Today I hiked and snowboarded down Mt. Sneffels (see the riding photos in the next post). Here’s the classic view looking from the summit into Blue Lakes Basin. Notice all the ugly brown snow?
When it’s windy in the western states, dust blows from the deserts and ends up smothering the mountains. It’s a phenomenon that has probably happened naturally through the ages, but has become much worse in recent decades due in part to large scale grazing which erodes the desert soils. I’ve even heard that some of the dust blows all the way across the Pacific from huge dust storms in China!
In any case, the dust has a terrible effect not only on the snowpack but on the entire watershed. The dark dust absorbs much more solar radiation than pure white snow, causing a rapid meltdown of the snowpack. In heavy snow years like this year, it could cause flooding problems. In light snow years, it can cause premature meltdown, leading to drought conditions during the summer.
I am pleased that the Trust for Public Land recently published a magazine article about Wilson Peak featuring one of my photos of this iconic mountain near Telluride. I am even more pleased that access to Wilson Peak has been secured by the Trust for Public Land after years of being blocked by a Texan developer.
Wilson Peak is one of Colorado’s most beautiful and most recognized peaks, and in 2007 a Texan real estate developer who owned some mining claims below the mountain closed access to the standard hiking route (all other routes involve much more dangerous mountaineering). After negotiations with the National Forest Service made no progress, The Trust for Public Land stepped in and was able to purchase critical portions of the property in order to reopen and protect public access.
I am pleased to have been invited as one of the featured artists for this year’s Arts Beat in Ouray, on May 30th. A number of new large format prints will be on display in the Skol Gallery, which is also where I had a show last year.
I also was asked to design the poster for this year’s event, so naturally I chose a San Juan mountain photo theme!
Anybody who does not believe that the North Cascades are the most bad-ass mountains in the lower 48 should take a look at John Scurlock’s online gallery of aerial photographs of that rugged mountain range. Flying low circuitous routes in his homebuilt airplane and shooting though a plexiglas canopy, John has amassed an amazing collection of photos of the mountains of the Northwest. In the spirit of Bradford Washburn, John’s photos are both documentary and flat out stunning at the same time.
Check out his article “Flight to Desolation”, published in the NorthWest Mountaineering Journal (which by the way is great website). Also be sure to browse through John’s own online gallery.
My photo “Plitvice Waterfalls”, shown below, is by far my most popular photo. It seems to show up on Digg.com just about every month (much to the chagrin of the regular Digg members). Digg.com is a high-traffic web community that shares links to interesting web pages. I love to browse the comments on Digg, since they come from a seemingly random pool of viewers. Here’s some of the funnier comments I’ve read.
“If Jack Bauer’s gonna take time off from fighting terrorists to be a photographer, he seriously needs a better pseudonym.”
“That would look really nice in my backyard.”
“Reminds me of the jungle level in The lion king game for sega.”
“Not an incredible photo. Just incredible scenery.”
“F–k California and Florida, I want to be THERE.”
“I mean, how many waterfalls do you *need*? And they’re all over the place! It looks like Croatia’s just trying to show off, and has no real sense of style about it. Like they just came into waterfalls and couldn’t *wait* to use all of them. Tacky.”
“This should be the kind of place one can go to and enjoy a naked swim with his girlfriend without worrying about having pictures of his and specially her most beautiful ass being Dugg a day later.”
“Seeing that makes me want to go outside again!”
“i wanna build a huge tree fort and live there some day.”
“it’s an in-game DX10 render from Crysis.”
“These photos suck. simple as that.”
“You know what this picture needs? boobies.”
“Beautiful! I feel like urinating.”
“Wouldn’t be Digg if this wasn’t on once a month.”
“That’s not my pants! How on earth can that be paradise?”