It was a slightly cloudy day.

It was on this day, in 1941, that a photograph which over the years has attained iconic status was taken. Ansel Adams's photograph "Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941" has been reproduced countless times. It's rightfully considered a classic.

When Adams saw this scene, he knew that it had to be photographed. The story of the taking of the photograph can be found on a page of the website of Housatonic Museum of Art. On that same page we can learn how, though it was apparently well known that Adams wasn't particularly meticulous about dating his photographs, the date of this moonrise was determined:
Adams said he often disregarded the dates of his negatives, causing dismay among historians. Moonrise was dated anywhere between 1940 and 1944. "Dr. Elmore of the High Altitude Observatory at Boulder, Colorado, put a computer to work on the problem. Using data from a visit to the site, analysis of the moon's position in the photograph, and lunar azimuth tables, he determined that the exposure was made at approximately 4:05 P.M. on October 31, 1941."
This photograph also carries the weight of history. Not only is it a very well known image - it is also among those best known for being doctored. The story of that doctoring appeared in the Boidem, as is to be expected, in a very different context, four and a half years ago, quoted from the May, 1998 Atlantic Online article Photography in the Age of Falsification by Kenneth Brower:
In his first years of printing his most famous photograph, Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941, Ansel Adams, in his words, "allowed some random clouds in the upper sky area to show." They always annoyed him, and in the 1970s he arranged in the darkroom for those clouds to evaporate. In his celebrated Winter Sunrise, The Sierra Nevada From Lone Pine, California, Adams deleted from the dark foothills of the middle ground the big "LP" that the little town's high school students had laid out in whitewashed stones.
Although the photograph may not be a totally accurate representation of Hernandez at that moment on that particular day, it should probably be considered an accurate representation of what Adams saw. And of course doctoring in the name of art probably can't be considered a vice.

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