Albert Bierstadt, one of the founders of the Hudson River School of painters, described his painting in a letter of November 3, 1876:
"The scene is laid in the Hetch Hetchy Cañon, California which lies some twenty miles north of the Yosemite and is rarely visited by the tourist because of its inaccessibility. It is smaller than the more famous Valley but it presents many of the same features in its scenery and is quite as beautiful. The season I have chosen is late Autumn when distant objects are mellowed by a golden haze and when the grass is dry and yellow.."
- Albert Bierstadt