So close and yet so far…

Mountains have always intrigued me. Their vast expanse, soaring heights, different structure types and beautiful evening silhouettes resembling a heart-monitor chart, are captivating. Most of my appreciation comes from deprivation living in eastern Nebraska, where the closest thing to obstructing your view might be a rolling hill.

In my past there has been little opportunity to spend time in the mountains as either work or coaching hockey would bring me close enough to view from a plane or car window. This left no time to acquaint myself with this fascination. The boyish desire to be a rugged outdoorsman, setting up camp in the wild, able to survive under any condition Mother Nature throws at you has stuck with me throughout life, but always tabled for later. Today I find myself in central Asia surrounded by the Himalaya Mountains, more specifically the Hindu Kush region. Together, the Himalayan mountain system is home to the world’s highest peaks. To comprehend the enormous scale of this mountain range, consider that Aconcagua, in the Andes at 6,962 meters (22,841 ft) is the highest peak outside of Asia, whereas the Himalayan system includes over 100 mountains exceeding 7,200 m (23,600 ft).

Why am I here? I must admit (Biting my lip)… for work. Where every morning I step from my quarters to watch the magic of light wake up every crease and crevice, casting shadows providing definition to this magnificent range which surrounds. It is a beautiful sight and great way to start the day, something I cherish regardless of being stuck within the confines of a small environment. As photography is a passion, and camera my friend, finding subject matter in austere conditions bring its own set of challenges and if patient, with an attentive eye, great rewards. 

Teasing me like a child, as quoted in a famous Aerosmith song rattling in my head “It’s the same old story, same old song and dance my friend” To have the ability of moving around, choosing the best location for composition, close up investigation and interaction with these mountains is something that will not be afforded to me once again. Separated by concrete walls and barbed wire fence, elusion will be the price.

Does the camera see what we see?

In the above panoramic taken from a distance, this appears to be a small dust storm in some foothills. Nice, however all sense of scale is lost except for the fact there is a small camp 1/5 from the left of the frame where you will find a hint of red that is  barely identifiable. This is very deceiving as these ‘hills’ stand over 4,000 to 6,000 ft above my elevation, appearing dwarfed by the wall of dust trapped against this massive mountainside. Quite a scene, but without the capacity to move around including a reference point to size, turns a blustery, breathtaking storm into a snapshot of a nice hill.   

Someday soon, I will be able to go where I want, when I want. When that time comes, my first task is to pull out that bucket list, get in touch with that young boy’s dream of combining photography, hiking and camping in the mountains to become part of a yearly excursion in my schedule of life.  Until then my adventures will be confined to the appreciation of being so close, and yet so far.

What is on your bucket list?

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