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Maroon Bells Four Seasons

Maroon Bells Four Seasons, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, Colorado

Maroon Bells Four Seasons, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, Colorado

In every season of the year, the famed, 14,000-foot Maroon Bells, near Aspen, are one of Colorado’s most magnificent mountain vistas. I’ve photographed the Maroon Bells at least two dozen times in the last 15 years, always looking for that distinctive image that transcends the cliché by capturing some rare, never-to-be-repeated moment.

I think of this kind of photography as the pursuit of “visual peak experiences.” I’m borrowing a term here from humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow, who studied human potential – the heights to which people could aspire, not the depths to which they could sink. According to Maslow, peak experiences can give a sense of something timeless, even sacred, in the midst of our mundane daily life. Visual peak experiences are moments of extraordinary natural beauty, often ephemeral, that I try to put on film in such a way that a viewer of the photograph can share my sense of wonder and joy. Granted, my photographs rarely, if ever, achieve such lofty heights. Perhaps they never truly will. But it is the pursuit of visual peak experiences, and the arduous, frustrating, ecstatic struggle to capture them on film, that keeps landscape photography endlessly fascinating for me.

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