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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Trek In The Wind River Range


David Muench returns to this special area and experiences it anew. The great landscape photographers constantly refresh their vision by exploring familiar places as if for the first time.

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"I need to have an image of this great feeling, and the honor of bringing back a photo," he says. "I'm a photographer first, so I've put out tremendous energy to get into the heart of wildness. Photographing there means absorbing all that surrounds the photograph."

In other words, there's no clear line for him between being there and looking through the lens. His camera completes him, probably because since childhood he has never been without it; he thinks it part of the human anatomy, or of his, anyway.

With the intensity of dawn behind him, he was taking a kind of time he rarely allows himself as we sat over coffee. It was a backing off, a respite from his normally intense looking. What I saw as introspection was, in fact, the time he calls "between photographing," a time when he's watching for changes in the light, waiting for the right moment.

"Many ideas are stimulated in that moment," he says.

Deep Lake is a place David knows and loves. "This is a precious, a sacred place," he says. "I relate to the sacredness of the place, to its geologic dynamics and the corresponding relation to plant life." He has been hiking here since the 1970s, hauling his 4x5 camera with all the rest of his gear. This 2011 trip, though, he was carrying lightweight digital equipment and riding a horse. Riding a horse was because of me. The digital equipment was because times are different.
Not only does carrying lightweight digital equipment allow for less expenditure of energy to get into a place, but digital cameras have made it possible to be more spontaneous, made it possible to more easily catch the fleeting moments. For David, the camera is, more than ever, an extended eye.
Not only does carrying lightweight digital equipment allow for less expenditure of energy to get into a place, but digital cameras have made it possible to be more spontaneous, made it possible to more easily catch the fleeting moments. For David, the camera is, more than ever, an extended eye.

"It extends my connection to the subject more, to myself more," David says. "But I haven't changed my way of seeing. I'm just more spontaneous with my way of seeing in those great, timeless moments."

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