Mt Whitney Zone
Posted By: kurt765 Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 11/12/11 06:57 AM

The 97 Switchbacks at Night by Kurt Lawson, on Flickr

I've counted at least 90 switchbacks visible (though I get a different number every time I count) when viewed at full resolution or in a large print. Some of the switchbacks are so close together that the light trail just sort-of blended. I think you get the idea though smile A different sort of view for a place that any main trail hiker knows very well.
Kurt,

Wow! Most excellent work! That is a fabulous photo, and I think an amazing photographic accomplishment.

In your write-up, you cite the top of the switchbacks at Trail Crest at 13,777 feet. Unfortunately, someone many years ago misread an old (early 1900s or early 1940s) topographical map that showed that figure, but the elevation-figure was meant for the Discovery Pinnacle--not Trail Crest. The figure was printed on the map at Trail Crest, but meant for Discovery. Several years ago the Forest Service discovered the mistake and changed Trail Crest's elevation to 13,600 feet and replaced the trail sign at Trail Crest with the corrected elevation. (USGS has since lowered the height of Discovery to 13,750 feet.)

Thanks for posting!
Wow! That is an incredible shot.

Beautiful!
Thanks for the correction Wayne. Even if it's only 13,600 ft. It feels at least like 13,777 when I was up there! haha.

-K
Hi Kurt,

Amazing photo!

A have not expected to see so much snow on August 21st.
Was there a fresh snowfall or just slow melting of the winter snow?
Was it a result of the August 18th thunderstorm?

Have you carried "a lantern" yourself?
What kind of "lantern" exactly?

From what location was this picture taken?
Was it just a few hundred feet above the Trail Camp?
Yury,

Based on Kurt's comment that he took the photo at 12,265 feet, and some back-calculations of my own, Kurt stationed his camera on the southwest side of Wotans Throne above Trail Camp. I calculate the camera's exact position at 36.56488 degrees north latitude and 118.28060 degrees west longitude (WGS84 datum). It would be nice if Kurt could give us some more clarification. I really like what he did!
That is an amazing picture Kurt. Thanks for posting it here!

I've posted a link to it in our "Links to important Whitney information"

Your other pictures on Flickr are truly spectacular, too.
Kurt,

I have got to say that is one of the coolest things I've ever seen!! Thanks for sharing!!!!
They look so flat from that perspective . . .

Nice job Kurt!
Thanks for the comments everyone! I will hopefully later today have my writeup about how this photo came to be online. That should answer a lot of people's questions.
You can now read about how the photo came to be here:

http://blog.kurtlawson.com/?p=952
Epic photo and story, both. So much research and planning into one shot. I love it. Great work!!
In another thread, Wayne referred to Bob R's stitched picture of all the switchbacks. Bob took the pictures from near the top of Wotans Throne.

The picture, with Wayne's switchback numbers added, is here .

Kurt, I read most of your blog about how you prepared and executed your trip. The picture is the product of an amazing amount of time and effort. Thank you SO MUCH for making it available.

From Kurt's blog article, here's the picture of the gear he carried on the Whitney trail. It does not include all the other gear he experimented with on other trips to figure out which camera and equipment would work. He even had to take lens warmers to keep the camera from fogging over in the cold!



Magnificent photo, love it.
Originally Posted By: Steve C
In another thread, Wayne referred to Bob R's stitched picture of all the switchbacks. Bob took the pictures from near the top of Wotans Throne.

The picture, with Wayne's switchback numbers added, is here .

Kurt, I read most of your blog about how you prepared and executed your trip. The picture is the product of an amazing amount of time and effort. Thank you SO MUCH for making it available.

From Kurt's blog article, here's the picture of the gear he carried on the Whitney trail. It does not include all the other gear he experimented with on other trips to figure out which camera and equipment would work. He even had to take lens warmers to keep the camera from fogging over in the cold!



Actually due to my getting sick, a good chunk of gear was scrapped at the last second. Only the right hand tripod went. The Canon 5D2 and its assorted gear (batteries, grip, intervalometer, filters, etc) was also left behind. Everything else went up. One walkie talkie was left behind also.
Kurt, is that LED lantern brighter than the bright propane lanterns or the Coleman fuel ones? I thought those were the brightest.

Did you set up a mirror on one side to brighten the output toward the camera?
Coleman fuel ones are way brighter than the LED one. No mirror was used.

After discussion, we didn't fancy the idea of using a gas lantern up there and decided to go with electricity instead.
This is an awesome photo! Thanks for posting!!
Posted By: kurt765 Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 03/05/12 03:33 AM
I still haven't finalized selling prints directly, but in the few free moments I've managed to get one print framed up and I have loaned it to the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center in Lone Pine. So, as everyone picks up permits this year I hope you'll take a moment to check out the pic.

I'm sorry I haven't been able to get back about prints just yet. I want the prints to be the same quality as this one was, which is a Fujiflex Crystal Archive print that should easily outlast me and will present the image at its very best. Working 10-12 hours a day 6 days a week hasn't left me with a whole lot of time. Photography isn't how I make my living. I'll post more updates soon but in the meantime there's at least one print you can check out!


The 97 Switchbacks on Display by Kurt Lawson, on Flickr


Cheers,
-K
Posted By: Brent N Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 03/05/12 09:54 PM
I hope you are able to work something out. You have at least one customer ready to buy.

Brent
Posted By: Jonishiker Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 03/08/12 11:00 PM
Kurt,
I am very interested in purchasing a print of your "97 Switchbacks at Night" as well. I am currently using it as my phone wallpaper for inspiration in my training program.
Friends and even strangers have asked me about it.My 86 year old neighbor asked me if it was icing on an eclair.I told her,"Absolutely". Hopefully it will result in the reward of being at the top of Mt. Whitney.
Well done! It is evident this took a ton of work and talent.
Joni
Posted By: kurt765 Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 06/13/12 11:47 PM
Hey everybody -

I've finally got some time off from my day job and will finally be taking orders for prints. I'm also working on posters and post cards that I hope to have available for sale in the Mt. Whitney vicinity. The prints will be FujiFlex Crystal Archive prints, personally inspected and signed, mounted on acrylic or aluminum ready for matting and framing. My site will have details later this evening. The posters, once available, will be the cheaper option and will be 18x24 format.

(Please go see my day job work by watching The Amazing Spiderman when it comes out in a few weeks)
Posted By: Brent N Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 06/14/12 04:57 AM
Please post your site. What did you do on Spiderman?
Posted By: Steve C Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 06/14/12 05:46 AM
Found his site:   http://www.kurtlawson.com/

Hope you sell a ton, Kurt!
Posted By: kurt765 Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 06/14/12 06:30 AM
Originally Posted By: Brent N
Please post your site. What did you do on Spiderman?


Some details on prints / posters / postcards here:

http://blog.kurtlawson.com/

I'm a compositor by day. I composited at Sony Pictures Imageworks on the Amazing Spiderman. My shots are all in the climax of the movie. I'm under strict NDA's to not say anything at all really, so I can't tell you more.

I guess it could be partly that I make fake images by day that I demand my photographs be of real landscapes captured in-camera. I hate compositing in photographs, and I get really dismayed when I read about other photographers warping mountains and painting out trees they don't like. I don't see any fun in that at all. Then, to me, it becomes what we at work would call a "visual effects shot." I don't work outside of work, so I keep my photography strictly to interpretations of scenes I captured with my camera. I'm not in the business creating photographic images by compositing on my home computer. There's no fun in it to me if I wasn't there to capture the magic light when it happened, or in this case the hard volunteer work of some of my friends who carried a huge LED lantern down the switchbacks in the total dark and cold that is the trail at night. That's just my personal philosophy with photography anyway. The 97 Switchbacks at Night is a single frame of Fuji Provia 100 film. An all-or-nothing gamble that turned out pretty good I think, and it looks magnificent in a photochemical Fujiflex print smile

-K
Posted By: kurt765 Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 08/18/12 01:26 PM
I'm heading up to the Portal Store today to drop off my first group of posters. Some might have noticed that there are already postcards available at the Mount Whitney Portal Store. It's taken a long time to get everything worked out. I'm in the process of getting the necessary permits to sell posters and postcards myself too (have to register with the state for sales tax and whatnot). I'm happy to sell these through the Mount Whitney Portal Store, so come on by and check them out. The poster is 18x24 inches and comes in a tube, and the postcards are standard 4x6. This only my second weekend off from work since July, so it's been really hard to get time away.

Here's a pic of the posters:



Posters are 14.95

And postcards:



Postcards are .93

If anyone happens to be around Fort Wayne, Indiana next month, I have a gallery show that will be there from 9/7 through 10/7 of my photography. I'll be there for the opening reception and then for the Fort Wayne Museum of Art Trolley tour on 9/21. I'll have a huge number of prints there including an 18 by 70 inch panoramic print and an enormous 30x37.5 inch print of the 97 Switchbacks at Night. I hope to have a show out here in California next. This one is in the city of my birth and is my first ever solo gallery show.

In the next week or so I will have an online store setup to buy signed photographic prints as well. I'm doing my best to make things easier. I've found an affordable framer who does a really excellent job and if you want a signed Fujiflex print I'll be happy to get that going now that everything is sorted out. Just send me a message.

-K
Posted By: Trailgypsy Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 08/19/12 02:34 AM
I love this pic and sure hope there are some posters available late September!

Thanks for making them available.
Posted By: kurt765 Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 08/19/12 02:46 PM
There will be. I printed a lot. My bedroom smells like ink with a giant stack of posters and postcards in the corner. If the store runs out there are many, many more and I hope this week to have my own online store working finally.
Posted By: Steve C Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 08/19/12 03:58 PM
Kurt, it is really great that you have turned that photograph into such a business venture. Good luck!
Posted By: tdtz Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 08/20/12 04:00 AM
Postcards are .93

I think you should make them .97 for obvious reasons.
Posted By: kurt765 Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 08/20/12 02:27 PM
Originally Posted By: tdtz
Postcards are .93

I think you should make them .97 for obvious reasons.


Haha laugh

At .93 it comes out to 1.00 with tax. Maybe I should make it come out to .97 with tax hehe.

-K
Posted By: kurt765 Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 08/20/12 02:34 PM
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Kurt, it is really great that you have turned that photograph into such a business venture. Good luck!


Thanks Steve! Everyone has been very supportive and that has been very encouraging.

On a side note tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the shot. I can't believe it has been a year already.
Posted By: ejsurfs Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 08/21/12 08:05 PM
Do you sell the posters for $14.95 on your website? I'm in love with this shot and can't wait to get my hands on a poster. So inspiring.
Posted By: kurt765 Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 08/23/12 03:19 PM
Originally Posted By: ejsurfs
Do you sell the posters for $14.95 on your website? I'm in love with this shot and can't wait to get my hands on a poster. So inspiring.



To answer your question, I've finally set up an online store. Here goes nothing:


http://store.kurtlawson.com

Posted By: mrshherrera Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 08/23/12 03:22 PM
thanks

We are going up to the portal for Labor Day weekend, I am planning to pick up a poster then but I am happy you got your online store up and running. Best of luck to you!!
Posted By: ejsurfs Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 08/23/12 11:44 PM
YAY! I just ordered mine. Thanks for setting up an online store Kurt.
Posted By: Paul Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 08/30/12 08:30 PM
Well, it finally arrived, my print of the 97 switchbacks at night, absolutely gorgeous...... unbelievable resolution. The picture that I purchased is exactly the same as the one hanging at the Visitor's Center.

Kurt, thanks for all your help. I'll post a picture of it hanging at my house.

Paul
Posted By: kurt765 Re: Photo of the 97 switchbacks at night - 09/10/12 02:47 AM
Originally Posted By: Paul
Well, it finally arrived, my print of the 97 switchbacks at night, absolutely gorgeous...... unbelievable resolution. The picture that I purchased is exactly the same as the one hanging at the Visitor's Center.

Kurt, thanks for all your help. I'll post a picture of it hanging at my house.

Paul



I'm glad you're happy with it Paul! Nice meeting you too. Perhaps will see you on the trail in the not too distant future somewhere.

Here's a pic of the massive 30x37.5" print I have hanging at my gallery show in Fort Wayne, IN right now:



(for comparison the pic to the left is 16x24 and the two on the right are 10x24)

-K
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