Emerald Merced
Emerald Merced
Emerald Merced
Emerald Merced

Christopher Burkett

Emerald Merced

Yosemite, California, 2003

Original Cibachrome Photograph

Pristine condition

certified authentic
Add to Collection $3,000.00
Emerald Merced
Emerald Merced
Emerald Merced
Emerald Merced



Original Cibachrome photograph individually handmade by Christopher Burkett from 8×10-format transparency film, mounted on cotton rag Antique Rising Museum Board. Signed in pencil on mount with title, date and edition number on verso.

The 24×62 inch Museum Edition is limited to 15 and only a few remain. Due to the size and delicate nature of the artworks, they must be shipped directly to a professional framer of your choice. For clients in the Bay Area, we also offer framing and installation services. Please contact us for additional information.



“This image is of the Merced River where it runs through Yosemite National Park. In 2003, I was invited to teach a photographic workshop in Yosemite. I arrived at the park two days early, so I could scout out potential photographic areas for the students to look for worthwhile images. I came across this brilliantly lit quiet scene in the middle of the day right around noon.

There are some images that photograph best in full sunlight, even on transparency film, and this is one of them. Full sun was needed to penetrate the naturally green water, to illuminate the rock walls and trees which were being reflected in the water and to provide enough light to catch the ripples without undue blurring. Oftentimes moving water is best shown with enough movement to simulate the way we actually perceive moving water. That is, not frozen in time, like ice, nor excessively blurred.

Obtaining a quick enough shutter speed to render the water the way I wanted to, with full detail in the many small ripples and reflections but still with a smooth “watery look” required very precise focusing on the ground glass, using the front and back tilts to maximize the image quality. I used a 450mm lens at f/22 for 1/125 second and made one exposure on Ektachrome 100 Plus Professional. Normally I use Fuji film but there was a six month period when Provia had an overall magenta cast, so I used this Ektachrome until Fuji solved the problem.

The image has very delicate colors and tones and it took me two years to be able to successfully make a Cibachrome of it. We have one of the larger museum size Cibachromes in our home properly lit with halogen flood lights. From certain viewpoints, the shimmering reflections appear to give a “rippled curtain” effect that provides great depth to the image.

For me, there is a luminous sense of peace in this image that I keep coming back to. I continually marvel at the interactions of the pastel warm and cool colors, the wealth of detail in the stones lining the river bed and the shimmering light that plays across the surface.”


All Christopher Burkett photographs sold at Photography West are new and in pristine condition. HD videos of the individual piece you are purchasing are available upon request. For more information, please


Christopher Burkett has labored for over four decades to create what many regard as the most impeccable and luminous color photographs in the history of photography. Gifted with a contemplative spirit as well as painter’s eye, Burkett has an uncommon ability to capture the natural world in a manner that simultaneously reflects “the world behind the world” as Minor White and Paul Caponigro might have put it. And although Burkett has been compared by curators to American color landscape photographers Eliot Porter and Ernst Haas, whose genre of American landscape photography he extended, neither of them exclusively developed their own film, nor attempted the darkroom standard clearly in evidence upon viewing Burkett’s original Cibachromes.

christopher burkett in his darkroom


Cibachrome, also known as Ilfochrome, is among the most stable of all color photographic processes. The dyes reside within the emulsion layers, giving the photograph its characteristic color saturation. The base is a polyester triacetate, rather than fiber-based paper, which adds to the longevity. It was a positive-to-positive photographic process based on the Gasparcolor process, created in 1933 by Bela Gaspar, a Hungarian chemist. Purchased after the merger of Ilford UK and Ciba-Geigy Photochemie of Switzerland, the process was first trademarked and marketed as Cibachrome in 1963. Each Cibachrome is composed of ten layers containing various combinations of light-sensitive silver halides and dyes that are sensitive to blue, green, or red light waves, which gives it an incredible depth and three-dimensional quality. After exposure of a positive, either through an enlarger or direct contact, the Cibachrome must be developed with black-and-white developing chemicals. This step creates a silver negative image within the layers. Next, the photograph must be bleached. The bleaching rids the photograph of dyes in proportion to the amount of silver that has been developed in the previous step and produces a positive dye image in color. In 2011, Cibachrome/Ilfochrome products were discontinued and it is now considered a historical process.