June is just around the corner and that means the season for hiking, biking, trail running and summer mountain photography in the high country is finally upon us. It’s definitely my favorite time of the year and… ok, I know what you’re thinking, “why does a dude who likes summer so much live in Alaska?” Good question. Not sure. Maybe it’s got something to do with the whole 24-hour daylight thing. Or else it’s because I like to “binge” my way through things like summer.
Anyway, while running the other day over rocks and tundra on on snow-free mountain trails, I started thinking about what it is in life that drives me so much. What I came up with is that I like to see stuff.
Yes, sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Almost too simple. Well, I guess I’m easy. I just like to see stuff, especially from different vantage points. I think that’s why I like to climb, hike long alpine ridges, ski and even fly airplanes, because activities like those put me in places where I can look down upon the landscape from above, or look across the rows of mountain ridges and summits from a similar height.
And that’s obviously what drives my photography. I’m compelled to capture scenes that require a certain level of physical, and often mental effort in order to see them from the viewpoints that excite me the most. I seem to get immense joy and satisfaction from letting my visual sense run wild. For me it’s as much about the activity as it is about the view. I know this because of the fact that I don’t enjoy hiking in the deep forest nearly as much as I like ambling across a broad ridge between peaks.
My energy level and excitement begin to spike whenever I pop above treeline and enter the alpine environment. And when I have a camera and I see some kind of cool photo opportunity start to unfold as I ascend into areas that offer vast views, I go into total overdrive with these photo-inspired bursts of adrenaline that give me the energy to get to that great vantage point that I might see over there.
They’re always temporary, though, because at some point, I run into temporary oxygen depletion and lactic acid buildup in my muscles. Then it’s rest for a minute or two, and continue on until I see another great image making opportunity off in the distance. Repeat.
What simple concept or mantra describes your photography and your drives in life? Love to hear. Share you comments below.