VIEW THE PORTFOLIOS

Ten galleries of images representing David's work, both personal and professional, over the last 8 years.

READ THE BOOKS

If you've tried the books about gear and long for something more, David's poured his heart into 20 books and ebooks for you.

COLLECT THE PRINTS

Two carefully curated collections of 24 beautiful fine-art prints and folios for your walls or your personal collection.

Oct 24th

2014

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CategoryPosted in: Study the Masters

Study the Masters: Galen Rowell

studythemasters_rowell_05Winter sunset, Gates of the Valley, Yosemite National Park (California, 1990)

Split rock and cloud, Eastern Sierra, CaliforniaSplit rock and cloud, Eastern Sierra (California, 1976)

“Photography was a means of visual expression to communicate what I had seen to people who weren’t there. At first I was disturbed that 99 percent of my images didn’t look as good as what I had seen. The other one percent, however, contained some element–a beam of light, a texture, a reflection–that looked more powerful on film than to my eye. Without this I never would have been drawn toward photography as a career. I became fascinated with trying to consistently combine photographic vision and a visualization in my mind’s eye to make images that exceeded the normal perception before my eyes.”

Galen Rowell (1940-2002) was as much to this generation of outdoor, landscape, and conservation photographers as Ansel Adams was before him. Born and raised in California, he started climbing mountains at ten years old on Sierra Club outings, and by sixteen was making his first roped climbs in Yosemite. Over the next fifteen years he made over a hundred first ascents of new routes in Yosemite Valley and High Sierra backcountry. He was deeply accomplished, participating in major expeditions around the world.  Rowell made the first one-day ascents of Mount McKinley in Alaska and Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, and first ascents of Himalayan peaks such as Cholatse and the Great Trango Tower. In last 20 years of his life, cut short by a plane crash when he was 61, he made more than 35 journeys to the mountains of Nepal, India, Pakistan, China, Tibet, Africa, Alaska, Canada, Siberia, New Zealand, Norway, and Patagonia.

It was into this passion for adventure and the outdoors that he brought his Nikon film cameras, becoming a full-time photographer in 1972, selling his small automotive business to make the transition, and getting his first major magazine assignment less than a year later—a cover story for National Geographic. More than an observer, Rowell was an active participant in the images he made and, like Ansel Adams, advocated a very intentional creative process, and used similar words – like pre-visualization – to describe that process. And like Adams, who gave us the Zone System, Rowell pioneered the graduated neutral density filters, in collaboration with filter makers Singh-Ray, that many of us use today.

Galen collected the usual awards and accolades (if not more of them than many), saw his work published widely in Life, National Geograhic, Outdoor Photographer, and others, and published 17 large-format books of his work, both in images and text, relaying his passion and advocacy for the world, always coming home to the Californian Sierras he loved so much. Rowell perished,with his wife Barbara, in a small plane, while coming home from a workshop in the arctic.

“Before Mountain Light the many magazines I had worked for never let me say what really motivated my work, and how different my style of participatory photography is compared to that of an observer with a camera who is not part of the events being photographed. It is the difference between a landscape viewed as scenery from a highway turnout and a portrait of the earth as a living, breathing being that will never look the same twice.”

studythemasters_rowell_03Frosted Cottonwoods, Owens Valley, Eastern Sierra, (2001)

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Horsemen beneath giant sand dune, Pamir Range (China, 1980)

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Summer dawn beneath Mount Humphreys, Eastern Sierra (California, 2001)

You can find Galen’s work on his website  – MountainLight.com, but if you want more, I have all three of these on my shelves, and go back to them often. In fact, it’s probably time I cracked Inner Game open and visited my old friend, and mentor (from a distance; we never met) again.

Mountain Light: In Search of the Dynamic Landscape

Galen Rowell’s Inner Game of Outdoor Photography While this is not a book of photographs, per se, this one is a must-read to get into the heart and mind of one of the great modern landscape and conservation photographers. I know a number of photographers working today, myself included, that cut their teeth, or were strongly influenced by this book.

Galen Rowell: A Retrospective

Oct 21st

2014

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CategoryPosted in: Creativity and Inspiration, The Craft, The Life Creative

On Noise Reduction

Cavendish, Prince Edward Island We fear missing out, so we read it all, and listen to every voice we can, seldom aware that by doing so we’re missing so much more. This is not the post you think it might be. This is not about reducing the noise in your low-light, high-ISO, photographs. There’s software […]

Oct 20th

2014

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CategoryPosted in: News & Stuff, Travel

Back in (and from) Banff

I got back from two and a half months on the road just in time to get a last minute invitation from friends Dave Brosha and Paul Zizka to join them in Banff for a workshop. Emergency laundry. Flights booked – my first in over 8 months. And then 3 long days teaching in some […]

Oct 17th

2014

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CategoryPosted in: Study the Masters

Study the Masters: Ansel Adams

    Monolith, The Face of Half Dome, Ansel Adams. “I had been able to realize a desired image: not the way the subject appeared in reality but how it felt to me and how it must appear in the finished print” When I started this series I knew I was going to have to write […]

Oct 15th

2014

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CategoryPosted in: e-books, News & Stuff, Resources

The Best Deal in Education Ever

Today is the first day of the 5 Day Deal, an idea I like so much I’ll be kicking myself for years for not thinking it up myself. Here’s the deal: a bunch of photographic educators -some of the best on the planet, like Gavin Gough, and Zack Arias –  bundled some of their best […]