Carleton Watkins’ position as a preeminent photographer of the American West is undisputed. He is considered by many to be the greatest American photographer of the nineteenth century. During his career of some fifty years, Watkins traveled the western US, making thousands of remarkable, historically important images. From breathtaking pictures of Yosemite, the Pacific Coast, and the scenery along the Columbia River, to the vast Sierra Nevada, these images provide an unparalleled visual record of the West. Watkin’s artistic vision was both refined and evocative. It is in large part due to the persuasive power of Watkin’s mammoth plate images of Yosemite that the area was set aside as a National Park.