little knowledge of technique.

With all of this in mind, a question has been bouncing around my head: How much does a photographer need to know before he or she can make a great photograph? The focus on consuming every possible technique drives me crazy sometimes, or maybe I’m just lazy! Seriously, the way I stay creative is to keep it simple. If my mind is too full of tech thoughts, they get in my way.

Autumn Oaks and Snowstorm, El Capitan Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California, 2013

Autumn Oaks and Snowstorm, El Capitan Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California, 2013


Dogwood Leaves, Yosemite National Park, California 2013

Last fall, I worked with a student from Hawaii who had never been to Yosemite before. The autumn color was peaking, especially the oaks and maples. A storm was coming the morning we started. The forecast was for a rainy day, but I looked forward to taking advantage of the soft light to photograph the saturated colors and patterns of autumn leaves. A strong wind that night had brought down most of the yellow maple leaves, covering the forest floor, especially at Fern Springs. Our workshop was off to a great start, but then it began to pour, so we decided to wait out the rain over breakfast at the Lodge. As we sat, we were thrilled to see that it started to snow! A few gulps later, we were out the door.

One of our first stops was El Capitan Meadow, where we photographed golden oak leaves in the snowstorm. I helped Sean work out his compositions and made sure he tried various shutter speeds. As with moving water, each change in shutter speed conveys a slightly different effect, with blurring or freezing the rapidly falling snowflakes. I showed him how to create panoramic images like “Autumn Oaks and Snowstorm” using multiple frames to stitch in Photoshop.

The conditions were thrilling, and next I found a deep-red dogwood tree with snow gathering on the leaves. I helped him find the best angles for simple and clear image designs. My instructions were simple, such as improving his camera angle and helping him find the right balance between shutter speed and aperture.

Soon the clouds began to clear, so we headed to Tunnel View. Looking east at El Capitan and Half Dome, snow had dusted the trees and cliffs, with dramatic clouds hanging around the cliffs. We immediately set up before the classic view. He had never photographed at Tunnel View before! I suggested to Sean that he visualize postprocessing this image as a black-and-white photo, which could heighten the forms of clouds and cliffs. This approach worked out very well for him for his final rendition of this scene.

As he photographed, I turned around to simply enjoy the clearing storm. To my pleasant surprise, I saw the magnificent conditions so sought after by photographers at Tunnel View when looking east during sunrise or sunset. The nearby cliffs, not the iconic view, were beautifully backlit and shrouded with clouds, beams of sun streaming through the mist. The light was changing quickly, so we had little time to think or analyze. We worked on this new composition thoroughly, watching his histograms carefully in the brilliant and rapidly changing light. I’ve included my own version in this article.

How much does a photographer need to know before he or she can make a great photograph? The focus on consuming every possible technique drives me crazy sometimes, or maybe I’m just lazy! Seriously, the way I stay creative is to keep it simple. If my mind is too full of tech thoughts, they get in my way.

Autumn Sunset, El Capitan and the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2013

Cottonwood leaves and cloud reflections, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California  2013

Cottonwood leaves and cloud reflections, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2013

Snowflakes and cedars, Yosemite Lodge, Yosemite National Park, California  2013

Snowflakes and cedars, Yosemite Lodge, Yosemite National Park, California 2013

The day continued with more spectacular photography of both intimate details and grand views, focusing on the experience and the basics of making good exposures: clean design and great light. We had the next day’s session to analyze, delve into technical issues and discuss post-processing options. To summarize, Sean had an epic first day in Yosemite. The question remains: How much do we need to know? Hunger for more knowledge and better technique is a good thing. Sure, spend hours in front of your computer editing your images. But when you feel the inspiration, whether in front of a grand landscape or a flower in your backyard, let go of the rules and regulations, and embrace the Beauty. Be in the moment. Connect with your senses. Art will come through your emotions when most intense.
On that October day, all we “needed to know” was that we were there to see it.


William Neill, an American photographer and resident of the Yosemite National Park area since 1977, is a renowned nature and landscape photographer. Neill’s award-winning photography has been widely published in books, magazines, calendars, posters, and his limited-edition prints have been collected and exhibited in museums and galleries nationally, including the Museum of Fine Art Boston, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, The Vernon Collection, and The Polaroid Collection. Neill has received the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award for conservation photography.

He is the photographic author of many books including The Sense of Wonder, The Tree,  By Nature’s Design,  The Color of Nature  and  Traces of Time.  A portfolio of his Yosemite photographs has been published Yosemite: The Promise of Wildness and a retrospective monograph of his landscape photography entitled Landscapes Of The Spirit

To learn about William Neill‘s one-on-one Yosemite workshops, ebooks and iPad app, see his latest images and learn about his online courses with, visit If you like this post, please sign up HERE to receive the latest updates to my Light on the Landscape Photoblog.

50% eBook Sale! The William Neill eBook Collection. Buy all 4 eBooks for $15.00.

Friday, November 29th, 2013





Starting today, I have reduced the price of my eBooks by 50%. If my photography is new to you, you can now purchase The William Neill eBook Collection, all 4 eBooks, for $15.00.  If your collection is not complete, each individual title is now only $5.00.

For more information on each eBook, and to purchase, see my online store,  William Neill eBooks and iPad app.

If you have some or all of my eBooks, and have enjoyed them, please share with you friends!

Sale ends on December 2, 2013.

On this Thanksgiving holiday, I greatly appreciate your interest and support of my photography.  I am living the dream, pursuing my passion for nature and photography for the past 30 years.

Thank you all!   Bill

Open Studio at William Neill Photography – Sierra Art Trails Oct. 4, 5 & 6

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Here is a new image that has received a great deal of attention on Facebook and Flickr.  Making the first print today, which is an order from the student I was working with when photographing Half Dome.  I am also printing it for Sierra Art Trails, the open studio tour in our area of the Sierra Nevada foothills.

The Ansel Adams Gallery Facebook page


Enjoy, and please share if you like!

Private  Workshops


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