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Pillsbury was on his way to the head waters of the Yukon when he encountered John Muir who was one of the Harriman party, accompanying him on his cruise to Alaska, there to spend two months. Having connected, the two found in each other similar views on preservation of the natural world. The two parted, with Muir heading south and Pillsbury toward White's Pass and his passage down the entire length of the Yukon River. On his voyage Pillsbury took the panorama photos showing the opening of the mining fields and the natural wonders of Alaska's beauty.
Pillsbury took the photo below on the ship and later used it to illustrate an article about Muir which appeared in Camera Craft Magazine. In 1911 Muir would choose Pillsbury's photos to illustrate his last book, "The Yosemite."