Happy Birthday, Ansel Adams

“Chance favoring the prepared mind.”

Ansel Adams said these words when he described what happened on a particular evening in 1941 as he was driving across northern New Mexico with his son when the setting sun hit just right. It was in this fleeting moment when Adams made one of his most famous images: Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico.  

This statement is so fitting coming from one of the greatest, most iconic photographers in the history of the art form. Two of Adam’s most recognized images were made in the spur of the moment. These images are Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, and Monolith, the Face of Half Dome. The latter being the image that essentially jumpstarted his career as a professional photographer in the late 1920s. 

Today – Feb 20 – we say “Happy Birthday” to Adams, a man considered one of the greatest photographers of all time, best known for his black-and-white photographs of the American West, especially in Yosemite National Park. 

Adams taught himself photography, spending the majority of his life in Yosemite, and the Sierra, perfecting his craft. He became a genius, a master of the technical side of photography where his art really shined through. He believed that a photographer can mentally picture how he or she wants a photo to turn out according to the light available and other variables.

As an environmentalist and an influential Sierra Club member, Adams found himself a major player in the formation of other national parks in the western United States and a fighter for clean air and water, and for balance between human needs and the needs of nature. 

Adams died in 1984. 

Today, a group of Backcountry Journeys’ landscape photographers is in Yosemite, Adam’s favorite place, channeling his influence and greatness as they search for their own personal way of telling the story of the landscape there. We visit Yosemite each year at this time for our Yosemite in Winter photography tour. This time of year is amazing to not only honor Adams but also to seek out the famous Firefall as well as the winter landscapes of the Valley. 

We appreciate Ansel Adams and respect the work that he did not only with his camera but with his words and efforts in photography as well as the conservation of the natural world that we so love and enjoy today. 

Happy Birthday, Ansel. 


When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.

Ansel Adams

Kenton Krueger







Kenton Krueger grew up and spent the first 33 years of his life in the corn country of Omaha, Nebraska. After studying aviation at the University of Nebraska Omaha’s Aviation Institute, he “conned” his way into the newsroom at the award-winning Omaha World-Herald where for 3+ years he wrote and photographed news articles on a variety of topics such as community events, travel and even mixed martial arts for the sports department. Yet something was missing. While on backpacking trips to Grand Teton and Grand Canyon National Parks in the mid-2000’s he was quick to realize that the wildlands of the western United States stoked a fire in his heart as nothing else could. This realization led to relocation to Flagstaff, Arizona, and he hasn’t looked back. He has spent the past several years guiding backpackers, hikers and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone National Parks as well as in the Grand Staircase Escalante in southern Utah. In addition to backpacking and camping, his adventures include rock climbing, exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah, mountain biking, and bagging 14ers in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Mountain Range. Kenton is a trail runner, former pilot, newspaper photographer, and writer. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of guiding experience, combined with his passion and experience behind the lens to provide memorable and unforgettable experiences at the wild places we will visit together.

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