My mountaineering skills are not important to my best photographs, but they do add a component to my work that is definitely a bit different than that of most photographers.
I remember when an editor at the National Geographic promised to run about a dozen of my landscape pictures from a story on the John Muir trail as an essay, but when the group of editors got together, someone said that my pictures looked like postcards.
A lot of people think that when you have grand scenery, such as you have in Yosemite, that photography must be easy.
I began to realise that film sees the world differently than the human eye, and that sometimes those differences can make a photograph more powerful than what you actually observed.
The landscape is like being there with a powerful personality and I'm searching for just the right angles to make that portrait come across as meaningfully as possible.
When we tune in to an especially human way of viewing the landscape powerfully, it resonates with an audience.
The reason that I keep writing is that all my most powerful messages about the fates of wild places that I care about need to have words as well as images.
Luckily, many other people tell me how they have had a particular landscape photograph of mine in their office or bedroom for 15 years and it always speaks to them strongly whenever they see it.
I find it some of the hardest photography and the most challenging photography I've ever done. It's a real challenge to work with the natural features and the natural light.
I think landscape photography in general is somewhat undervalued.
I almost never set out to photograph a landscape, nor do I think of my camera as a means of recording a mountain or an animal unless I absolutely need a 'record shot'. My first thought is always of light.
Ever since the 1860s when photographers travelled the American West and brought photographs of scenic wonders back to the people on the East Coast of America we have had a North American tradition of landscape photography used for the environment.
I began taking pictures in the natural world to be able to show people what I was experiencing when I climbed and explored in Yosemite in the High Sierra.
I like to feel that all my best photographs had strong personal visions and that a photograph that doesn't have a personal vision or doesn't communicate emotion fails.
I think that cognitive scientists would support the view that our visual system does not directly represent what is out there in the world and that our brain constructs a lot of the imagery that we believe we are seeing.
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