Carleton Watkins, a South American native, lived a life of photography that is key to California history. The photographs he left behind display his personal vision of the birth and growth of California. Watkins is best known for his photographs of nature in Yosemite as well as the Pacific Coast. Watkins photographed the Monterey Peninsula in the 1880s, recording the continuously unfolding progression of the scenery along Seventeen-Mile Drive, which began and ended at the Hotel Del Monte. Near the hotel, Watkins created this image of a native cypress—windblown and with its roots exposed—clinging to the side of a rocky cliff.
Cypress Tree at Point Lobos, Monterey County 1883–85