Certain images in the nature and landscape genre have become what we photographers know as icons. We all know what this means: these are the ” famous” features and scenes that have been photographed countless number of times by countless numbers of photographers. Well known examples are images like Yosemite Valley from the Winona tunnel, and the Maroon Bells reflecting in Maroon Lake with Fall color. They are part of the “checklist” of images that serious landscape photographers all aspire to capture. The reason we all love to photograph icons is because they are such spectacular examples of the landscape of our planet. When photographers make images of “icons” are they doing something unique? At one level probably not, but at another level, at a personal distinct moment of time in their life, each photographer making an image of an icon captures their vision of the icon and makes it their own. It is important to consider that at any given time the light and environmental conditions will be different which will result in an image that will be truly unique.
With this statement in mind, I personally often return to areas over and over to make images of scenes( icons or not) in different seasons, conditions and light. A great example of this is a recent photograph I made of of the iconic Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park photographed with the reflected light of sunrise imparting a spectacular glow on the underside of the arch. This icon was first made famous by the great large format landscape photographer David Muench. I have visited Mesa Arch on at least 5 different occasions in different seasons and light conditions and have been fortunate enough to have made a few decent images of this amazing feature. This most recent image was made in February when I was on my way to Reno Nevada to attend the NANPA summit. What makes it interesting and unique to me is the presence of snow and the misty clouds glowing with the sunrise light. Only one other photographer was present to experience this inspiring scene, and even if I had not successfully captured this image the experience of just being there and witnessing the amazing reflected light and glowing clouds would have been reward enough.