“Spirits in the Air” – Cloud rising into blue sky, Eastern Sierra, near Bishop, California
It’s hard to explain; yesterday I spent an hour at the Mountain Light Gallery in Bishop. It was the first time I’ve been there in years, and only the second time that I’ve been there since the plane crash that killed Galen & Barbara Rowell. As I walked around the gallery, there was such a flood of memories, that I could almost sense their presence. More than that, I could almost hear their voices.
Galen was the closest person to a surrogate father figure outside my family, and especially after my own dad had passed away. I’d always felt it was my dad’s hand from beyond that guided me into the door at Mountain Light back in 1990.
I know that both Galen’s kids take great pride in their dad’s achievements, and they’ve done a great job preserving and continuing his legacy. But Barbara had no kids. The gallery in Bishop was her “baby”. I know how much of her heart and soul she put into that place, making it the absolute best it could be. As I walked out the door, I said silently under my breath, “It’s still here, Barbara. Your baby’s still here.”
This morning, while shooting sunrise in the Buttermilk Region, I was focused on the mountains in front of me, covered in the first real seasonal coat of snow. Then something made me turn around, and this is what I saw. “Holy nuts!” I said as I quickly framed the scene. I only had time to burst off a few frames before the cloud had completely disappeared. At this instant, while looking through the viewfinder, all I could think of was Galen’s famous shot of the Split Rock & Cloud which he’d taken within a mile of where I was standing. When I chimped back through the frames to see what I got, I was instantly hit by the feeling that this image was a gift, an acknowledgment perhaps of my own acknowledgment the day before.
What it was that made me turn around at that exact moment, who knows? I have an idea… Once again, all I could say was, “Thanks.”
Footnote: This was actually the second time in the same area that I walked away from a shot with that same feeling. The other was when I took this image, the morning of Galen & Barbara’s memorial in Bishop.
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