The Earl Cecil Payne and Muriel Hopkins Payne Collection of Twentieth Century California Nature Photography

The Foundation is pleased to launch this online exhibit devoted to the landscape photography of Earl Payne (1921-2006). A native of California and a professional photographer Payne, as a pastime, enjoyed hiking the High Sierra, foothills, coast lines, and deserts of California and the Southwest. He especially loved capturing the beauty of bristlecone pines, wild flowers, and the changing seasons with his cameras. Frequently, his wife Muriel accompanied him. Knowing of the State Library’s interest in landscape photography, Library supporter Burt Thompson urged his dear friend Muriel to donate Earl’s portfolios. After a well-received exhibit in the Library, she then presented his “archive” consisting of thousands prints, negatives, and slides.

To date, California History Section staff and talented interns have cataloged and digitized thousands of Payne photographs. Foundation administrator Brittney Cook, a skilled photographer in her own right, has created this beautiful online exhibit. It is a small but inviting sampling of the brilliant work of Earl Payne. Enjoy!

For further information on Earl Payne see Issue No. 119 of the California State Library Foundation Bulletin or go to the Foundation’s website at  and scroll down to section titled “read the latest Bulletins” and click on Issue No. 119. Over 2,000 digitized Earl Payne photographs may be accessed on the State Library’s picture catalog via its web site at Click on catalogs and then click on picture catalog and type in the name Earl Payne.