Lake Tenaya, John Muir and Yosemite National Park Introduce Philip Hyde To Wilderness
All the merry dwellers of the trees and streams, and the myriad swarms of the air, called into life by the sunbeam of a summer morning, go home through death, wings folded perhaps in the last red rays of sunset of the day when they were first tried. Trees towering in the sky, braving storms, for centuries, flowers turning faces to the light for a single day or an hour, having enjoyed their share of life’s feast–all alike pass on and away under the law of death and love. Yet all are our brothers and they enjoy life as we do, share heaven’s blessings with us, die and are buried in hallowed ground, come with us out of eternity and return into eternity. — John Muir
(See the photograph full screen Click Here.)
Philip Hyde had a long association with Yosemite National Park, many years before meeting Ansel Adams and Virginia Best Adams of Best’s Studio in Yosemite Valley and a long association with Yosemite after meeting Ansel Adams. Philip Hyde first visited Yosemite National Park with the Boy Scouts on a 1938 Sierra Nevada high country backpack. He returned the following year with the Boy Scouts for another backpack, and nearly every year thereafter, most often with his father Leland Hyde and his brother David Lee Hyde. All the while he carried a soiled and worn copy of John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir. To read more on how John Muir’s writings inspired Philip Hyde see the blog post, “New Portfolio: Yosemite And Sierra Black and White Prints.”
Philip Hyde’s Early Black And White Landscape Photographs
Philip Hyde made a photograph in 1942 of “Shadow Creek, Minarets Wilderness, Sierra Nevada” on a backpack trip with his father and brother into the Minarets Wilderness, now the Ansel Adams Wilderness. This photograph and others made before World War II in the Sierra Nevada back country, Philip Hyde considered his first fine art quality wilderness photographs, though he did make superb photographs of some trackless wild areas of Sugar Bowl Ski Area in the winter of 1940. A few of these early 1940s photographs are on exhibition for the first time since before World War II, as part of Philip Hyde’s Mountain Landscapes at the Camera Obscura Gallery (post-War digital images from the show are on the Camera Obscura website), currently showing through November 13, 2010. For more details see also the blog post, “Vintage And Digital Prints Together In One Exhibition.”
As described in the blog post, “Photography’s Golden Era 6,” Philip Hyde first met Ansel Adams in the 1946 Summer Session of the California School of Fine Arts, now the San Francisco Art Institute, after serving in the Army Air Corp. For Summer Break 1949, between photography school courses, Ansel Adams helped Ardis and Philip Hyde land the caretakers job at the Sierra Club Parson’s Lodge and McCauley Cabin in Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park. Read more about the Hydes in Tuolumne Meadows on Philip Hyde’s Sierra Club History pages. Philip Hyde created some of his best black and white landscape photography during the Summer of 1949 and the next summer on a Sierra Club High Trip led by David Brower that started in the back country of Yosemite National Park, headed north through the Minarets Wilderness and circled back to Tuolumne Meadows. For many years Philip Hyde kept up his association and correspondence with Virginia and Ansel Adams, from time to time visiting them at their home in Carmel.
Philip Hyde Teaches At The Ansel Adams Workshops In Yosemite Valley
In 1968, Ansel Adams invited Philip Hyde to sit in on a workshop at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley. Within the next few years, Philip Hyde began to teach the Ansel Adams June Workshop with Ansel Adams and eventually co-led the Color Workshop for years with William Garnett, Wally MacGalliard, Steve Crouch, David Cavagnaro and others. Philip Hyde also taught the Ansel Adams Landscape Workshop with John Sexton, Stu Levy, Joan Myers and others. The Sierra Photographic Center based in El Portal, California just outside the park, also hosted workshops in Yosemite National Park that Philip Hyde taught, as did the Yosemite Institute and the University of California Extension with such teachers as Philip Hyde, Wynn Bullock, Al Weber, Huntington Witherill, Pirkle Jones, Dave Bohn, Steve Crouch, Art Bacon, Bob Kolbrenner and others. For an introduction and list of the workshops Philip Hyde taught in other places besides Yosemite National Park, see the blog post, “Photography Workshops Taught By Philip Hyde.” In the mid 1970s Best’s Studio was renamed the Ansel Adams Gallery and Ansel’s son, Michael and his wife Jeanne Adams took over the business from his mother Virginia Best Adams. Virginia’s father, Harry Best, originally opened his “studio” to sell his paintings in a tent in 1902. The Ansel Adams Gallery Workshops continued and Philip Hyde with them into the 1980s when he made a number of his best color landscape photographs in Yosemite National Park, before or after teaching workshops, while still lugging around his 4X5 Baby Deardorff View Camera in his 60s.
Ardis And Philip Hyde’s Last Yosemite Sierra Nevada High Country Trip
Ardis and Philip Hyde made their last Sierra Nevada pack trip into the Yosemite High Country July 24 – August 3, 1991, six days before her 66th birthday and 12 days before his 70th birthday. They hiked 6.7 miles the first day from the Dog Lake Trailhead on the Vogelsang Trail to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp. Vogelsang offered “luxurious” tent deck cabins and a common building. Ardis Hyde wrote in her travel log, “Pack trains and numerous hikers going in both directions. The path is a groove but the going is easy and the altitude not noticeable at our slow pace.” They stayed at Vogelsang High Sierra Camp four nights and made side trips while Philip Hyde photographed. The flowers Ardis Hyde identified around Vogelsang were mountain pretty face, alpine hulsea, mountain jewel flower, soft arnica, Gordon’s ivesia, mountain wallflower and ball head sandwort. They also saw an adult Golden Eagle and an immature Golden Eagle. More details of this pack trip in future blog posts. The hike to Merced Lake Camp was 7.6 miles, where they also stayed four nights and then hit the trail at 6:30 am for the long “mostly up” 10 mile hike to Sunrise Camp where they camped for two nights before hiking out to Tuolumne Meadows to end their pack trip and a life-long exploration of the Sierra Nevada High Country and a love of mountain wilderness, particularly in Yosemite National Park.
Falling In Love With The Wilderness Of The Sierra Nevada
This life-long love affair with mountains and Yosemite National Park began for Philip Hyde in 1938 at age 16. The next year at age 17, for the second time he rode in the back of an open truck from San Francisco across California’s Great Central Valley with his Boy Scout friends, “through the foothills of the Sierra into the deep canyon of the Merced River,” as he described it in “Notes On A Life Of Photography” in “The Range of Light”:
This time we headed for Lake Tenaya over the old Tioga Road–that magnificent, unexcelled display road–narrow, twisty, bumpy, steep. We couldn’t go fast; the road’s low standard prevented it–so naturally we saw more of the country, some of the finest in the Sierra Nevada. At Tenaya we had the lake and the wonderful granite sand beach at the east end to ourselves. A camper could borrow one of the camp’s canoes, which I did one night, paddling alone out on the silent, dark lake. I remember sitting for long minutes, my head cocked back so I could see, entranced by the millions of pin-points of light–a city kid whose only views of the night sky had been through fog or haze and light-flared dense city air. That was my first brush with the immensity, silence and solitude of wilderness.