Ansel Adams owns Yosemite Valley, photographically. His pictures have made this California landmark an international destination for tourists, many of whom, like the one seen here, are photo hobbyists trying to make Ansel Adamses of their own.
The picture of this sightseer was made by a streetwise New York photographer who was prospecting for a different kind of gold, trying to stake his own claim on Yosemite. Adams always put his big view camera on a tripod, so the tourist has put his little hand camera on one too. But then the man decided--what the heck!--just to pick up his camera, tripod and all, and take a snapshot.
This was when Mermelstein made his photograph, for which he used flash fill to counter the California sunshine. The sizzle of that artificial light on the hobbyist's tripod makes it clear that, whatever Mermelstein's photograph may be, it's not an Ansel Adams.