Text And Photography By Glenn Randall
Sunrise from the summit of Mount Sneffels looking southwest toward the Blue Lakes Basin, Mount Sneffels Wilderness, Colorado. 4×5 film camera
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 almost a metaphor for the human condition. It embodies, in concrete form, the way we reach for the sky, yet can only climb so high. In the spring of 2006, I began working on a series of images I hoped would capture these powerful emotions.
Most summit photographs I had seen were rather boring. How could that be, I thought, when the experience of reaching the summit is so enthralling? Then I thought about when those photos were taken: at noon, in midsummer, when the sun is as high in the sky as it will be the entire year. Most summit photos taken at that time of day show distant, hazy peaks almost lost in the white glare of the midday sun. In an attempt to give my images an impact that matched my experience, I decided to try shooting sunrise from the summits of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks.