When I see the natural world it looks like an Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) painting:
While Bierstadt is long out of favor for purportedly being overly gaudy, romanticized work, I like the magical impressionism in it. The world I see looks like the world Bierstadt saw.
According to the Bierstadt website, he “was a German-American painter best known for his large landscapes of the American West. In obtaining the subject matter for these works, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Though not the first artist to record these sites, Bierstadt was the foremost painter of these scenes for the remainder of the 19th century.”
Colorado’s 14,065-foot Mt. Bierstadt, near Denver, is named in his honor. I climbed many Colorado mountains nearby but unfortunately, school called me away to New York before I got to this one.
You can see a wondrous display of his complete works here.
When I spent a summer at the University of Colorado, I signed up with the mountain recreation department and climbed mountains every week. I always planned to go back and see how many of the state’s 54 14,000-foot peaks I could climb. Never did. Wish I had.
Glenn Randall climbed all of them. Better yet, he took pictures and put them together into a beautiful book. The book groups the photographs by the Front, Sangre de Cristo, Mosquito, Tenmile, Sawatch, Elk and San Juan ranges.
From the Publisher
“Award-winning photographer Glenn Randall dedicated seven years to climbing each of Colorado’s 54 peaks over 14,000 feet with one goal in mind: to capture the glory of sunrise from each summit. His quest required hundreds of hours of planning and preparation, then scaling the peaks in the dark while carrying a pack loaded with camera gear. Randall’s reward and yours is this beautiful collection of unique and dramatic images that will put you on the summit just as the sun gilds the far horizon.”
In his the introduction, Randall writes, “Summits are magical places. Reaching the summit of a high peak gives me the exhilarating, humbling and awe-inspiring experience of being a tiny speck on top of the world. To me, mountaineering is a metaphor for the human condition. It embodies in concrete form the way we reach for the sky, yet can only climb so high.”
I agree. The pictures in this book are beautiful and give a small hint about what it’s like to be standing in the high country experiencing the view.
Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Conjure Woman’s Cat,” a novella about a granny and her cat vs. the KKK in the Florida Panhandle of the 1950s. 99 cents on Sunday, March 8.