Every once in a while I rediscover photos in my archives which I had overlooked the first time I edited through them. In this category I will post these older photos that I’ve resurrected “from the vault.” The photos I post here have not been posted in my galleries before.
As 2012 comes to a close, I thought I’d take a look back and post my personal favorite photos from the year. 2012 was a momentous year in my life since Claudia and I got married in August! But photographically speaking it’s been a relatively quiet year, unlike 2011 when I spent more time in foreign countries than I spent in the US. This year Claudia and I were happy to mostly just be “home” in Colorado, though we did manage several big road trips to Montana and the deserts of California, Arizona, and Utah. (None of the desert photos made the cut here… they just can’t compete with the mountains!)
It’s insanely difficult to whittle down a year’s worth of photos to only 12; a list of 16 or 20 would have been much easier! But “12 for ’12” was my theme here so I had to do it. Without further ado, here’s my 12 favorite photos from 2012.
Since I’m lacking any new recent photos to share, I dug into the “vault” and found a few unreleased photos from my 2009 trip to Norway to share. The first two are new drum scans from my stack of 4×5 film.
Above is the beautiful mountain of Otertind, in northern Norway, reflected in a calm river on a gorgeous blue sky morning. Otertind’s striking profile is actually more attractive from a more distant perspective.
The scrambly climb up Hermannsdalstinden in the Lofoten Islands was one of the most challenging and fun hikes I did during my six weeks in Norway, and the view from the top remains one of the most rugged mountain vistas I’ve witnessed to date. This view here is only one slice of the incredible 360º panorama encompassing granite peaks, deep fjords, alpine lakes, and of course the endless ocean beyond.
Just phenomenal scenery over there in Norway! I hope to return someday.
I am in the midst of the worst snowboarding season I’ve experienced in my snowboarding career. With the super sketchy avalanche conditions here in Colorado this winter, I haven’t been snowboarding much at all, and I can’t help but reminisce about better times on the snow! Below are a few photos of me snowboarding at Engelberg, Switzerland last winter, taken by my friends Kevin and Jonas.
As you may know if you follow this blog, last winter I spent most of the season in Engelberg, Switzerland. It wasn’t exactly a big winter there either – at least statistically speaking. The season was characterized by occasional big storms followed by weeks of sun. At the time, I enjoyed exploring all kinds of new terrain in the spectacular Alps, but I was also thinking that, well, it just wasn’t that great of a winter. The thing is, when I was in the midst of it, during those weeks-long dry stretches I couldn’t help but think that way. I couldn’t help but think about how much better it could be, about how much more powder I could potentially have been riding on a more generous snow season.
Funny thing is, from my perspective a year later, looking back on my winter in Switzerland I can only remember it as nothing short of epic! This is a phenomenon I’ve experienced before, after other big trips. As time passes I forget about all the in-between downtimes, and all the highlights condense into what I can only recall as a fantastic series of experiences! Indeed, when I think about all the powder days and incredible descents I did score in the Alps last winter, it really does stand out in my mind as one of my most memorable winters.
I think it’s amazing how our memories do this – how they become refined over time, how the mundane stretches of time condense and settle into insignificance while the high points come together and grow in prominence in our minds. Yet I also wonder why it takes me a year or more to gain the perspective to see just how special those moments were as a whole. It’s a great thing to have memories that I can forever cherish and reflect upon, but it’s not good to only be able to truly appreciate those experiences through the rear view mirror. So, I think it’s important to strive for that perspective in the moment. Of course the highlights will be sweet while they’re happening, but it’s those in-between downtimes when I need to relax and see the bigger picture, instead of expecting everything to be awesome every single day and being disappointed when it’s not.
This last month and a half has been one big “in-between downtime” – not snowboarding much, not photographing much, not really getting outside much at all. But I’m not bothered by it. In fact I’m taking advantage of it. I’ve actually been having fun working on some big projects that I’ve had on the back burner for years; I wake up every morning eager to get back to work and get it all finished while I have this chance to focus. So while I know that this snowboarding season will be forgettable, I’m making the best of it in other ways. And in the meantime, I can still savor my memories of powder days past!
Panoramic view of Titlis and pretty much most of the terrain of Engelberg.
I look at this photo now and I recall so many sweet descents all throughout this incredible terrain. At left center where the radio tower is is the top of Titlis – it takes one gondola and two tram rides to ascend the 6,000 vertical feet to the top there. Below that is the Steinberg Glacier. At far left is the Laub, an incredible 3,000 vert slackcountry face. Behind that is Fürenalp, and way back behind there is the Surenen valley. In the center is Jochstock, with its great lines off either side. To the right of that, more great terrain.
Back home in “the Switzerland of America” this winter, I haven’t been getting out into the mountains as much as I’d like due to the sketchy avalanche conditions. On the bright side, I’ve been taking the opportunity to work on some projects that have been on the back burner for years. Among other things, I’m learning Adobe InDesign book publishing software and am excited to start creating some photo books. I might even have time to finally put together a screensaver app for sale on my website. So, stay tuned… I’ve got some good stuff in the pipe!
Here are a few photos “from the vault”, from my trip to Peru a year ago. Both were taken along our trek around the Cordillera Huayhuash. One of my favorite shots from the trek was from this same spot but at sunset. Because I liked that one better, with its softer, calmer light and clouds, I never posted this version from sunrise. But this one definitely has some pop, eh?
I took this panorama during one of the more spectacular bits of hiking during the 11-day trek. That day we came from over a pass off the right side of the photo, but instead of taking the standard trail down through the valley, we hiked along this high ridgeline, with a huge views of the mountain range the whole way. We ended up at a lake down in the valley on the left side of the photo, under impressive peak of Jirishanca.
My spontaneous three week trip to Peru last June ended up being a wonderful decision, not the least because I met my girlfriend Claudia on this trek! I would have never guessed before this that I’d soon be spending six months in the Alps to be with her. And she arrives to Colorado on Monday!!! So thank you, Peru!
Here’s yet another 4×5 photo from the archives, unearthed from the depths of a backup harddrive where it’s been collecting dust for 4 years. This was taken back in September 2006, during a backpacking trip in the San Juans with fellow photographers Momo Vuyisich and his friend Csaba. (See more photos from the trip here). We had arrived at the high elevation Columbine Lake in the afternoon in the midst of a rain/sleet/snow storm and sat around in our tents for a while. When we noticed that the storm was clearing we quickly hiked to a high ridgeline above the lake and beheld this amazing view of the storm clouds clearing off the peaks! This was the first shot I took, with a wide angle lens. Since the clouds were lifting so fast, I quickly switched to a longer lens, refocussed, and shot a second, tighter shot that has been a favorite ever since. This one here has more of the clouds, though, and looks really cool especially at full resolution.
I’ll never forget witnessing and photographing this fleeting spectacle from such a lofty vantage point. Nor will I forget Momo’s enthusiasm… he kept shouting “Woooohooooo!!!!! Woooohooooo!!!!!” Good times…
By the way, this orange mountain here is one of my all time favorite mountains on Earth… because of the amazing snowboarding lines it offers in the winter! I’ve ridden countless different lines on many different sides of it over the years. See, and read on below…
Here’s another 4×5 photo “from the vault.” This is Litlmolla island, near the town of Svolvær in the Lofoten Islands, just north of the Arctic Circle. Taken in August of last summer, during a six week trip through Norway.
#2, you ask? Here’s “#1.” When I first edited my photos after the trip, I chose to post #1 in my gallery, probably because I initially preferred the warmer light on the island and horizon. However, a year later as I look at the two again, this one here is clearly my favorite. I prefer its subtle tones and softer colors, and as a whole it has a lot more feeling to it. As an extra bonus, #2 was shot on large format film (#1 was from a much smaller resolution digital camera).
A photographer friend of mine Dave is traveling somewhere over there right now… I’m looking forward to seeing his photos after he gets back.
Here’s a photo I just dug up from the archives, taken back in August 2006 during a 4 day backpacking loop hike in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. This photo was shot with the large format 4×5 film camera, with a 135mm lens. Seeing this makes me want to get back to Wyoming again for a summer backpacking trip!
I just “found” this photo from back in July 2006, when some friends and I hiked a circumnavigational route around Wetterhorn Peak, a 14er in the Uncompahgre Wilderness of the San Juans in southwest Colorado. For a portion of this day, smoke from a nearby forest fire filled the high alpine basin, obscuring the view of Wetterhorn in a blue haze.
I just dug this photo from the dusty depths of my hard drive. I took this sunset shot of Snow Peak (13,024 ft.) way back in March 2004. I was living in Denver at the time, and took advantage of an unseasonably warm spell in March to go winter camping up on this high ridge in the Gore Range, just east of Vail.
One of the great things about the Gore Range is that on the west side of the range there are numerous high points and ridges that are relatively safely accessible in the winter, offering awesome panoramic views of the main spine of the range. Better yet, the west side of the range gets great sunset alpenglow light since there are no large ranges directly to the west. From a photography point of view, sunset shooting is always a bit easier since you don’t have to wake up early, and you can spend the afternoon casually scoping out photo possibilities. On this evening, I had a really fun photo shoot; there were so many photo possibilities in every direction, and the wind-sculpted sastrugi snow formations on the ridge provided lots of interesting foreground possibilities. You can see some more photos from this evening here, here, and here.