Apparently, Ansel Adams had taken the photo right before he ended up moving to Yosemite and doing the greatest work of his life. Ansel Adams had hit a breaking point where he wasn’t sure how to instill creativity into his work. Adams wrote in his biography , “I have to do something in the relatively near future to regain the right track in photography. I am literally swamped with ‘commercial’ work — necessary for practical reasons, but very restraining to my creative work”.
Ansel Adams was fed up with the type of photography he was doing and it the results were showing up in his work. I always find it fascinating how a photographers attitude and personality will almost always show up in the photos they take. Ansel Adams was uninspired and it was showing.
On the other hand, when Ansel was inspired he took some of his best pictures. Take for example his photo -Georgia O’Keefe and Orville Cox, Canyon de Chelly National Monument. It was taken right around the same time as his much panned “O Little Town of Bethlehem” but it is regarded as one of his influential pictures and a personal favorite of his. When Ansel was inspired his work was masterful.