Just Like Everywhere…and Nowhere

Written by Alpenglow Images on May 10th, 2011

Despite my love for the high desert, I have to confess that it feels pretty good to be back in the mountains for the summer.  This weekend, we headed to the San Bernardino mountains for a quick, local, Mother’s Day camping trip.  On the way home, fog from a very heavy marine layer was working its way inland, and up into the foothills of the mountains.  I loved the way it was drifting through the valleys, and watching it move slowly gave a lovely sense of peace.

Click on the image to view it large on black (highly recommended)

Fog drifts in the valleys of the San Bernardino Mountains above Redlands

In the Clouds, May 2011

One of the things that gives this image its uniqueness is the skeletons of dead pine trees scattered throughout the hillside; however, its also those trees that make this a not-so-uncommon scene in the West.  The trees were killed by mountain pine beetles, which have not only devastated forests in southern California, but all over the West.  They burrow into the trees, and block their ability to assimilate nutrients.  Its interesting to me how the appeal of an image can be imparted from the biology that killed the trees.

This scene is also is a reminder of the nature of landscape photography in general.  Although you might see other scenes similar to this, no one will ever be able to make this same image again.  As I made this image, I thought to myself about coming back on a day with similar weather, when I have more time to try making images.  I probably will return at some point, but this was really serendipitous weather.  Running into (or in my case, haphazardly stumbling upon) an ephemeral scene like this, and being able to make an image of it, is really the essence of the craft.

I hope you had a fantastic Mother’s Day!



10 Comments so far ↓

  1. Julie Rorden says:

    A very emotional image, Greg! Though I’ve been “lost” in the San Bernardino mountains many times before, it wasn’t until last month’s wanderings that the mountain’s ruggedness and beauty really impacted me. Glad you had a chance to capture some of it.

  2. pj says:

    You’re right — it’s a one and only, and nicely done. Love it as a B/W. It sets the perfect tone.

  3. The unusual conditions you found for that excellent photograph will NEVER appear again. This is where the trap that I and other photographers fall into of thinking we can come back when we have more time, falls apart. Photography is a great lesson for life. Opportunities only come in windows. Once the window closes, that same opportunity never comes again. Life is short and we only have one chance to make the most of the gifts we are given. This aspect of life helps to keep us awake, aware and paying attention, if we choose.

    • David, this is really well said. Opportunities are windows, as you point out, and when they open, we must choose whether to take the risk of grabbing them. Having this in mind, can at the very least, make us more mindful in our lives…

  4. Sharon says:

    Stunning image, Greg. The shape of the fog is incredible. What a great print this must be.

    Photography makes you think about the uniqueness of every moment of our lives.I often think while shooting how no one else but me is seeing the scene I am seeing. I feel the challenge of trying to convey the emotions of being there to whomever sees the photograph.


  5. Alister Benn says:

    Interesting what David says.. I don’t think I really articulated that thought so well… Congrats on grabbing your window of opportunity..

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