Photographer – Leigh Ortenburger

Photographer – Leigh Ortenburger

Stumbled upon some amazing photographs tonight at the bookstore. I noticed an amazing photograph on the cover of Alpinist magazine. I picked it up & was blown away by amazing image after amazing image. We’re all really lucky to have had people like Leigh Ortenburger & Ansel Adams in our human history. Think about it, not only did they climb, hike & adventure out to some of the most amazing places on earth, they did all that with huge-a** 4×5 film cameras, lenses, tripods & all the rest of the gear that went along with such cameras. More photos & dribble after the jump

Think about it, most climbers are content with shooting a roll or two of slides during an ascent and projecting them when they get home; few realize the difficulty of creating images like Ortenburger’s. Camera, tripod, lenses, film holders, changing bag, and other paraphernalia meant carrying much heavier packs than his companions up 20,000-foot peaks. During hard climbs, while others rested, he performed a painstaking ritual countless times: Plunge the tripod legs into soft snow until they are solid, mount and level the camera, select and attach the lens, huddle under the head cloth while composing the dim, upside-down image on the ground glass, with the wind snatching at the cloth and shaking the camera. Then take off your gloves and spin the delicate dials on the light meter, calibrate the exposure, set the aperture, and cock the shutter, while your fingers still have feeling left. Insert the film holder, pull out the slide, squeeze the cable release very gently, and replace the slide. There! One shot taken.
(From: Leigh Ortenburger Photographer)

Unfortunately, Leigh Ortenburger died in the Oakland Hills fire of 1991. All his photos & negatives were dedicated to Stanford University, where they recently had a show of his work entitled All of this I have seen”

For more reading on Leigh Ortenburger, check out these links
or, the latest issue of Alpinist Magazine, Issue 31

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