Quote Originally Posted by jovo
I think dfcardwell's essay above resonates with me strongly. This is anything but a beautiful scene, but it nonetheless conveys a great deal of beauty because of the way the emotion of it is translated visually. It's the antithesis of the color, calendar kind of photograph that's so "pretty", and so easily dismissed, because it doesn't seem to have filtered through the photographer in a manner that is emotionally expressive. The irony is that AA's work is probably best known by the calendars of it that have offered only a few of his images repeatedly year in and year out.
Why was the scene not beautiful? how do you know it was very different to the photograph?

What has Ansel done that has changed it so? How is this "emotion translated visually" so that it differs from the real scene (in ways other than tone, contrast, selective composition etc)?

I agree about the emotional effect (some of) his images have but would argue that the relative serenity/beauty/tranquility imparted into this image was simply a product of his being able to experty take control of harsh lighting (which bear in mind our eyes have little trouble with it is only film that struggles with this sort of brightness range...)