Mountains have always captured our imaginations, calling us to scale their heights, and to pay homage to their greatness. Mountains can be seen from hundreds of miles away, and if we are lucky enough to be on top of one, we can see great stretches of the surrounding earth. As a result, mountains symbolize vision, the ability to rise above the adjacent lowlands and see beyond our immediate vicinity. From the top of the mountain, we are able to witness life from a new perspective—cities and towns that seem so large when we are in them look tiny. We can take the whole thing in with a single glance, regaining our composure and our sense of proportion as we realize how much bigger this world is than we sometimes remember it to be.
Mountains are almost always considered holy and spiritual places, and the energy at the top of a mountain is undeniably unique. When we are on top of a mountain, it is as if we have ascended to an alternate realm, one in which the air is purer and lighter. Many a human being has climbed to the top of a mountain in order to connect with a higher source of understanding, and many have come back down feeling stronger and wiser. Whenever we are feeling trapped or limited in our vision, a trip to our nearest mountain may be just the cure we need. There’s a reason that mountain views are so highly prized in this world, and it is because, even from a distance, mountains remind us of how small we are, which often comes as a wonderful relief. Whether we have a mountain view out of our window or just a photograph of a mountain where we see it every day, we can rely on these earthly giants to provide inspiration, vision, and a daily reminder of our humble place in the grand scheme of life.
This is a shot from the top of Gate’s Pass, just outside of Tuscon, Arizona. It was a short hike to this location where we watched the sun setting and the sky slowly changing colors. Equipped with a tripod mounted Nikon D90, we were able to take some very long exposures as things became progressively darker. We lit up this cactus during one such long exposure with a quick burst from a flash. This is a common technique used for portrait shots – one exposes for the background using the normal techniques and then illuminates the subjects using off camera flash. This is very effective as not only does the background remain properly exposed in the image, but the subject tends to pop out! We have used this technique often during Family Portrait sessions on the beach in California during sunsets and invariably, the clients have loved it!