If giant monoliths were all that comprised his images, then that would be true. However, his images contained much more, all of which were integral to the image: trees, lakes, streams, towns, people, etc. One of my favorite images of his was of a tree alongside the Merced River, which has now fallen. It's gone. Not a loss on par with Dodo birds or passenger pigeons, but a loss none the less. As well, the road on which he photographed his famous moonrise/Hernandez is gone, or at least very difficult to locate. Nor is the town anywhere near the same. Stieglitz and O'Keefe are both dead.
His clock was not all that slow.
I'll concede the point. I'm 79 and I've been looking at Ansel's prints since I was pretty young, so I have a reasonable familiarity with them. In the fifties, when I was really cranking up on photography I was pretty taken with his stuff. In the sixties I read his five books on photography and did a lot of shooting in the mountains with a 4 x 5 view camera. I'd develop those film sheets individually, and even, in a few cases, make modifications in the developer according to Ansel's ideas. I shot a lot of what Wordsworth called rocks and stones and trees -- and rivers and narrow valleys and landscapes from the top of Pikes Peak. Here's something like that. It's from 2004, shot with a D100, and not up to the quality of a 4 x 5, but it's the kind of thing I used to shoot back then.
I had a bunch of rocks and rivers and landscapes hung in my house. Eventually, though, the bloom faded from the rose. For some reason that point coincided with the realization that people were a lot more interesting than rocks or stones or trees. I've never lost that feeling, and nowadays my office has more pictures of the fading glory of small prairie towns than anything else.
Speaking of prairie towns brings me to the question: where in North Dakota? In the late fifties I used to fly a Beaver out of Malmstrom AFB in Great Falls -- all over what we used to call the "highline:" the radar sites we had along the northern border of the U.S. and southern border of Canada. When I left Great Falls I was stationed at Beausejour, Manitoba for about two and a half years and used to fly a Beaver back and forth from the radar site outside Beausejour to the RCAF base in Winnipeg and down to Grand Forks. I still love that country.