“Alpine Zen”, Mt. Hood Wilderness Area.
This beautiful new numbered fine art print was several years in the making. I have loved Mt. Hood ever since my wife and I moved to Oregon, 20 years ago. We made Oregon focused pilgrimages to the historic Timberline Lodge and did countless day hikes on the famed Timberline trail. At 11,240 feet high, Mt. Hood is Oregon’s tallest mountain and it is often referred to as Portland’s Playground. As my career morphed into that of a professional photographer, I focused my efforts on Central Oregon’s iconic landscapes while knowing that an Oregon-heavy fine art photography portfolio wouldn’t be complete without an iconic fine art print of Oregon’s best known mountain, Mt. Hood.
Three Years ago, I began to focus my efforts to capture an image of Mt. Hood that appropriately honored this majestic mountain’s grandeur. I visualized a very alpine photograph yet with a lushness that was inviting to viewers. Much of the alpine territory around Mt. hood has a cold hard beauty as it is dominated by rock and ice with little greenery. Hard and majestic are fine but I kept revisiting the feeling that I had while hiking around the Timberline Trail, which was comforting because of it’s clean rock, sweeping views and pockets of alpine wildflowers. I heavily utilized topographic maps, and Google earth to identify locations where I might find slow moving water which would allow the growth of seasonal wildflowers. I need a location where trees wouldn’t overshadow the mountains elevation and one where the mountain’s vertical faces would hold warm sunrise and or sunset light. After countless overnight trips and day hikes, I found the spot I wanted. Next came timing of the shot for optimal wildflower blooms. This can be tricky proposition. At high elevations, there can be hard freezes any day of the year, stunting or browning blooms and leaves. Weather is also an uncontrollable variable. Clouds can be helpful to an image but not if they obscure the summit of the desired subject. Winds are perhaps the most frustrating element that Mother Nature has to offer. Any nature photographer can attest to the fact that winds quickly ruin wildflower photographs. The film I exposed while capturing the image you see here required exposures as short as 1 second and as long as 16 seconds. Even a slight breeze would make wildflowers an abstract blur. As fortune and persistence would have it, I got a stunning sunset and enough wind free exposures to make a gorgeous new fine art print of the amazing Mt. Hood!
I am thrilled with, “Alpine Zen”. I love the warm sunset light on alpine slopes. I love the dizzying array of wildflowers. Yellow and Pink monkeyflowers seemingly waltz along the banks of a burbling alpine stream. Clean comforting boulders add texture and a sense of permanence. The flanks of the canyon wall on the right side of the print are softly reflecting warm light towards the viewer. Mt. Hood, itself has a strong, bold character, belying a weathered yet adventurous personality. My favorite thing about this new image is the overall feel. It is clean, inviting, beautiful and somehow ordered, giving it a comforting feel. I’ve selected the title, “Alpine Zen” because of the print’s comforting and ordered impression. My collectors will fine that viewing this magical fine art print on their wall will feel like they are gazing out a window on this astonishing, peaceful, and beautiful alpine scene!