Just before leaving for two years of graduate piano study at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, I visited Yosemite National Park for the first time. This was my first real camping trip—and it was a revelation. In the tiny practice rooms at Eastman, I kept dreaming of the wide-open spaces of the Sierra. George Eastman, the founder of the Eastman School of Music, also founded a company named Kodak, which was headquartered in Rochester. Thus, the public library there had a superb photography section. This was where I searched for Yosemite books, and discovered Ansel Adams. Adams himself trained as a pianist, and later turned to photography. I had spent many hours in my father’s darkroom, and enjoyed making “happy-snap” prints of friends. But I never realized that photography could also be an art form….
Another revelation was a trip a few years later to the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona. With a pair of white gloves, one was free to look through boxes of prints by masters like Edward Weston, Jerry Uelsmann, and Ansel Adams. I especially remember holding in my hands the prints from Ansel’s Portfolio Five. I had never seen prints like these before—so brilliant that I felt I needed sunglasses! I wanted to be able to make prints like this, prints that glowed from within.