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Monday, March 30, 2020

Weekly Post, High and Wild: Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers

High and Wild: Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



After receiving my MFA from CalArts, I was invited by Bill Lund, Sharon Disney’s husband, to come stay at the families' Diamond-D Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming. Bill thought I might like to photograph in the nearby Wind River Mountains, which I did, backpacking through them extensively over the next three summers. Welcome to a world of big granite walls and huge alpine lakes!
~Robert Glenn Ketchum




Monday, March 30, 2020

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #136, Wind Rivers, #136:  The trail from the ridge of Haystack Mountain down to Black Joe Lake is a breeze, and in little time we stand at the shore. The “actual,” mapped trail now crosses the river, rising again, then descending to a mid-point on the opposite lakeshore. We choose, instead, to gamble on the unknown, and traverse the boulder field shoreline beneath Haystack. We reason that it is just a puzzle of rock-hoping that can be navigated, and we can see on the topos, at the far end of the lakeshore, the boulders give way to granite ledges and a complex of small lakes in an extremely high basin, none of which are named. Going off-trail in the Wind Rivers is always a gamble because of the scale of everything, and we would be reminded of that for the next 3hrs. The boulder field we begins in very manageable terrain, and picking our way through is easy. We cover nearly 1/2 of the traverse in the first hour, and then we hit a massive avalanche path, whose “boulders” are ENTIRE slabs broken off of Haystack, jumble together, and extending out, into the lake. Vicki and I must make many weird choices about our routes, especially because it has to be one that Belle Star can also follow. At one point, Belle even has to swim in the lake to get around a huge slab, that I could navigate, but she could not. Happily, and finally, with considerably more effort and time spent than we expected, we leave the monster rubble, and find connected granite ledges and gardens. The weather has vaporized completely. It is hot under the clear blue skies. Vicki has pulled her shell pants off in favor of shorts, and Belle Star also likes this less challenging terrain. We are headed up these slabs because, above that roll at the top, the basin of unnamed lakes begins, and we think we can get there from here.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2020, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd


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Weekly Post: The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get by Robert Glenn Ketchum

by Robert Glenn Ketchum


Growing up my parents had a home near Sun Valley, Idaho. It was there that I learned to ski. Over many years I befriended members of the Decker Flats Climbing and Frisbee Club, with whom I had both life, and art-forming outdoor experiences. I had my camera, and these are my adventures. Enjoy!!  
~Robert Glenn Ketchum



Monday, March 302020

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #204: DFCFC, #204: As we assemble our daypacks and clean up camp, the rising breeze continues to build, with howling gusts sweeping the stands of trees, and knocking the accumulated snow off of their branches. We remain committed to our planned hike, but before we head out, we all add more clothes, and wind shells to our dress-for-the-day. The forested part of the trail that passes around our lake, has snow, but it is easy to navigate, and relatively flat. When we get to where the granite slabs up to Deep Lake begin, things are a bit trickier. The light snowfall obscures seeing any sheer ice glazing the rock beneath it, so we need to tread carefully and stay well away from the courses of the many-fingered streams. Ultimately, we work to the western side of the trail, and try to stay on soil at the edge of tree gardens. As we rise in the basin, so does the force of the wind, but the hike up is steady, and not especially difficult, so after about an hour, we find ourselves on the shore of Deep Lake. The wind is not constant, instead blasting through in howling gusts, and standing on the shore looking down the valley to our camp, it is amazing to see, and hear, the oncoming gusts, as they rise from below us, into this high basin, and beyond. Deep Lake is surrounded by towering walls and summits, so the wind above is being compressed as it screams through the lowest passes. To welcome us to Deep Lake, East Temple Peak (above), puts on wild performance, shredding the clouds streaming by, and making strange echoing sounds as the wind bounces about the walls.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2020, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Friday, March 27, 2020

The Daze of My Life: Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography


Biographies are studies of someone's life based on cumulative research. Good ones may reveal something, but probably barely scratch the surface of what actually went on. The internet is allowing me to do something VERY different. 
~Robert Glenn Ketchum




Friday, March 27, 2020

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #193:  Daze, #193:  Following the success of the campaign to protect Saguaro National Monument from intrusive development, Luther Propst, the person with whom I worked at the Rincon Institute asks me to contribute to another project. He wants to study “gateway” communities, small cities that grow up just outside the entrance to national parks. Unfortunately many of the most prominent ones contribute little to enhance or enrich the park experience, but rather they are circus-like - every store is hawking something (none of it park related), and what is not retail, or food, has become game arcades, bumper cars, and a lot of miniature golf courses. One of the largest, and most sensory overwhelming of these towns, is Gatlinburg, TN, immediately outside of Great Smoky Mountain National Park. You literally emerge from the trees of the park into a world of concrete, shooting galleries, roller coasters, candy shops, and at the time I visited in 1990-91, there were 18 miniature golf courses. Above is one such extravaganza themed around pirates, and traveling the 7-seas. Another of my favorites is based on an “Africa” theme, complete with gorillas, giraffes, lions, zebras, and warlike “natives."
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photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2020 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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THE CUYAHOGA RIVER VALLEY: From Flames to Fame by Robert Glenn Ketchum

THE CUYAHOGA RIVER VALLEY: 
From Flames to Fame
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



In 1986, I was given a commission from the Akron Art Museum and the National Park Service to photograph the recently created Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area. My work helped put that location on the map, and since then, the NRA has been upgraded to National Park status, becoming one of the most visited parks in the national system.
~Robert Glenn Ketchum





Friday, March 27, 2019

Cuyahoga River Valley:  From Flames to Fame #2:
Cuyahoga #2:  After touring the length and breadth of the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area (CVNRA), I tell the Akron Art Museum and the National Park Service, that I am interested in the commission to photograph the park, but I want to approach the shoot as I did my previous Hudson River project. I want to be able to shoot EVERYTHING - farming, structures, industrial sites, and toxic cleanups - because all of those things are happening within the park’s perimeter. Kathleen Monaghan, the Director of the Akron Art Museum, knew the Hudson River work well, which I think helped sway the decision making process, and I am awarded the commission, so now I have a good deal to learn about the history and biological importance of the river valley. I know, as did most everyone, that the river was so polluted near its head in Cleveland, that it actually caught fire and burned for several days, but beyond that I am not aware of much else. Once the project begins, however, I make a considerable effort to be more informed. The area of concentration afforded by my commission is the extension of the valley from Cleveland to Akron. Historically, that section of the river had been a barge canal and towpath, used to ferry freight from the Great Lakes through to the Ohio River, for shipment downstream, and the towpath was being restored by the NPS as part of the new development plan. Biologically the park is very diverse thanks to some unique bedrock structures and sediment deposits. There are over 100 waterfalls in the park, some obvious and very popular, such as Brandywine, the tallest waterfall in Northeastern Ohio, but many others pour over abrupt ledges in narrow ravines, feeding discreetly into the Cuyahoga. The image above is of an area known as The Ledges, a dramatic and very beautiful outcropping of bedrock, that offers expansive views of the forested valley below. It is a wonderful place to climb and explore, and there are also Talus caves among the boulders below the outcrop. Other geologic elements that comprise the areas unique features, include traces of the Defiance moraine, Berea Sandstone, Bedford Shale, Marcellus Shale, Utica Shale, Devonian Huron Shale, and Sharon Conglomerate. The interaction of these various deposits created many of the gorges and waterfalls, and fostered the diversity of forest and understory growth.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Welcome to Hotel California: Some Pictures from My Backyard by Robert Glenn Ketchum

Welcome To Hotel California:  Some Pictures From My Backyard
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



I was born, and grew up in Los Angeles. As my professional career developed, I traveled around the world working on various commissions, but seldom had opportunities to work in California. Nonetheless, I always came back “home,” and when there, I occasionally took pictures. For ten years I also taught a photography workshop on the Mendocino coast that provided some great visual moments as well. There is no “project” unifying these images, they are just my way of showing, “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”   ~Robert Glenn Ketchum




Thursday, March 26, 2020

Hotel California, Some Pictures From My Backyard, #31:
California #31:  Lost in the the thick of it, Sonoma County.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2020, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Weekly Post, SUNDANCE: Artist-In-Residence by Robert Glenn Ketchum

SUNDANCE:  Artist In Residence
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



From 1987-1989, Robert Redford invited me to become the first visual Artist-In-Residence at his newly established Sundance Institute, part of the community he was building around his recently purchased ski resort in Utah. The residency provided me with subject matter that produced some of the most significant images of my career, but importantly, it also afforded me my first aerial work, a platform that would become increasingly important throughout my life. A limited amount of these images were ever published, and NONE of the aerials ever were. The best will now appear, please enjoy!  ~Robert Glenn Ketchum





Thursday, March 26, 2020

SUNDANCE: Artist In Residence, #89:
Sundance #89:  After shooting some aerials of the Sundance ski resort area, the pilot and I take a short tour of the high basins of Mount Timpanogos. He has to work our way up to the higher elevations, and as he does, I gaze down on what would be the benches and terraces through which the summer hiking trails bring people up into the hanging gardens. Most of the rock is buried, as are the gardens, but the benches are outlined by stands of trees, and present themselves almost in a staircase fashion (if you could take giant steps).
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2020, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Weekly Post: THE TONGASS: Stop the Cut, There are Salmon in the Trees (#100+) by Robert Glenn Ketchum

THE TONGASS:  Stop the Cut, There are Salmon in the Trees
by Robert Glenn Ketchum
In 1985, I began a 2-year commission to explore the Tongass rainforest, the largest forest in the United States Forest Service (USFS) system AND the largest temperate rainforest in the world. It was a unique, old-growth environment under siege from industrial logging. The resulting investigative book I published helped to pass the Tongass Timber Reform Bill, protect 1,000,000 acres of old-growth, and create 11 new wilderness areas. This is the story of how that was achieved.




Tuesday, March 31, 2020

THE TONGASS:  Stop the Cut, There are Salmon in the Trees, #188, Tongass, #188:  My assistant for the summer, Philip Slagter, and I, wend our way along road after road, seeing where they might lead. These roads are called “spurs,” and none of them go more than a mile or two. In that way, the US Forest Service does not have to map them, and can excuse their existence with a disclaimer on their public maps, that roads of less than two miles, are not depicted. The deceit is that there are hundreds of these non-mapped roads built everywhere timber can be accessed, and the landscape has been reduced to rubble in wide patches. As I have pointed out in the last few posts, not only are the cuts destructive to the old growth rainforest habitat, but the volume of waste is staggering. The arrogance of obliterating a thriving ecosystem, and then leaving all of this to rot, is criminal. On one of the roads we attempted, we found this log avalanche blocking our further passage. These were brought down off of the steep hillside, most likely during a torrential rain. None of this wood will ever be claimed for use. This is a VERY STUPID management of this resource, and Americans help build these roads by allowing Congress to subsidize them with $50 MILLION+ tax dollars EVERY year. It is time for US to stop this waste of money and habitat: #rainforestrebellionrising

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2020, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Friday, March 20, 2020

Weekly Post, Late Fall High in the Sawtooths by Robert Glenn Ketchum

Late Fall High in the Sawtooths
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



My partner, Vicki Golden, and I, have come to love backpacking in late fall. Although we risk getting snowed upon, most of the bugs, and virtually all of the people are gone. This is our last camping trip together, and the last time I ever camped in the Sawtooths. This is a short blog to say goodbye to both.  
~Robert Glenn Ketchum





Friday, March 13, 2020

High in the Sawtooths, #27:
Sawtooths #27:  In the last post, I said the Twin Lakes, late fall camp was our final trip, which originally was meant as a reference to the season, but as fate would have it, it was a final trip in MANY other ways. After returning to my home/studio in Los Angeles, the project I had proposed to the National Park Foundation to define the historical relationship between photographers and the National Park System, has been fully funded by Transamerica, and it is a “go,” in a big way. I have many contemporary photographers to visit and interview in person, and from whom I will also select work for the proposed exhibit and book, among them Brett Weston, William Garnett, Eliot Porter, Paul Caponigro, Roger Minick, and William Clift. Other acquisitions will be accomplished working with galleries, and searching through established collections, such as the Oakland Museum, the Amon Carter Museum, and the Library of Congress. To manage all of this, I will not only spend a good deal of time on the road, but ultimately, I will move to Washington, DC, and for two years, I will work out of the offices of the National Park Foundation. Belle Star, my black lab, will join me for some of the road trips, but once I move to DC, she will stay with my parents, at our family home in LA. Vicki (above) wants none of it, however. She fully recognizes how remarkable an opportunity the “American Photographers and the National Parks” project is, for me, and does not begrudge me that, be she has NO intention of living in DC, and sitting around while I go to work every day. When I finally transition to the East, Vicki returns to Sun Valley, Idaho, where she continues to live for several years, although she never backpacks again. Belle lives out her life at my parent’s home, chasing balls, and swimming in the pool. I see her on my many visits, and am physically with her to the end, when after 9yrs., cancer claims her. I successfully complete the national park project, circulate a stunning nationwide exhibit, and publish a major book with Viking Press, which in turn begets me the attention of the Lila Acheson Wallace Funds, who offer me a commission to photograph the Hudson River Valley. To pursue that, I move to a home along the mid-Hudson for two years, before returning to the West. I have never hiked in the Sawtooth wilderness since. Carpe’ Diem!

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2020, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Friday, August 30, 2019

Weekly Post, FISHFARMS: Forming My World View through Aquaculture in 1977 by Robert Glenn Ketchum

FISHFARMS:  Forming My World View through Aquaculture in 1977
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



In 1977, I was commissioned by Elisabeth Mann Borgese to help do research, interviews, and take photographs for a book she was writing about worldwide aquaculture. It would be published by Harry N. Abrams, one of the world’s premier publishing houses, famous for their beautiful books. It would also involve around-the-world travel to 8 countries, and some of the most remarkable places I would ever visit. SEAFARM: The Story of Aquaculture was a very successful publication featuring over 100 of my images, and an exhibit I assembled with support from Nikon, became a Smithsonian traveling exhibition for 6-yrs., viewed by over 6-million people.  ~Robert Glenn Ketchum




Friday, August 30, 2019

FISHFARMS:  Forming My World View through Aquaculture in 1977, #71:
Fish Farms #71:  As Elisabeth, our host/guides, and I, begin our return to Bangkok, we intend to do in one day downriver, what took several days as we came upriver. This run starts early in the day, and it is actually very nice to be out on the Chao Phraya in the cool air of the morning. Also, we are traveling at a greater speed heading back, because we are not “sight-seeing” any longer. Although I try not to spend too much film on things unrelated to our aquaculture research, there are no further pictures to be offered regarding fish, so I enjoy just observing the diverse river life, as we pass quickly by. Like most things you experience for a second time, I begin notice further conditions of life around the river, that I did not see when we first passed through. Most of these families along the shore, live OVER the water, and do not possess actual land. It makes them extremely vulnerable to flooding, and it exposes them to pollution in the water, that grows more apparent the closer we get to Bangkok. In the above image, the clothes being hung up to dry have just been washed in the river, and the women hanging them up, also bathed in it.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Weekly Post, "My NEA Funded Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin" by Robert Glenn Ketchum

My NEA Funded Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



In 1988, I was awarded an Artist-in-Residency at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Wisconsin Arts Board. This was a small body of work created over three years, and eventually exhibited once at the university. Some images have been printed, but most have never been seen. I hope you enjoy these photographs. I think they are among some of the most beautiful I have ever taken.  ~Robert Glenn Ketchum




Thursday, August 22, 2019

University of Wisconsin: Artist In Residence, #43:
Wisconsin #43:  In the last post, I have worked my way to the creek that crosses the UWisconsin field station property to see last light on a clear fall day. I have visited this location many times during the multiple visits of my Artist-in-Residence, and I have made some of my best images in this particular part of the habitat (posts #7, #10, #23, #24). This evening I have bush-wacked to any area of large, overhanging trees, and as you can see (last post), the sun is behind the leaves, and the creek is barely visible. I am up a small embankment, so I thought to change my POV, I would go down next to the creek, walk under the tree branches, and shoot the the leaves illuminated in the opposite direction. “An Ecstasy of Contrasts” is one of my favorite of all of those images I made during my residency, and it has been one of my best selling prints. I thought it a great closing post for this blog. I would like to thank Marlin Johnson for getting me involved with this project, and being my congenial host and advisor while I “worked in the fields.” I would also like to thank the University of Wisconsin-Waukhesha and the NEA for providing the support for my Artist-in-Residence. I hope many have enjoyed the rich beauty of the Kettle Moraine (and all of its weeds - LOL), that I have tried to interpret here.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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NRDC: Pebble Mine Environmental Review Falls Flat by Joel Reynolds

Pebble Mine Environmental Review Falls Flat






August 21, 2019
by Joel Reynolds, Western Director, Senior Attorney, Marine Mammals, Oceans Division, Nature Program
NRDC, Natural Resources Defense Council

Pebble CEO’s enthusiastic spin fails to mask widespread criticism of data gaps, unsupported conclusions, and failure to meet industry standard practice.

When Tom Collier talks, it’s sensible to be skeptical.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Weekly Post, ARCTIC: At the Cutting Edge of Climate Change (#1-100)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


ARCTIC:  At the Cutting Edge of Climate Change, #100:
ARCTIC, #100:  Sitting in one place for several days because “Itasca” is ice-bound makes everyone (especially Bill Simon) a little stir-crazy. With the long daylight hours making time seem to go by even more slowly, there is a lot of napping and taking saunas among the guests. There is also a fair amount of alcohol consumption. John Bockstoce is SO particular about his beverage of choice, he had several cases shipped aboard, not leaving it to Bill to supply him. Now, in our lethargy of ice, he is consuming his precious rum in the morning coffee. Then, about midday, wearing only Bermuda shorts and a bathrobe, he grabs a long metal deck pole, announces he is going for a walk, steps over the lowest deck rail onto the ice, and he is off. That, in turn, sets off a frenzy. I follow him onto the ice to take pictures. Then the female staff appears in bikinis, and two of the men have a snowboard and a long rope. We are on a HUGE flow, so the guys take turns pulling each other on the snowboard, so they can say they rode at the top of the world (almost). John is wandering. I am looking for polar bears!

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Orvis Supports No Pebble Mine

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