I am a young(ish) photographer, realist and nature lover. I do think his images are relevant as what he photographed was actually there,albeit interpreted. Whilst I understand that some might not connect with his vision and find it 'nourishing', I cannot understand how anyone would 'reject it' as it represents a reality if only a transient one. There is for me an inherent sadness in many of his images as we all know that much of what he photographed has changed or at least its context has, due to encroachment.
Whilst Ansel was undoubtedly clever he was not trying to be 'clever'. There is nothing smarmy or pretentious about what he did as to do so would go against his objectives. He was an honest grafter and those who bash him IMO fail to understand what he was actually trying to do, whether they 'like it' or not.
I have huge admiration and respect for what he did and why he did it. This and my own love of the outdoors gives me a rush when I see (some of) his images. It need have nothing to do with photography but emotions more primeval than that.