Sunrise Upper Missouri River Breaks #4559
Today I received in the mail some complimentary copies of the 2013 Montana Visitor's Guide, which features one of my images. This placement is a little special for me for several reasons. When growing up in Chicago visiting Montana was an obsession for me. In my youth the state represented everything that was wild and exciting in the West, from glacier covered mountains and endless pine forests to cowboys, ranches, mountain men, and vast high plains. To this day Montana still holds many of these visions true for me and I always look forward with anticipation to my next visit.
Another reason this image is special to me is because in 2003, when it was made, it was the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Throughout the year I read several books about their journey including the official journals of Meriwether Lewis. On that year's autumn trip to Montana I made a point of visiting the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. After driving some dusty back-roads I found a great campsite along the river among a grove of stately old cottonwood trees. After setting up camp I walked along the riverbank and was surprised and thrilled to find a historic marker buried in the weeds stating that this was an official campsite of the Corps of Discovery!
That evening I searched the nearby bluffs to find some compositions that overlooked the river. The landscape had changed very little over the years and with just a little imagination during this tranquil evening I could easily see the Corps paddling up the river. The next morning I scrambled back up the bluff in time to photograph a beautiful autumn sunrise, and felt an intense link to the America's past and the rich history of our country. Truly one of the most memorable experiences I've ever had.