Of all of Adams’ images, this one has to look most like a painting. The sharpness of the photograph demonstrates the length Adams went to to set his camera at the narrowest aperture he could without getting blur.
Adams was a member of the f/64 group, a group of photographers that resisted creating a pictoralist effect to their photographs. The pictoralist philosophy was that photographs should be softened to give them a painted effect.
The f/64 group was for straight photograph, shooting a photograph so it represents reality. The ironic thing about it is that in this work Adams has created what looks identical to a realist painting.
Adams and other twentieth century photographers are discussed in detail in the book 101 Quick and Easy Secrets Taken from the Master Photographers of the Twentieth Century, including how to emulate their work.by