THIS IS WHAT -20 DEGREES LOOKS LIKE.

Updated: Apr 29

This was the first truly memorable photograph of my photography career. It was in the late seventies and I was working at the Teton Science School in Grand Teton National Park. It was mid-January and the night before, heavy wet snow blew sideways in strong winds. But I woke up to dead calm. I went out to look for photographs and the temperature had dropped from 32 above zero to 25 degrees below zero.


After struggling to start my Datsun pickup truck I drove to a stand of aspens near Kelly Warm Springs. The sun had only been up a few minutes and almost immediately I saw this scene. I had my 5x7 Deardorff view camera and six sheets of film. At that temperature, in the still and crisp air, the light was transcendent. I knew there was a great photograph to be made, one that was better than anything I had done in my life. I made two photos. One was a horizontal, the other vertical. This is the horizontal. I've sold more prints of this image than any I've ever made. To this day when I make a print I think about the moment I tripped the shutter.