Ansel Adams was the first photographer I knew by name. Growing up in California, I fell in love with his images of the great parks and the West.
Source: National Archives: http://www.archives.gov/research/ansel-adams/images/aag01.jpg
As I got back into photography, I learned more about the man behind the camera and the true diversity of his career and the images he produced over the years.
I highly recommend that any photographer take the chance to learn more about Adams and his influence on photography through some of the many resources available in print and on-line.
Here are a few places to start:
The National Archives has some of his work which he produced for the US Government:
Ansel Adams at 100: San Francisco Museum of Art
Ansel Adams Books
A few books I recommend include:
Ansel Adams in Color : Proof that he did a lot more than Black & White
Ansel Adams: 400 photographs : A great survey of his career in 400 photos
Examples: The Making of 40 photographs : Learn from Adams himself