Chris Whitney | Celebrate What's Right With the World

Chris Whitney

My Dad and I walked in near-darkness. Faintly visible, just ahead, were huge boulders, part of the Alabama Hills. We dragged my friend Gary along too, although he was the first up at 5 AM, dragging us from the Motel. We set up our cameras, Gary down the path, and my Dad and I side-by-side, just like we planned on our scouting trip the day before. We were ready to capture the first light on Mt. Whitney and the Alabama Hills in California's Eastern Sierra. The light was not yet visible to our camera's film and sensors, but it was starting to make an impression on our imaginations. I set up my camera, and then checked out Dad's. The compositions were similar. I asked myself: Is it important to always find my own perspective, my own interpretation of the world? I realized that it is okay to capture a shared composition, the same picture. But it was not only images that we were capturing. The light became brighter and the landscape's deep pre-dawn blue became sunrise-red. Sunrise light is fleeting; the intensity sometimes lasts mere seconds. My Dad and I enjoyed those fleeting moments. Strung together, a life time of such moments is the heart's album. Lenticular clouds graced the sky that day. Swirling and shifting, they did not stand still as they drifted over the landscape and created a sense of being in a magical spot. We clicked our shutters and froze time. For one quick moment, that spot was the place to be, the best place on Earth.