Anne Darling Photography

Galen Rowell (1940-2002)

Photographers like Galen Rowell are, by and large, an intrepid bunch and perhaps Rowell could be said to be the most intrepid of them all.

His achievements include first ascents of challenging mountain peaks around the world including the Andes, Alaska, Pakistan's Karakoram Himalaya, Tibet, Nepal, China, Greenland, and many more, and more than 100 first ascents of technical climbs in the Sierra Nevada.

Famous nature photographers aren't born, they are made, and they usually start their career fairly young. Galen Rowell was no exception, and by the age of 10 he had already been into the wilderness on some of the famous Sierra Club outings. By the age of 16 he made his first climb in Yosemite Valley.

Right: Mountain Light: In Search of the Dynamic Landscape
Galen Rowell: Mountain Light

He saw photography as a way of sharing his experiences and the wonders he saw with friends and family. By the age of 32 he was a full-time photographer, and one year later his work was on the cover of National Geographic. As well as National Geographic, he worked for Life, Outdoor Photographer and other publications.

His love of adventure took him to places like Nepal, China, Patagonia and Canada plus major expeditions to Mount Everest, more than 35 journeys altogether. From these exotic trips to places most of us will never visit, Rowell produced 17 large-format photo books.

His wife Barbara, accompanied Rowell on most of his travels, and she also photographed her own adventures. Many of her images were used by National Geographic and other magazines and books. She had her own Cessna 206 and was the pilot for most of Rowell's aerial photographs as well as his business partner.

Shortly after returning from an expedition to the birthing grounds of the rare and endangered Tibetan antelope called the chiru who live on the Chang Tang Plateau, Rowell and his wife Barbara were killed in a plane crash in Bishop, California on the 11th of August, 2002. This tragic event robbed the world of one of the most bold and adventurous photographers of our time.

Galen Rowell won many awards in his life time, including the Sierra Club Ansel Adams' Award for "bringing breathtaking images of high and wild places... to new and growing audiences" in 1984, and the North American Nature Photography Association's Award for Lifetime Achievement in Nature Photography, awarded posthumously in 2003.

Recommended Reading

Galen Rowell: A Retrospective If you would like to look at Rowell's pictures close to, Galen Rowell: A Retrospective contains a wonderful selection of 175 photographs representing a cross-section of all of his work, with images which have been reproduced to a very high standard.

The photographs cover a wide range of subjects including climbing, exotic cultures, endangered wildlife, rare natural phenomena, and visionary landscapes.

His friends and associates have contributed essays and commentaries and there is biographical introduction by Robert Roper and an essay by the photography critic Andy Grundberg.

There are also some wonderful photographs on Rowell's website, plus many excellent articles written by Rowell himself.

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Amateur and experienced photographers interested in taking more compelling, personal images will love this new edition of Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography, now updated to address the exciting possibilities (and challenges) of digital image-making.

Author Brenda Tharp's inspiring approach has garnered fans all over the world, as she teaches that magical skill no camera can do for you: learn how to 'see'. Readers expand their photographic vision and discover deep well-springs of creativity as they learn to use light, balance, color, design, pattern, texture, composition, and many simple techniques to take a photo from ordinary to high-impact.

Featuring more than 150 stunning, all-new images, Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography is for anyone who understands the basic technical side to photography but wants to wake up their creative vision.

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