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The Spanish word sierra means “range of mountains,” and is usually found in combination with other words, such as Sierra Blanca (White Range), Sierra Madre (Mother Range, or Central Range), and Nevada (Snowy Range). Occasionally las sierras is used to designate a group of mountain ranges or ridges. In the Spanish narratives of exploration una sierra nevada is frequently found written without capital initials, referring simply to a snow-covered range of mountains. It was in this that our own Sierra Nevada was first designated. Early in the nineteenth century it was sometimes called the California Range by American explorers, but gradually the Spanish phrase prevailed, and after a while it became a specific name and took its place on all maps. The Sierra Nevada is distinctly a unit, both geographically and topographically, and is well described as “una sierra nevada.” Strictly speaking, therefore, we should never say “Sierras,” or “High Sierras,” or “Sierra Nevadas” in referring to it. Nevertheless, these forms are so frequently found in the very best works of literature and science that it would perhaps be pedantic to deny their admissibility. It becomes, therefore, a matter of preference, and for our part we rather like to keep in mind the unity of our great range by calling it simply [“The Sierra” or “The Sierra Nevada.”](http://www.thehighsierra.org/sierra_or_sierras.htm)
The photographer took a beautiful photo.