Photo of the Week- "Solitude"

March 12, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

SolitudeSolitudeLocation- Gallatin National Forest

Image is copyrighted and cannot be used for any reason without expressed written consent by Steve Hinch

I woke up early on Saturday, as usual, and saw the conditions in the sky looked as though the sunrise might be interesting, so I geared up and headed out.  Friday’s high temperatures were in the 40’s with rain but it was 24°F as I headed out, making everything very slick.  In the pre-dawn darkness, I put on my crosscountry skis and headed out towards my destination.  The packed snow was covered with an icy crust but under that it was very weak and, even on skis, I broke through a few times.  Since it’s mid-March, I was also aware that an early rising grizzly could be out, so I was more aware of my surroundings than I had been while skiing the same areas the past couple of months.  I found the spot where I wanted to photograph and waited for the sky to change.  As I sat there, I noticed tracks from the bison as they migrated away from Yellowstone.


As I sat there, I thought about compositions for how I wanted to photograph the scene.  My thoughts drifted to two of the greats of color photography; David Muench and Galen Rowell.  These two landscape photographers changed the way we photograph landscapes in the modern era more than any other photographers.  Muench popularized the wide angle technique of placing a prominent foreground subject in the photo.  It’s a technique most still use and no one has improved upon.  At the same time, I don’t think anyone has ever been able to emulate the work done by the late Galen Rowell.  I don’t think anyone will change photography as much as these did since they did what they did with the camera, not with a computer.


The clouds started to light up and I quickly changed my focus to the subject at hand and trying my meager best capture this beautiful moment in nature.  For all our modern technology, I don’t think there’s any experience that can touch the human soul as there is when out in nature.  The light changed by the minute.  The snow told the story of the recent past with bison tracks near the river and fox tracks through the willows.  A raven’s constant caw was the only sound besides the flowing river.  I skied along the river a little longer just to enjoy the moment for as long as could.  The warm temperatures had melted some areas considerably already, so I removed my skis and walked on the frozen ground.  Now the noisy sound of my skis scraping the ice was gone.  The clouds, minutes before were so colorful, moved in, blocking the sun, and now I was in a landscape of grey and white.  It was time to ski back to the car and head home.  An my thoughts shifted to the pot of coffee waiting for me and hoping it was still warm.


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