Last summer my family and I packed up our travel trailer and headed north to Wyoming. We had no plan, no itinerary. Only a few vague ideas and a whole mess of maps and guidebooks. We wandered through Dinosaur National Monument and then followed a lonely highway across rolling hills that eventually gave way to the Wind River Mountains, a range easily equal to the Tetons in rugged beauty but without the national park crowds. The Winds, as they’re known to locals, invite exploration. Dirt roads penetrate flanks of the range from the east and west, winding through fragrant sagebrush meadows and climbing higher past stands of aspen trees to alpine lakes and frigid mountain streams. In summer, colorful wildflowers dot the landscape below skies that begin each day clear and blue before afternoon thunderstorms arrive with dramatic ferocity.
We followed a dirt road a few miles before stumbling across an idyllic campsite. A warm creek fed by a nearby hot spring cascaded over ledges before emptying into the Green River, itself surrounded by grassy meadows so green they looked fake. We parked the trailer next to a fire ring left behind by previous campers and continued up the increasingly corrugated road to Green River Lakes. According to my topographic map, granite peaks rose dramatically above the lakes and would certainly create interesting opportunities for photography.
Almost to the lakes I spotted a calm section of the river just below the road with views of Squaretop Mountain and other nearby peaks catching late afternoon storm light. My own personal philosophy for landscape photography holds that one should never pass a sure thing for a maybe thing. This was a sure thing. I parked the truck and scrambled down to the river’s edge, all giddy with excitement at the scene before me. My wife chased our son around in a futile effort to prevent him from taking an unintentional dip in the river. I hurriedly set up my tripod and used my borrowed Nikon D800 (thanks BorrowLenses.com!) to make the image you see above.
I discovered the photo again recently while digging through my archives. Upon seeing it, I was immediately transported back to that moment, swatting at mosquitoes in the chill evening air, listening to my son laughing and, eventually, splashing in the river, the happy sound of a solid shutter click. That’s the great thing about photographs. They allow us to remember those all-too-rare special moments in time when nothing of the outside world is of concern. No bills to pay, no errands to run – leaving us to relish the enjoyment of time well-spent.
Bret Edge is a nature and adventure photographer in Moab, Utah. His interest in photography evolved as an extension of his life long passion for the outdoors. He is an avid hiker, backpacker, mountain biker and canyoneer. A visit in 1999 to an exhibit featuring photographs by Ansel Adams, Jack Dykinga and David Muench stoked Bret’s creative fire such that he immediately purchased his first SLR camera, a Canon Rebel. In the years since, he has traveled extensively throughout the American West creating a diverse portfolio of dynamic images.
Bret’s work has appeared in magazines, calendars, travel guides and advertising campaigns. His clients include Backpacker magazine, Popular Photography, the Utah Office of Tourism, Charles Schwab & Co. and Jackson Hole Mountain Guides.
While Bret enjoys seeing his work in print, he receives the most satisfaction by helping others realize their potential as photographers. He accomplishes this by leading several group workshops each year and guiding photographers on private photo excursions. For information about his workshops and guided excursions, visit www.moabphotoworkshops.com. To view a collection of Bret’s images, visit www.bretedge.com. Bret lives in Moab with his wife, Melissa, their son Jackson, and two All-Terrain Pugs named Bierstadt and Petunia.