Sunday, January 16, 2011

Do you ever do extraordinary things?

I was sitting in my office today, working on some very mundane office things, and feeling just a bit dejected. It seems that despite all my best intentions, I often end up working on stuff that just isn't that inspiring.

Why is that? Why, despite a list sitting beside me of things that I consider to be important, do I end up working on stuff that seems so, well, ordinary? For example, I've just spent a couple of hours getting my calendar to synch up across all my various computers. I mean really...

It's probably just the usual post-holiday doldrums, when things always seem a bit bleak. Fortunately, they won't last long.

But while I'm not feeling all that excited about what I'm doing, I am delighted to be able to share with you a charming story about someone who has decided to do something extraordinary.

"An isolated wait in the mountains for the perfect shot" is a delightful story about a Victoria-based photographer who has started a unique project to capture mountain portraits. It's shared by another Victoria writer, Tom Hawthorn on his blog.
Each summer for the past three years, Mike Andrew McLean trekked up alpine paths with heavy camera equipment in search of spectacular vistas.

Acting as his own sherpa, the Victoria photographer carried with him a 1960s-era Linhof Technika IV field camera. It has a bellows, stands on a tripod, and requires a black cloth to be draped over the shooter.

After setting up near summits, he then waited for a passerby.

Sometimes, hours passed. Winds whipped along ridges. The photographer was exposed, though not always his film.

Mr. McLean, 34, was working on a project he calls “Range: Mountain National Parks Photographs.” He returned to the Rockies he had explored as a youth, seeking to make photographic portraits of strangers against a breathtaking backdrop.

In an age when wafer-thin cellphones take snapshots, a photographer with a large-format camera is an odd sight to stumble across in so isolated a site.

“This camera is a magnet for conversation,” he said. “You set it up and people are drawn to it. It is a spectacle, a surreal image.”
The resulting photos are extraordinary. Some of them are posted on Mike's website, where you can see a slideshow of the exhibit, as well as read a commentary about the project.

I highly recommend Tom's blog, which is always full of unique stories. A few more of these and maybe I'll come up with something to shake myself out of the January blah's.


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