Spirits in the Air

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.”

See the image larger here.

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.

Comment on this post:
Copyright info for using or linking to the pictures.

14 Comments on “Spirits in the Air”

  1. Paul Beiser Says:

    Wow, this is really nice Gary!

  2. Richard Says:

    That is a very touching story Gary. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Robin Black Says:

    What a beautiful shot–and I immediately thought of Split Rock & Cloud when I saw it.

    We visited Mountain Light for the first time a couple of weeks ago–it was the first time I’d seen ‘Winter Sunset, Gates of the Valley” in such a large format, and it literally moved me to tears. Being able to pass along the emotionality of a scene through a photograph like that (and like many of yours) is a tremendous gift, to both the photographer and the viewer.

  4. Ron Niebrugge Says:

    Great post Gary! Enjoyed the story and love the photo.

  5. Jack Johnson Says:

    Moving image and touching story, Gary – thanks for sharing both!

    – Jack

  6. Susan Says:

    Nice to think that perhaps Galen’s spirit was saying “hi!”, and that it lives on in the areas he loved…

  7. Carl D Says:

    Hey Gary,

    Thanks for sharing this, great post, and. I’m sure, a moving experience for you. It moved me enough to just spend the last 30 minutes sifting slowly through Galen’s site, visiting images I wasn’t familiar with and revisiting those I’d seen before .. a great way to spend half an hour. Thank you.



  8. Dan Baumbach Says:

    A fitting memorial to Galen. I did a workshop with Galen a year before the crash and I was amazed how open and available he was. I rode shotgun with him up to the White Mountains and it was great to just hang out with him. It must have been awesome working for him.

    – Dan.

  9. Michael McAreavy Says:

    Very touching story, Gary. The spirit of life shall move forward. Be well.

  10. Mom Says:

    The photo is so stunningly beautiful and awesom…I can see two figures in the cloud, Galen and Barbara perhaps.
    Your post touches me so much that it brought tears to my mind.

  11. John Wall Says:

    Really cool, Gary. Great story and photo. I’ve just been re-reading (and not just looking at the pictures, this time!) Galen’s book with that shot on the cover that you’re talking about. Here’s a toast to Mountain Light!

  12. Greg Russell Says:

    A very heartfelt and candid post. Thanks, Gary. I guess Galen has been on many of our minds lately…

    A very nice image too. The Buttermilks are a place I’ve only explored on the surface–looking forward to ‘digging in’ to them in the near future!


  13. Chris Says:

    Hi Gary, Thanks for sharing. Before I even read the text I instantly thought of Galen’s image when I saw your picture. I only know Galen through his work but that is enough for me to feel impacted every time I step foot into the Mountain Light Gallery.


  14. Gary Crabbe / Enlightened Images » Blog Archive » Back in the saddle again. (Epilogue) Says:

    […] Gary Crabbe / Enlightened Images Travel, Outdoors, Assignment, and Stock Photography; News & Views. blog home web site about portfolio prints store contact « Gary Crabbe / Enlightened Images home page « Spirits in the Air […]

Bookmark this post
del.icio.us:Spirits in the Air  digg:Spirits in the Air  spurl:Spirits in the Air  wists:Spirits in the Air  newsvine:Spirits in the Air  blinklist:Spirits in the Air  furl:Spirits in the Air  reddit:Spirits in the Air  blogmarks:Spirits in the Air  Y!:Spirits in the Air  magnolia:Spirits in the Air

Follow Me On:
twitter Facebook LI

Explore posts in the same categories:
California, Clouds and Sky, Photographers, Photos

Keywords: (Click on a keyword to find similar items.)

Translate This Page

German Flag Spanish Flag French Flag Italian Flag Portuguese Flag Japanese Flag Korean Flag Chinese Flag British Flag
Plugin by Simple Thoughts

Click the above logo to go to our main Web Site
OR click here to go BACK to the TOP of this page.