Date of Award

Fall 12-6-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Professional Writing (MAPW)



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Laura McGrath


Dr. William Rice


This project follows the life of one of the first landscape photographers in America, Carleton Watkins. Watkins rose to prominence after the photographs he took of Yosemite Valley in the Summer of 1861. Throughout this story, Carleton battles his inner demons and greedy competitors to prove himself as one of the greatest artists of his time. Unfortunately, the impact of Watkins has been forgotten about. Not only did his photographs inspire countless other artists, but they were also a catalyst in the creation of the Yosemite Grant of 1864, Americas first instance of environmental protection legislation. This grant set a precedent for more environment preservation in America for years to come. Peaks and Valleys is an excerpt of Carleton Watkins’s life and addresses his unparalleled contributions to art and environmental conservation.

Available for download on Saturday, December 05, 2026