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.
I just unearthed this photo taken back in February 2006. This is the view of Mt. Massive (center) and the Sawatch Range, as seen from the 14,440 foot summit of Mt. Elbert, the tallest mountain in Colorado.
I had hiked up Mount Elbert in the afternoon, knowing that the clear skies and full moon would provide plenty of light to make my way down at night. The evening turned out to be one of my most memorable summit experiences ever; the air was perfectly calm, I had warm clothes on, and I spent over three peaceful hours relaxing on the summit in the twilight and moonlight. During my time up there I also took what is perhaps my favorite photo to date, “Elbert’s Moonshadow”.
Both photos were taken with the 4×5 camera, with Provia film.
This was an early experiment with the 4×5 camera, taken back in January 2006 in the foothills above Boulder. I first exposed the film for a few minutes to record the city lights, then I covered up the bottom portion of the frame using a thin piece of cardboard cut to fit in my cokin filter holder. With the camera in the same position and the city lights blocked out to prevent overexposure, I left the lens open for several hours to capture the star trails.
It’s hard to see at web resolution, but on the center horizon are a bunch of light trails from airplanes taking off from Denver International Airport.
Just to switch it up from all my recent snowy posts, here’s a photo from a gorgeous summer day last December at Lake Wakatipu, near Queenstown, New Zealand. I snapped this photo along the road on my way to hike up for a sunset vista of Mount Earnslaw, which is the glaciated peak at the upper right here.
Mt. Aspiring in the moonlight, shrouded in clouds, November 2008. Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand. More about this particular trip here. It’s hard to believe this was just a year ago… it seems like ages already!
Here’s one more Patagonia photo from the vault. I’ve been on a roll lately digging these ones up. These last three photos I’ve posted are digital shots from the Ricoh GX100 camera. When I returned home from my month in Patagonia in 2007, I mostly forgot about all these since I was concentrated on editing and scanning my 4×5 film collection from the trip. So it has been fun to browse through these and find some forgotten gems.
This photo here is the famous Cerro Torre reflected in the glacier-fed Lago Torre. I took this shortly after an earlier, wideangle shot of the same scene with the 4×5 camera. That morning was one of the luckiest photo shoots I’ve ever had – to have this lake so calm in this notoriously windy place is extremely rare!
To add to my stoke after the shoot, this was only the second morning of a week-long outing. I was prepared to wait numerous days camping near this lake to hopefully score some good light conditions, so having it happen so soon freed me to continue on my trek to other valleys and adventures.
This photo shows one of the best summit views I’ve ever experienced, from atop Cerro Madsen, with a front-and-center view of Monte Fitz Roy, near El Chaltén, Argentina. This photo requires a bit of contemplation to begin to comprehend the enormous scale here. Consider that I took this photo standing on a 1800m (~6,000ft.) summit, with glaciers flowing around and below me. Monte Fitz Roy is 3400m (~11,200ft.) tall. This means that I’m looking directly up at a rock monolith towering a vertical mile above me, when I’m already standing on a lofty summit!
I feel like whenever I talk about Patagonian mountains I always end up babbling numbers of vertical feet. I think that’s because these kinds of mountains do not fit inside our minds; our brains simply cannot grasp the enormity, even when we’re standing there seeing it with our own eyes. The only way to make sense of it is to assign numbers and compare with mountains we’re used to. For instance, for those of you familiar with Colorado, consider that if you were standing at Maroon Lake near Aspen, looking up at the famous Maroon Bells, it would be roughly equivalent of just the rock face here on Fitz Roy. That begins to explain the enormity of the Patagonian landscape.
Here’s another Patagonia photo that I just dug up from the vault. I don’t think alpenglow gets much better than on Monte Fitz Roy in Argentine Patagonia! The peak towers ~8,000 vertical feet from where I was standing at the time. I took this with my trusty old Ricoh GX100, which was my digital supplement to my 4×5 camera on this trip, in November 2007. I still use the camera for snowboarding shots.
I noticed that I have quite a few sleeper Patagonia photos in my archives, so I’ll probably post a few more in the upcoming days.
Not only am I drowning in computer work, but I’ve also had a pesky cold this week, so all I can do to post on my blog is to browse my hard drive for old photos, and pretend that I’m out in the mountains again.
This is a photo of Lake Tekapo on the South Island of New Zealand in November last year. I shot this at a quick pitstop during a drive from Arthurs Pass to Wanaka. The wind was howling and of all the shots I took this is the only one where the lupines weren’t completely blurred from being blown around like crazy.
Speaking of lupines, New Zealand must be the lupine capitol of the world! I’ve seen some nice lupines in other places, but in New Zealand I saw entire fields of them. And I mean huge broad fields plump full of them! Pink, purple, yellow… Of course I have no photos to prove it. The best fields I saw were near Te Anau, but unfortunately I was riding a bus at the time and I don’t think the other passengers would have appreciated it if I screamed to stop and wait while I tromped around on some farmer’s land with my camera. Apparently though, lupines aren’t even native to New Zealand, and are considered a pest plant. They sure are beautiful though.
I took this photo of Thunder Creek Falls a year ago during a drive over Haast Pass, going from Wanaka to Fox Glacier, on the South Island of New Zealand. This impressive 28m waterfall is only about a 5 minute walk from the road through the rain forest. You can read some more about this portion of my trip here.
Here’s another one “from the vault”. This was taken back in November 2005 when Scott Bacon and I went for a pre-dawn hike up to Niwot Ridge in Indian Peaks above Boulder, Colorado. It was only the second time I had shot my 4×5 field camera, and the first decent photo I ever made with it. I was shooting with a 90mm Nikkor lens that Richie Voninski was kind enough to lend me.
I remember back then when I was just starting out with large format, I had all the pieces of my gear wrapped in socks and stuffed in different little bags throughout my backpack, and keeping track of it all was quite a challenge with numb fingers up on this cold windy ridge, trying to get it together before the sunrise alpenglow light faded away. In fact as I figured out soon enough, one of the biggest boosts for my large format photography performance was to get a camera case that could fit and organize all the different gear into one convenient and quickly accessible case.
Anyhow, when I got the film back from that morning, I was also introduced to one of the joys of 4×5 film, when most of my transparencies had big light-leak streaks going through the frame. (A warped Kodak Readyload holder was to blame). This was one of the ok shots, but you can still see faint traces of the light leakage at the bottom. So that was a good lesson to try to never let direct sunlight hit the camera while film is exposed.