Yellow & Blue Make Green
The Green River
Is this a “Top 10” for this year? This summer I spent much time near the Green River that originates in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming and flows into Utah, where it joins the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park. This image, is from near the headwaters of the Green River with the Wind River Mountains in the background. This long valley gets quite cool at night, even in the summer, and creates a foggy environment until the morning sun rises. Soon after the valley is flooded with light, the wind blows and the air heats up rapidly which eliminate the fog within minutes.
Wyoming is most known for Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, both which are stunning to the eye. A short distance from either one is this gem that was once considered for National Park status. Instead, the Bridger Wilderness was created and 428,000 acres are now protected as a wild environment. Roughly one mile upriver from where this image was made is the end of the road and the beginning of a wonderful trail system that allows the adventurous to experience this place in its wild form. It resembles Yosemite in many ways as you venture further up the river but you won’t find any tour buses or paved pathways. These aspects of the place have a strong personal appeal to me and make this image special to me. This is the difficult aspect of choosing a “best of” image because I’m forced to see beyond my best experiences and look at images more subjectively. In a way, I have to envision myself in your shoes because you weren’t there with me, although I would’ve made you some coffee if you were:)
Separating personal experience and memory from an image, with the hopes to communicate a vision to the viewer, is something I find extremely difficult as a photographer. I distinctly remember being in this spot, the cold air, the waiting, the getting up early, even the taste of the coffee! One way I’m working on seeing past this is to allow more time to pass. With time, my initial excitement of “look where I was” fades a bit as do the details. Soon, the month will be forgotten and eventually, the year. If I can eliminate those variables alone and still be moved by this image, then I’ll have successfully executed a vision I had when creating this. The other side of this equation is the one that is more challenging. This involves you.
No matter how much time has passed between me creating this and you seeing it for the first time, it is still new to you. That elapsed time means nothing to the image for you, the viewer. I wonder if you’re brought to the banks of the Green River where you can watch the cool blue shadows mix in beautiful fashion with the warm yellow light. I wonder if you feel the warmth of the first sun of the morning. I wonder if you want to see what is further up this valley, or what it’s like to be below the giant Squaretop Mountain. This is the discrepancy that I face and maybe some of you can identify with. I’m not sure if this will be included in my year’s best images because of this but only time will tell.
Thanks for reading,