WideRange.org is now MountainPhotography.com!

I am pleased to announce that after over 12 years of publishing my gallery website under the address of www.WideRange.org, I have changed the address to www.MountainPhotography.com! This address is obviously a perfect descriptor of my online gallery, it’s easier to remember, and it dovetails nicely with this blog address of www.MountainPhotographer.com.

All my old page addresses will redirect to the new corresponding addresses, so all existing external links will still work properly. Enjoy!

Ancient Bristlecone

Bristlecone, Pine, White Mountains, California

Ancient Bristlecone : Prints Available

The last rays of sunset illuminate a bristlecone pine, the oldest living organism on the planet. These trees can be nearly 5,000 years old; their wood is extremely dense and resistant to insects and fungi, and rather than suffering rot, the wood erodes like stone due to wind, rain, and freezing.

For a little field trip from Bishop one evening in late October, we drove up to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains, a high and dry mountain range on the east side of the Owens Valley. It’s a special feeling to walk amongst these statuesque trees, knowing that they have been standing there in this barren landscape longer than any living being on Earth!

Bishop

Rock Creek, Sierras, California

Next up, we headed to the town of Bishop, in the shadow of the mighty Eastern Sierra, to visit some friends who recently moved there from Colorado. We spent the better part of a week there, relaxing and checking out the area, and enjoying our friends’ generous hospitality.

Sierra Granite

When I was a kid growing up in San Diego, my dad used to take me on fishing trips around Bishop, but I don’t remember much about the mountains from then, except for the memories of the things we did. Back then, mountains were just mountains to me; I didn’t have the appreciation of different ranges that I do now, and I cared more about shooting my BB gun and throwing rocks into the lakes (which pissed off the fishermen to be sure!). Anyhow, when I see the Sierras now, I can’t help but be impressed, especially with fresh early season snows dusting the rugged peaks!

The mountains were calling my name loudly and I was dying to do some “serious” mountain photography while we were there, but we didn’t have winter hiking or camping gear with us, and besides it was windy as hell in the mountains and would have been admittedly miserable camping up there. So we just took it easy, went on a snowy day hike up the Rock Creek valley, and soaked in one of the wild hot springs near Mammoth.

We’ll be back for sure in another season for some summer trekking through the range. The Sierras are not only calling my name, but Claudia’s now too!

Our Big Day!

Claudia and Jack Brauer
Jack & Claudia Brauer. Photo by Melissa Plantz.

On August 4, Claudia and I got married! We had a small but immensely fun wedding ceremony and party here in Ouray. I want to give a big THANKS to all our family and friends that came to celebrate with us; and for those who couldn’t make it – we missed you but we will celebrate together soon!

It still amazes me how our paths from America and Germany crossed in the Cordillera Huayhuash in Peru two years ago. Crossed, and joined for good! I am forever grateful for that fateful trip, and I look forward to many adventures to come with Claudia – my friend, my partner, and now… my wife!

Mountains in Black & White

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, Yerupaja, glaciers

Yerupaja : Prints Available

The glaciated western faces of Yerupaja (6617m, 21,709 ft.), the second tallest mountain in Peru. 

If you follow my blog, or have browsed through my galleries, you know that I am a color photographer through and through. Lately, however, I’ve been experimenting and having fun with some black & white conversions, and thought I’d go ahead and launch a gallery of black and white mountain photos on my site! Some of these photos are exclusive to this gallery; others are conversions of color photos that already exist in other galleries. I intend to add more photos down the line, but for now it’s a start. Enjoy!

>> Mountains in Black & White <<

Nostalgia

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.

Snowboarding Engelberg Switzerland

Snowboarding Engelberg Switzerland

Snowboarding Engelberg Switzerland

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!

Panorama of Engelberg, Switzerland

LARGER VERSION here!

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.

You can see all my favorite ski and snowboard photos from my winter in Switzerland here.

Garth Lenz: Images of Beauty and Devastation

“The boreal forest is perhaps our best defense against global warming and climate change. The boreal forest sequesters more carbon than any other terrestrial ecosystem, and this is absolutely key. So, what we’re doing is we’re taking the most concentrated greenhouse gas sink – twice as much greenhouse gasses are sequestered in the boreal per acre than the tropical rain forests – and what we’re doing is we’re destroying this carbon sink, turning it into a carbon bomb. And we’re replacing that with the largest industrial project in the history of the world which is producing the most high-carbon, greenhouse-gas-emitting oil in the world.” – Garth Lenz, photographer