Joints in the rock beckoned like hallways. Some spiraled to the summits. Other crawled deep and hid from the sunlight.
Last week we ventured fifteen miles past alpine lakes and mountain passes into the depths of the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming. We camped beneath Mount Hooker, a historic, if seldom seen big wall, whose steep face was first scaled in the 1960s by Yosemite climbers Royal Robbins, Dick McCracken and Charlie Raymond over a monumental three-day effort.
For several days we camped and hiked within the shadow of this continuously looming wall. We attempted to climb a lesser wall, but loose rock the sent kept us low
On the final evening after the sun set and the light was replaced with cold darkness I ventured across the lake near camp.
I had scouted a spot earlier to photograph the Mount Hooker. The lake was shallow; at it’s far end the low water revealed stones half out of the water. Following the narrow tunnel of my headlamp’s beam I leapt from rock to stone across the water, hoping another stone would reveal itself. The night was below my feet, above my head, close to my skin.
The sky was clear and the wind calm, stars shined above and reflected below. In the darkness I sat on a rock about twenty feet into the lake. Unworldly musical notes from a small herd of bugling elk accompanied me as the shutter from the camera rhythmically clicked.
Sitting calmly on the stone, engulfed in dark beauty, for me this type of photography is almost primarily about the experience, a beautiful photo is just an extra.