One of the driving forces behind my work as a landscape photographer is conservation and my commitment to the environment and nature in general. In a strange twist of fate (or just plain luck), my wife and I decided to settle down in Beacon, New York 17 years ago. What’s that have to do with conservation? My home is literally 3 miles away from Storm King Mountain, the iconic landmark that has come to symbolize the modern environmental movement. I’ve had a fascination with Storm King Mtn ever since I first saw it 25 years ago, and have photographed it more than any other landform in the area.
A new book by Robert D Lifset, an associate professor at Oklahoma University of Oklahoma, tells the story of how Storm King Mtn was almost cut in half in order to build a hydroelectric plant in the 60s. It also details how a small group of activists successfully saved the mountain, and became Scenic Hudson, the leading environmental non-profit in the region. I’m also extremely proud that one of my images was chosen for the cover. Titled “Breakneck Ridge”, I shot it years ago on one of my regular hikes in the area.
Many have asked me why I did not “Photoshop” the boat out of the image, or wait until it had passed. In fact, I did wait, and made another image. But in the end. I chose this one as the strongest version of what I felt and experienced that evening. This is an extremely busy area, with major airports nearby, lots of boat traffic, and only 50 miles north of NYC. While I celebrate the beauty of nature, it is this beauty within a very industrialized area that makes it even more special for me. And so the boat represents our presence in nature, and our immense ability to make a difference, for bad and good.
If you want to learn more about conservation, this is a great book to get started with, especially if you are familiar with the Hudson Valley.