Posted by: davepidgeon | October 8, 2009

Home to mountain gods: See the world of Ansel Adams

There have been times – visiting a poster store or staring at a framed photo of Tenyana Creek in Yosemite National Park that hangs in my living room – that I’ve wondered if the world really does belong to Ansel Adams. Or at the very least, Adams through his timeless black-and-white photography put an undeniable stamp on our understanding of what is American wilderness, an influence that has not only influenced countless wannabe landscape photographers but backpackers, too, who desire to see for themselves in full color what delighted Adams’s aperture. He made the American backcountry seem like the light-and-shadow home to mountain gods.

Backpacker Magazine - November 2009This week, Backpacker Magazine released its November 2009 issue, and on page 12 you can find an article I contributed about three hikes to places which captured Adams’s attention – Denali National Park, New Mexico mountains and (naturally) Yosemite. The article isn’t available online yet, but when it is, I’ll post the link.

The thinking behind choosing this trio of day hikes was to give readers a chance to snap their own Ansel-worthy photo, or to explore a trail in an area photographed by Adams from a distance. For example, Adams most famous shot – Moonrise – was taken from a highway near Hernandez, N.M., featuring a white globe rising like a speck above the desolate-looking San de Cristo mountains. So Backpacker and I wanted to send you into those mountains, choosing a 9.5-mile out-and-back hike to Serpent Lake hiding out high in the Pecos Wilderness.

Hope you enjoy the piece and find some inspiration to get out there.

Regular posting to return Oct. 19. I know. I know. As much as I try to concentrate on other priorities – buying a house, job searching, putting together a few major freelance magazine projects – Compass Points keeps calling me back. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. See you again soon!

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