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Monday, April 24, 2017

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.




Monday, April 24, 2017

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #51:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #51:  There is yet one more “character” to introduce, another DFC&FC colleague, but to set the stage properly we must return to the Sawtooths. Like Redfish Lake (post #36), this is one of the lower, larger lakes that are part of the range - this is Pettit. Pettit is about 1-1/2 miles across, at the end of which is a rising valley. The tallest of the visible summits in this image is Parks Peak (10,200’). It is quite a view and quite a basin. At this time, Pettit not only hosts US Forest Service campgrounds, but it also has private residences that hold “grandfathered” leases (that I think have now expired). One of those grandfathered “cabins-by-the-lake” belongs to Dr. George Saviers, who is noted as Hemingway’s personal doctor, but who also was part of the excellent medical group that serves the athletes and injuries of Sun Valley. Doc has several sons, and of them, Joe, is a classmate of Gordon Williams and Chris Puchner, AND a contributor to the concept of the DFC&FC. Part of that time we spend “conceptualizing” is at Doc’s cabin on Pettit Lake. Of course it is nice in the summer when it is warm and you can swim in the lake, but that is when everyone wants to be there. WE, of the DFC&FC thought it was also a great place to go in the winter when no one was around and the Sawtooths were showing off their rugged walls and summits through layers of deep (skiable) snow! For me as a young photographer, this was a VERY inspiring retreat.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, April 17, 2017

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #50:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #50:  More of the characters involved. No! Not the girl! That is Shelley Selover, my girlfriend at the time, who has come up to Sun Valley from Los Angeles to do some hiking and camping. The “characters” I refer to are the house and the car. The car is my ’67 327 Chevy Camaro Rally Sport, that I imagine to be a 4-wheel drive vehicle, having taken it up the road to Hell Roaring Lake in the Sawtooths, TWICE! AS you can see, it is attractively decorated - it is amazing any air passes through that grille or you can even see my headlights - I think we have just come back from a camping trip to Kane Lake in the Pioneer mountains, and I believe I forged some creeks getting to the trailhead. THE HOUSE is something else entirely. Owned by a family in Oregon, this is a duplex located out near the end of Warm Springs road, looking directly across at lower Warm Springs run, and not far from the circular stone house. Split down the middle, each unit has 2 large bedrooms/bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room with huge fireplace, and balcony access upstairs, while downstairs are 2 smaller bedrooms, a bathroom, and door access. Because I was teaching at the Sun Valley Creative Arts Center, climber-realtor-property manager, Louis Stur, a friend of several DFC&FC members and anyone else who loved the surrounding mountains, arranged a rental for “us” on one side of this unit, and the owner sent his son out to live on the other side and “supervise” us. There were A LOT of “us.” Originally, we were all teachers - myself, Chris Korody (previous post), and our colleague from San Francisco, George Leisey. Then, Gordon Williams, Chris Puchner, and Pasha (a dog friend of GW and my dog, Belle Star - see post #46) started hanging around, initiating the pioneering of climbing routes across the huge stone fireplace in the living room. When we took the owner’s son with us on a backpack to Decker Lake and the Finger-of-Fate (posts #38-48), he opened up his side of the duplex to our group and joined our party. We stored all our climbing and camping gear in HIS downstairs bedrooms, so that we could be ready to go at a moment’s notice. (Shelley went on to be a publicist for Arnold Schwarzenegger, on tour doing media with The Rolling Stones, a 17-year Vice President of West Coast Media for Sony Music, and now owns CIA Media, managing Stevie Wonder. She is amazing person with whom I shared some very good times. TY, SS!)! 
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, April 10, 2017

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #49:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #49:  At this point, there is a LOT going on and I want to introduce some of the characters and their cross currents. To start with, right out of college, any job is a good job, so because I still skied resort slopes, I needed a lift pass. When I came to Sun Valley after graduation, I brought with me some of the light show equipment I used in LA, so in my first resident winter (’70-’71), I was not only ensconced at the Bald Mountain Hot Springs Motel teaching photography, but I was running the light show in the Boiler Room, a nightclub at the Sun Valley Lodge. If you follow this blog, you will recall that in post #32, I also mention meeting Kristen Cooper, a student of the workshops I was teaching, and how because of that her mother, Glenn Cooper, asked me to teach photography or the newly-founded, Sun Valley Creative Arts Center during the upcoming summer months. Fast forward to summer, and the above person is Christopher Korody. A classmate of mine from the Webb School, Chris and I are now both out of college and he has come to “hang” with my friends and I in SV. He is also an aspiring photographer and needs work. There is, as yet, no photography darkroom constructed, so Glenn Cooper secures Dollar Cabin for us, which Christopher and I transform into a classroom and darkroom using duct tape and tarpaper from the nearby home construction sites. Dollar cabin is the winter lunch cafe for those that ski Dollar Mountain, so it has numerous benches and tables, as well as two LARGE bathrooms that become our darkrooms. I also convince Glenn that I have too many children mixed with adults taking classes, and suggest Chris should teach a Children’s Photography Workshop exclusively for them, to which she agrees. Dollar is truly a ski “shack” and the darkroom(bathroom) floors had tile and drains, so kids could get REALLY “involved” with their work and it was still easy to clean up. Above on the left is Mr. Korody displaying his quiver of Nikons prior joining our DFC&FC backpack adventure into the Sawtooths, which I have described in posts #38-48. To the right he is “man-ing” the Children’s Photography Workshop display at the Sun Valley Summer Arts Festival. All of THOSE pictures were made without any cameras, and THIS display was a star of the show. 
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, April 3, 2017

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #48:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #48:  Decker Lake and the Finger-of-Fate were a remarkable start to my exposure to wilderness. Lost in thought on the hike back out, I began to consider how I might continue to do trips like this as part of my budding photographic career. These kinds of adventures, and the smaller, more versatile cameras opened a whole new world of vision that went beyond parks, and pretty pictures, to a greater sense of the wild planet. This vision is heady, it makes me high, and when we arrive at the car, I am more wired than tired. I am perfectly clear an amazing door of perception/opportunity has just opened for me. I would also like to acknowledge my indebtedness to Decker Lake and the island, in particular. Not only does my dog (at the time), Belle Star, claim the island HER sovereign nation by occupation (post #46), I note in post #39 that that image of the lake and island were one of my early successful gallery prints. This is another of my early gallery images. Apparently in complete disregard for the health of my ’67 Camaro, I not only ventured up the Hell Roaring Lake access road another time, I did so in a snowstorm at the coming of winter. A great day was had by all, and the lake was beautiful. The Finger never appeared. 
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, March 27, 2017

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #47:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #47:  Val and I had a similar day. I felt we shared the same sense of primal revelation and suddenly looked at the world around in a VERY different and exciting way. In that late afternoon light at Decker Lake, you could see that sense of our discoveries radiating from her. I am sorry she has since passed away. I feel grateful to have spent meaningful time with her. I would also like to acknowledge her family, as they tolerated me and did some wonderful things for the Ketchum-Sun Valley community of which they are still a part. Her parents, Ed and Carol, ultimately donated the funds for the construction of a state-of-the-art darkroom facility for the Sun Valley Creative Arts Center photography workshop program which I helped to found, and although her brother, Ed, and I have not communicated, her brother, Andrew and I touch base on FB. Recently I was glad to see a post of him and his son at the top of Limelight, one of the great ski runs on Baldy that goes top-to-base. I hope those who loved Val enjoy these old pictures of mine. This is my “Madonna of Decker Lake” diptych.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, March 20, 2017

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #46:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #46:  My lovely dog at this time was a black lab named, Belle Star. She hiked well and wore her own saddlebags to carry her food. As the day was hot, and she was black, she always had water to drink, but aside from soaking her paws, she remained dry and consequently quite toasty to the touch. By the time we arrived back at Decker Lake and camp, she was ready for some total immersion. Belle and Valerie had previously witnessed our group of males, diving in, bellowing a lot, and then streaking for the shoreline, so they both did their “thing”. Val headed for her deepwater rock ledge on the other side of the lake which still had the late sun. Belle, not sure why no one had yet investigated the island in the lake, decided that someone had to, and so she headed there. Apparently both women thought it better to get further away from the bellowing.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, March 13, 2017

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #45:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #45:  It was good that Chris and Gordon completed their climb early, not because of the threat of inclement weather, but rather that it was PERFECTLY clear and blazingly hot. Our meadow-mooing, loopy-leaping, and glissading found us wearing less and less clothes and drinking A LOT a water. Apparently this was before any of us had heard of sunscreen or sierra cups - check Gordon’s shoulders. As this is the first time many of us have done something like this, wandering in rugged mountains to find jewel-like gardens with moss and flowers, drinking water flowing from melting snow with no hesitation, climbing through scale and verticality like a small fly in a crack, or moving from boulder-to-boulder like a…? Then comes my open-conscious mind and my Stanley Kubrick moment. For me, the entire day seemed VERY PRIMAL. My body was doing things it had never done, in beautiful places - stunning places - it never even considered before, and yet in my life, my body AND my mind never felt more free, while at the same time, more connected to the planet. It was a “primal” connection, and at moments like these (above) I could not help laughing as my mind’s eye reflected on Kubrick’s primal moments in “2001: A Space Odyssey.”. Gordon even has his stick-weapon thing tethered to his body, so he may reach it immediately in case of attack - his looks way more sophisticated than just some jawbone, though! Water good! Naked at the lake cannot come soon enough!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, March 6, 2017

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #44:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #44:  Quite soon Gordon and Chris appeared from above us and we all broke out our official lunch. It was clear that there was NOT going to be any weather today driving us to cover, and so we all agreed that there was no hurry to return to our lake and camp any too quickly. More mooing and grazing. In the highest of the meadows around us there was still a good bit of snow left in some places, so those of us that had never played in this environment before were tutored by Gordon about glissading and how to use an ice-axe for an arrest. Chris on the other hand, just flipped out. Not having an ice-axe, I glissaded into a stream, and most of us got sunburned on some part of our body. It was fun AND killer beautiful. If backpacking brought you to places like this all of the time, I’m in. This is a world I knew little about but I am about to dive into it in a big way. SO many lakes, and so little time. For now, most of us were fried, and just getting back to our lake for the evening swim was more than enough. Oh, and food! Did I mention food!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, February 27, 2017

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #43:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #43:  We were all so excited, we rose with Chris and Gordon at dawn as well, to find a warm, and crystal clear day (so far) with the Finger-of-Fate etched against the blue sky. Breakfast was had by all - including a DFC&FC culinary secret, a special energy-brew coffee - and we were off. The higher we got, the higher we got. Our ascent through the boulders took us out of the bug zone and into the warming rays of the sun. Chris and Gordon moved ahead more quickly as they still had much to do, but the rest of us were like cows turned out to graze in alpine pastures. We moo-ed around from one flowery meadow to another, and from one waterfall to another, loafing semi-naked, snacking, and taking in the stunning views. By the time our heard reached the highest point achievable without rope safety, Gordon and Chris summited, made a lot of whooping noises from somewhere way above us, and tossed off a few rocks. We called out to them of our arrival, and then we decided to wait for them to downclimb, so we could all retreat back to camp together. Here, Valerie focuses on her footwork and Chris Puchner is a mountain god surveying his domain. The day remained cloudless, and had become really hot. There was actually talk about “going for a swim” when we got back to the lake. How quickly they forget - LOL!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, February 20, 2017

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #42:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #42:  After our baths, the evening grew cool quickly, so we donned warmer clothes and began fixing dinner. We all agreed that we would go to bed early as Gordon and Chris wanted to start at sunrise and summit the Finger-of-Fate before any afternoon weather that might arise. They also suggested the rest of us leave camp early to avoid the bugs, and work on getting our “granite legs” under us. As we all sat with our food in the waning sunlight, the Finger was framed perfectly from our campsite. My climbing colleagues thought we might follow their general direction once we were up and moving in the morning, and scramble up high without doing anything technical. I was amazed when they assured us there were many other small ponds, streams, and meadows amongst the rocks and ledges that you see here forming the base of the Finger. Notably they also warned us that it was important to choose your route of ascent/decent wisely when moving around so that you did not end up getting ledged-up - confronted with a sheer face around which you might not be able to navigate.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, February 13, 2017

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #41:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #41:  For those of you that HAVE dived into high mountain lakes, or pretended you are a “Polar Bear” at various winter events, it should come as no surprise that for those of us who have NEVER done it, doing it comes as quite a surprise. There is nothing so sobering as being completely naked and taking that lunge. When you hit the water, the universal response is, “oh, F*%#, and then you start thrashing frantically for the shoreline and a place to get OUT! The only female amongst us, Valerie watched the succession of males hit the water and bolt, flailing wildly in the air and bellowing a lot, and decided her “bath time” would be a bit more reclusive and quiet. She also said she wanted to have a better place to GET OUT. This is her “launch” ledge. Looks like a lovely evening at Decker Lake doesn’t it. Weather permitting, tomorrow morning Chris and Gordon are going to climb the Finger-of-Fate.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, February 6, 2017

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #40:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #40:  Not even the most avid backpacker truly likes carrying a pack, so we shed ours as soon as we could find suitable areas to spread the tents. Everyone attended to getting camp set up and having some lunch, and then there was a rush of afternoon laziness as we sat about the lakeshore, surveying our new domain. There was no one else here. It was as though we had entered our own private world. For awhile each of us strolled and scrambled around the lake, visiting a lush meadow and beautiful waterfall on the other side situated dramatically beneath the Finger-of-Fate, but as the afternoon wore on, the heat of the day began to dissipate without any afternoon thunderstorms. My DFC&FC colleagues, Chris Puchner (seated) and Gordon Williams (standing) suggested since we were sweaty all day, we might all want to “go for a swim” before the afternoon grew any cooler. As you can see, THEY think the idea is really funny? We, on the other hand, have never dived into a high mountain lake before. See where I am going with this?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, January 30, 2017

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #39:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #39:  Chris and Gordon, my friends in the DFC&FC, had all of us arise at dawn, not only to witness the spectacular sunrise on the Finger-of-Fate above Hell Roaring Lake, but also to eat breakfast, pack, break camp, and get on the trail while it was still cool, and before too many mosquitoes appeared. There is no trail to the Finger, you simply leave the lake trail at Hell Roaring and begin an angular rising traverse through a large boulder field. Several people in our party, myself included, had never carried full-rig backpacks before, and what became immediately clear was that this imaginary line of ascent through the rocks was a lot more difficult and strength demanding than the “stroll” through the forest on the trail we had done the previous afternoon. Then it got hot! With every passing hour, even hotter. It would be 90˚ by noon, and hopefully we would be at the smaller lake by then as well. In the meantime, we were all dripping sweat and shedding clothes. Finally, we seemed to plateau and the big rocks gave way to beautiful flowering, grassy meadows, through which a small stream trickled. Within steps the lake became visible, and although it was much smaller than Hell Roaring, it did not seem small. Actually, having never seen an alpine like, I thought it looked like a blue jewel shimmering beneath these dramatic, jagged ridges of the Sawtooths.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, January 23, 2017

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #38:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #38:  (For those of you that know this place, this is where my story gets very funny). I now own a great Jansport backpack with a hip-belt (thank god!) and a really nice 2-person, A-frame tent with a storm vestibule (whose use I do not yet fully understand). I have also been invited to bring others on this weekend camping trip, so roommates in our housing rental, Chris Korody and Robert Shaw, join us, as does my girlfriend at the time, Valerie Dumke. We all own relatively small cars, so with all the gear there is no car-pooling and I find myself with Valerie and Christopher in my 4-speed, stick-shift, 327 Camaro, following Gordon Williams and the others IN HIS JEEP as we pass the sign for Decker Flats and begin to ascend the horribly rutted road to Hell Roaring Lake trailhead - if you follow this link, note the language “high clearance road.” This is miles of some of the craziest driving I have ever attempted AND, amazingly, I did NOT trash my car. Finally, at the trailhead, pack on the back, boots laced up for the 5-mile forest walk to the lake, I have Sierra cups, sleeping pads, a water bottle, and some lens cases hanging off of various part of my rig, and as I am wearing it for the very first time, I am trying to get used to the numerous straps, belts, and other adjustments that will make it as comfortable as possible. Then, we are off! The trail is great, the walk is hot but easy, and about 2-miles into it, we stop for a water break and a momentary pack unload. I thought it a chance to make my first pictures, UNTIL I DISCOVERED I left both of my Nikon F’s sitting on the hood of my car! I jogged back to find them still there and retrieve them. Following my return, we made Hell Roaring Lake and set up camp within an hour, enjoying a beautiful clear evening. Then we arose at dawn to be greeted by this. Can you guess where we are going? It is a small lake at the base of the Finger-of-Fate.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, January 16, 2017

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #37:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #37:  Another of the images that I printed and that sold well at the time, this reflection in Redfish Creek deals with the landscape as an abstraction, but as is apparent, it is not really dealing with the landscape of the Sawtooths in any descriptive way. There was some part of my own emerging vision that wanted to be able to see and understand the greater landscape, while still rendering it abstractly, a technique and way-of-seeing that I found in the best of Eliot Porter’s images, especially those from the New England woods and the slot canyons of Utah. I began to consider the words of my former instructor, Robert Heinecken, that I might want to use a larger camera to photograph the landscape, and indeed, Eliot shot with a 4x5 view camera. This kind of thinking would eventually have me commuting between Sun Valley and Santa Barbara so I could attend the Brooks Institute of Photography. For the moment, however, it was summer, it was hot, I had the weekend off from teaching the Photography Workshop program for the Sun Valley Creative Arts Center and my DFC&FC friends, Gordon Williams and Chris Puchner were going camping in the Sawtooths to climb the Finger-of-Fate. They thought I might come along and take some pictures. While I had been camping, I had not yet backpacked, so it was off to The Elephant’s Perch for some new gear.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, January 9, 2017

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #36:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #36:  This is another of the early images that I exhibited and sold while trying to establish a presence as a young photographer in the Sun Valley/Ketchum area. This was a gift to me one afternoon on a drive into the Sawtooths to hike around Redfish Lake. Redfish is a big lake and at the far end it is dramatically framed by major summits so it is a very “photogenic” setting. What is apparent in the work that was successful from these formative years is that the best of it was abstract. The struggle that I was having had to do with something I observed in the work of Eliot Porter. He had a magnificent eye for the abstract BOTH up-close, and at greater distance and larger scale. He often seemed able to render an entire landscape as abstractly as he did a lichen detail on a boulder. In my own evolution, I had found a sense of that abstractness in things viewed closely, or minimalized by the “blank” expanses of winter, but when I turned the camera on Redfish and the mountains, the best I seemed to manage would be described as a “postcard” shot. I would soon learn that you will only begin to “see” a place when you know it more intimately, and that comes with time and familiarity. Porter’s best images had a “sense of place” that I did not yet grasp, but that would change thanks to my friends in the DFC & FC.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, January 2, 2017

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #35:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #35:  The other aspect of being in Sun Valley / Ketchum for the summer for the first time was that when I was not working on a project or teaching, I would hang around with my friends in the DFC&FC. One of my best friends, Gordon Williams, had always promised I would find the area more fun in the summer than in the winter, but that had yet to be seen. What was clear, however, was that I could drive and hike many more places, AND getting over Galena Summit to see the Sawtooths was no longer challenging with no snow on the road. Summers are hot in Sun Valley and there are many big lakes at the foot of the Sawtooths that host private homes and retreats. Some of the lakes have lodges and rent boats as well. For me, it was a great place to cool off a bit, expand my photographic vision, AND stare up at the rugged range of summits that so often served as my backdrop or part of a reflection and wonder what it would be like to be up there. The topo maps showed LOTS of smaller lakes higher up.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, December 26, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #34:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #34:  From my new “home” at the beautiful Bald Mountain Hot Springs Hotel, I set about finding employment. I did some food shots for a couple of restaurants, some dog portraits of prize hunting dogs in the area, AND I got Mollie’s Bookstore in Sun Valley to put up some of my prints which generated a few sales. Those prints also caught the attention of local realtors, and in particular, Tom Curran. Tom was one of the most successful realtors in the valley, and he was working closely with the new Sun Valley Company as they were beginning to develop their holdings. He thought having my work in his offices helped to close deals because it showed off the area in ALL seasons. I also put a notice up on local billboards that I would teach photography one night of the week out of my apartment. In one of those classes, a young student really seemed to take a learning leap from my teaching, and so her mother wanted to meet me. The young girl was Kristen Cooper. Her mother was Glenn Cooper, close friend of the Janss family that just purchased the resort of Sun Valley. As the Janss developed the resort, Glenn believed having a cultural center would be a draw for high-end clients and so in cooperation with the Janss, she was promoting something she called the Sun Valley Creative Arts Center, and she wondered if I would like to teach there.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, December 19, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #33:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #33:  Through my college years, the natural world lured me away from the world of rock-and-roll clubs and The Sunset Strip of Los Angeles. First came my discover of Limekiln Creek, then my parents began leasing a home in Ketchum, Idaho, during the winter months and I came up to visit, learned to ski, and began to photograph the then unfamiliar environment of mountains and snow. I met some locals my age that became friends and a loose knit group called themselves The Decker Flats Climbing and Frisbee Club (DFC&FC). One of them, Gordon Williams, and I spent a good deal of time together cross-country skiing and we became friends, remaining so to this day. As college graduation approached in 1970, I made a fateful decision NOT to go to graduate school, but rather begin my career as a photographer, AND MOVE TO SUN VALLEY! Gordon had always told me I would enjoy the area even more in the summer than in the winter, and from my years of visiting the area, I felt there was enough work there for me to survive. Shortly after the official moment of departing college, I found myself putting down monthly rent on a lovely 1-bedroom apartment at the infamous Bald Mountain Hot Springs Hotel. Hey, I have a swimming pool, but it smells like rotten eggs and turns blond hair green!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, December 12, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #32:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #32:  “Except for the fact one eye is frozen shut, that was REALLY great - now we need food!” The cry was heard from all. Exhausted, exhilarated, and encrusted with ice and snow, we finished our last run and headed back to the car. On the return to Ketchum, the Boulders put on a beautiful show tearing the passing clouds apart on their rocky faces. Someone in the car mentioned it would be a great day to ski those foothills, and then someone else said we should all ski into Boulder Basin and winter camp in the old mining village some time. Boulder Basin? Winter CAMPING? That sounded VERY different to me, and really out of my league. Nonetheless, it caused me to consider where my skis might take me if only I had better technique and more experience. I also realized by being “out there” I was creating a very different photographic image of winter than I found in the public market. By the time we reached The Pioneer Saloon and food, I had decided to get serious about my backcountry skiing.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, December 5, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #31:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #31:  Enough esoterica about the light and zen tree shapes, point the tips downhill and follow them! As my good friend and fellow DFC&FC member, Gordon Williams, would say if he saw these lines, “it is more Stein Stizmark than Stein Eriksen," BUT REALLY F*%@ing FUN! So, since we had already done all of the work of breaking a trail through the fresh snow along the ridge, after we hit the road, we got water and “snacks” from the car, and then started back up. In fact, the wind died and the weather never got worse, so we did this a bunch of times until we were totally fried and just barely capable of navigating our way back home. Time for some prime rib at the Pioneer Saloon!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, November 28, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #30:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #30:  Snacks over. Heels locked down. The road and the car are the next stop. One last look around with the camera before tucking it away - and then, this zen-like meditation appeared in front of my lens. “Less is more.” The limber pine is calligraphy from the natural world. Everything else is so “clean.” Simple. In the years after college, when I moved to Sun Valley to work and establish my career as a photographer, the first prints I exhibited and sold did not get published as a portfolio, but they did share a certain visual continuity about “winter.” This image, “Galena Summit,” post #20,”Hard, Wet Snow in the Willows,” and post #25, “Bowls and Ridges” were among the first images to sell well because I think they speak to the universality of winter rather than some specific location. Once again, I would like to thank Gail Severn and the Elkhorn Realty development group for regularly exhibiting these prints and helping to establish my market.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, November 21, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #29:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #29:  Alas, the wind began to pick up and although the coming storm would eventually raise the temperature, at the moment our exposure on the ridge was FREEZING. Seeking some protection, we moved into the trees below the ridgeline on the Wood River Valley side of the summit. The clouds streamed by overhead driven by the rising wind, and the light was gauzy, like a strange haze, because of the ice crystals being whipped around. As we dropped below the ridge, the evergreen trees gave way to some spectacular limber pine, and then the slopes opened and were virtually treeless down to the base near the road where we had left our car. Out of the wind, we were protected enough to take a break and take in our new view. We also woofed done some jerky and “other” snacks, AND we locked down the heels of our bindings. This is where the real fun begins.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, November 14, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #28:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #28:  The crystal clear day began to disappear slowly as we drove north. The predicted storm was moving in from the Salmon River Valley side of the pass. When we arrived at Galena Summit, it had begun to snow in flurries, but it was still viciously cold. At least there was a minimal breeze and the trees along the ridge would also offer us some shelter. As we donned our skis and began our ascent, the cold air burned into our lungs and our breath came out as steam that turned to ice crystals. It was TOO COLD to snow, so even the flurries were more like ice granules than snowflakes. On the ridge it was very quiet and you could not hear noise from the road. The only sounds were the wind, our breathing, and the creak of the ski bindings. The snow on the ground was deep and dry, the trees were laden because the wind had not yet knocked the snow off, and occasionally the ceiling would lift, blue sky would show through, and spots a brilliant sunlight would sweep across the spectacle of mountains surrounding us. Clearly our day is a fine example of “The Higher Your Get, The Higher You Get."
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, November 7, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #27:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #27:  Those stunning cold snaps common to the area caused some pretty interesting visual effects. Open water would steam until it froze over, and sometimes that rising moisture would become rainbow-sparkling ice crystals floating in the air. Other times it would encrust trees almost like they had been “flocked” for Christmas. For downhill skiers, the cold temps meant brutally cold lift rides and often near-frozen fingers, regardless of your gloves. However, cross-country skiing tends to generate a LOT of heat, and so on many of the coldest days, instead to heading to the lift lines of Mt. Baldy my friends and I would take the drive to Galena Summit. Toward the end of one such freeze, my UCLA classmate, Tom Work, and I decided we would drive to the summit and ski the ridge, hoping to take in the view. We reasoned it might be cold, but there was a storm coming that would actually warm things up, and we might get some fresh POWDER from it, so it sounded like a good time to be had, and we were off.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, October 31, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #26:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #26:  Since I often took the drive to Galena Summit for the ostensible reason of seeing the view of the Salmon River Valley headwaters and the Sawtooth Mountains, I thought I should show you that view. Those are the Sawtooths in the distance. Scale is hard to judge, but suffice it to say on this side of the range at the foot of those summits, lie many BIG lakes. The range is also host to 57 peaks above 10,000ft. This is a grand landscape and breathtaking panorama when it can be seen. In the winter there is some limit on those days. Snowfall, as you have seen in previous posts can occlude the view. Many days are screamingly windy at the pass and VERY unpleasant, and REALLY CLEAR days can be brutally cold - the Salmon River Valley, the Wood River Valley, and the surrounding mountains of the Sawtooths, Boulders, and Pioneers are infamous for what is referred to as a "cold snap." Several times in the course of a winter season, the skies will become crystal clear and the thermometer will plunge rapidly into negative numbers over just a few hours, often hitting -15, -20. If you want to "play" up here on the pass, you need to gage when you can, wisely!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, October 24, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #25:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #25:  One afternoon as the the Corvair and I fishtailed our way north on a snowy Highway #75 the storm we were driving around in began to abate. Somewhere in the early approach to the Boulder Mtns. the sky brightened and and the clouds seemed to be lifting, so I thought I would park at the plow-out near the foothills where we had gone sliding (posts #15-#17) and watch to see if the Boulders would "appear." As so often happens for photographers, you may not get the picture you thought you might, but you DO get something great you did not expect at all. That was certainly the case this afternoon. After getting out of the car and slogging around a bit in the new snowfall, the Boulders did not reveal themselves as I had hoped, BUT those smooth hills and valleys we went sliding through sure did. A few years later, after college graduation and my actual move to Ketchum/Sun Valley, I began to sell my best images as signed,limited edition Cibachrome prints and this image, "Bowls and Ridges" was one of the first to sell out - thank you Gail Severn!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, October 17, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #24:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #24:  Over the winter holidays of my high school and college years, there were inevitably days too stormy and miserable to ski, so there were MANY runs made to Galena Summit. I was still shooting both color and B&W, and on one of the other summit runs we made, we arrived at the summit parking plow-out in a howling storm that was spending itself. As the weather began to break-up, the snow stopped, but the wind really picked up. It was freezing outside, so we were happy to sit in the car and just watch. Brutal gusts whipped powder out of the trees and across the road. All the while the sky grew brighter. Until this moment, the view of this frame only included the tree and the dark hill in the near foreground, then the storm suddenly lifted and for many minutes there was a hazy veil of lingering clouds mixed with the blowing snow crystals BEHIND WHICH THE BOULDERS APPEARED IN FULL SUNLIGHT! I would have this happen once again, only at Pioneer Cabin skiing backcountry with friends in the DFC&FC. Follow this blog as it will go on that
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, October 10, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #23:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #23:  Intense snow flurries would blow by my collegue, Tom Work, and me as we wound our way steadily north on Highway #75 headed for Galena Summit, the divide between the Wood River Valley and the Stanley Basin, headwaters of the Salmon River. When we went by the Galena store and the highway began to climb to the 8,700ft pass, we noted the store was closed, and the snow was deepening. The ridiculous Corvair was fishtailing all over the place as we began to climb, and we just tried to keep our forward momentum going. If we stopped without chains, we would be stuck and have to retreat. After several skittish hairpin turns and some serious vertical exposure without any guardrails, we reached the parking plow-out at the summit and stopped to get out. We were afraid that if we started down the other side, would would not get back up, BUT the storm was coming from that direction and we wanted to see it, so we decided we would walk the highway for awhile over to the basin. There was about 12-14" of snow on the ground and it was starting to come down MUCH harder. After I made the image in the previous post, I switched from color to B & W film, which seemed more appropriate to the world surrounding me, and as I walked I just started shooting the constantly changing visible tonalities that were swirling around me as the storm blew in. There was hardly ANY sound except for wind gusts in the trees. Just after a blinding flurry passed over us, there was a brief clearing and this appeared before my lens. I made two exposures, and then the sky closed in and the storm began in earnest. We retreated to the car and back down the summit to the valley, but what had just happened was to become the 1st image in the portfolio, WINTERS: 1970-1980 that I would publish several years later.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, October 3, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #22:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #22:  As we drove north out of Ketchum on Highway #75, we were driving directly into the oncoming storm. By the time we reached the foothills of the Boulder Mtns. it was snowing so hard you could barely see them. The snow was deepening on the highway and we had seen no snowplows working, so we were out here on our own. As I was watching the weather pass through my lens, it occurred to me how unique it was to be photographically functional in these conditions. The 35mm camera was allowing me to create in a place no other camera could accommodate. It also occurred to me that, as in post #20, the "rules" of the landscape image in contemporary photography were NO LONGER RELEVANT. What I was seeing through my lens was more lyrical, less clear and absolute. Increasingly, it also seemed more B & W than color, although I did continue to shoot both. Significantly, I also made note of the fact that Ansel's ideas of the "correct" print having black, white, and 13 shades of grey were laughable during some events in the real world. That many shade variations are simply not present at a moment like this, and there is no black.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, September 26, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #21:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #21:   While I was improving both my camera and my cross-country skiing skills, many of my non-skiing forays involved Highway #75 north to Galena summit. The drive took you to almost 9,000ft and offered stunning views of the the Boulders, the Sawtooths, and the breathtaking Salmon River valley headwaters. With a lot of snow on the road, the white Corvair (seen on the left, here) was the vehicle of choice, and the days of choice for such adventures, were usually when the weather was so bad, no one wanted to ski. As the gods would have it, these drives actually proved very enlightening, and shaped my emerging ideas about the photographic image. At the moment of this picture, there is a big storm coming in and we are getting ready to head for Galena. My friend and UCLA classmate is apparently trying to warm his hands. Note the stylish wardrobe: "rough-out" leather pants and a 3/4 length, faux-fur, hooded jacket. You are looking good TW, but don't light that jacket up!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, September 19, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #20:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #20:   Because I was working with multiple camera formats, some very specific ideas were clarifying themselves about my process. Images such as the last post grew from my interest in how the larger camera/film defined highly detailed subject matter. The larger camera had limits however, and the more I cross-country skied, the more aware I became of the "poetry" of winter, not just the view. It was the 35mm that allowed me to express that simply because it was the ONLY piece of equipment that could be taken to extreme places and kept functional when exposed to terrible weather conditions. That poetry expressed itself one afternoon during a REALLY FIERCE snowfall while touring with Gordon Williams around Triumph. Given the conditions, there was simply no other camera of choice, and I began to ponder what else I might turn to as subject matter that I would NOT be able to address AT ALL with larger formats. Where might this smaller camera take me in pursuit of THOSE images?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, September 12, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #19:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #19:   Cross-country skiing for me was stepping into another world. It took me away from the road, and the sound of cars and people. It took me places few others would ever care to go. It was also a meditative experience as the step-glide-repeat worked best when you concentrated on your rhythm, and that kind of focus also seemed to heightened my overall perceptions. I felt "tuned-in" to everything around me in a unique way. Initially, I toured in the flats with my cameras, while I was mastering cross-country downhill skills, and this is an image made with my Hasselblad that fortells a new direction in my work that would culminate in the published portfolio, "ORDER FROM CHAOS." These images were also an important moment in my life as I was nearing the end of college, during which time I had been photographing rock bands in Los Angeles, and this new subject matter was opening up a very different environment to me that I was starting to "see" in my viewfinder.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, September 5, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #18:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #18:   I am not sure who it first was that suggested I try cross-country skiing, I think it was my Decker Flats Climbing and Frisbee Club (DFC&FC) friend, #GordonWilliams, but it was life altering moment. Except for an occasional sliding foray into the foothills most of my winter experience was on the resort ski mountains of Sun Valley, or driving around on whatever roads that my car could still navigate. Although I first started skiing cross-country by thrashing around on the flats, I quickly realized with climbing skins you could go almost anywhere there was snow, so cross-country skiing opened the entire winter countryside up to being enjoyed just as you might in any other season when you could hike. Here my friend, #JonDavis rounds a slope to take in the view of the Wood River Valley and the Boulder Mountains, and then we will ski back to road!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, August 29, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #17:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #17:   "And they're off!" As in "off-in-their-heads." My innertube ride was first as I wanted to photograph my friends coming down. Because the tube was soft, it was a decent cushion, but a bit sluggish, so my run was uneventful (which is good because crashing with cameras breaks ribs.) Carla was next, and her run suggested a cardboard box with pointy corners was probably NOT a good sliding conveyance. She had GREAT speed coming down the hill, but as the box would catch snow, it would rotate, spinning her around. For awhile she slid backwards. Then, as it reached the base of the steeper part, one of the cardboard corners dug-in, flipping Carla and disintegrating the box, the remnants of which are just behind Andy in this pic. Andy on the other hand is basically on a bobsled run: he "sanded" the toes of his hiking boots trying to use them as a rudder and brakes, AND he slid nearly out to the car. Next day he also had sore ribs and stomach muscles. Was there a better device to slide upon? Indeed! Does anyone remember SAT PARUSH? Along with other boutique stores beginning to open in Ketchum, Sat Parush made large, beautiful pillows for sitting upon and home decoration. We got them to make pillows for us that had vinyl bottoms, and those were fantastic to slide on. We also scouted other slide locations, and found a long, treeless ravine with MANY curves which made for some wild banked turns during the slide.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, August 22, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #16:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #16:   After our view rest at the top of the flats, there was no where to go but up. The question is, "just how far up?" Andy is trying to determine that critical point - "when do I stop climbing and start sliding" AND "how far across the flat will my run carry me (don't want to hit the highway)?" As you can see, the snow has really set up hard. The rolled-up pad is going to be a screaming, hard-bouncing slide, but just how fast and how far remain very unclear... until the 1st run. Carla is beginning to wonder about her cardboard box as the terrain gets steeper, but it all still looks like fun to me. Hey, I have the innertube! Stay with this blog because as it rolls through the years you will see me and members of the DFC & FC on cross-country skis with our backpacks, headed across these same foothills for some winter camping and backcountry skiing in the abandoned historic mining town of Boulder City constructed at 9,500ft and surrounded by the summits of Boulder Basin.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, August 15, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #15:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #15:   On many days in the winter, you may not ski because of conditions or injuries but "cabin fever" drives you outside to do other things. Most days I wandered around taking pictures, BUT in the spring there was another VERY FUN thing to do. North of Ketchum, Highway 93 skirts the relatively treeless, rolling foothills of the Boulder Mountains. The Boulders are quite dramatic when snow-covered and the foothills offer locations for both cross-country skiers and snowmobiles so there are many turnouts for access parking. In the spring, the snowpack on these foothills gets a lot of sunlight as you can see here, so the melt-freeze cycle sets the snow so solidly you can walk across the surface without breaking through. Now, meet my friends Andy and Carla. We have come to the boulders to do some SLIDING. Not yet "professional" sliders, we have arrived with makeshift equipment: I have an innertube, Andy has an ensolite mat, and Carla has a cardboard box
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, August 8, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #14:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #14:   As you can see, there is little vegetation on these hills, so it does not take too much snowfall to literally cover everything except a few tree groves. These smooth hills do make winter conditions more dangerous because of avalanche, but as the year wears on and spring arrives another transformation occurs. Spring wind storms often sculpt and compact the snow in unexpected ways, and the warming sun melts the snow surface each day, sending water down through the snow below, and that refreezes ever more solidly every night. Skiers covet this latter condition, and pray for clear sunny mornings because the first rays of light, rewarm the snow surface causing snow granules known as "corn snow," perfect conditions to ski in. This dense, hard snowpack of spring invites other things than just skiing, however. I did not yet cross-country ski, but as long as the snow has not softened in the sun you could get out and walk on it, AND YOU COULD SLIDE. Boy! Could you slide!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, August 1, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #13:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #13:   The hills around Hailey. Beautiful, simple, clean lines. If you will forgive this old 35mm shot which has not scanned well, you might note that there are few clues to judging the scale of this landscape. The brush in the foreground is still a LONG way from the base of those steep foothills. The tiny black dot just off-center-right is a small tree, and the "sticks" that pop through the snow near the top of the frame are actually a stand of aspen. This is big terrain, and slopes like these that have almost no vegetation to anchor the snow are prone to avalanche and frequently do. As I grew increasingly attracted to getting out INTO this landscape, away from my car and the road, there were risks to consider that were new to me.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, July 25, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #12:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #12:   These early, VERY minimalistic pictures set off an internal dialogue in me that would ultimately lead to one of my first published portfolios, "WINTERS: 1970-1980." What I saw in these images were the simple observations of snow and a snow covered environment. In virtually ALL the other images of winter I had seen exhibited or published, winter was a season - people skied through the snow-covered landscape in magazines, or the picture represented some quintessential view, like Ansel Adams' famous, "Clearing Winter Storm (Yosemite)." No one it seemed looked at the ESSENCE of the winter environment but rather just saw the obvious spectacle and the "setting." What I was seeing was more like a stunning palette of forms and colors that reminded me of Chinese brush-paintings and watercolors.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, July 18, 2016
The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #11:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #11:   My images at this time were constrained by where I could walk or drive THE car. THE CAR was a Corvair Monza that came with the house my parents leased. My parents ALWAYS drove from LA to Sun Valley, in part so my father could transport his 3-month stash of fine wines he intended to drink while eating ducks he shot, so they had a car. The Monza was mine, and an excellent choice it was - regardless that Ralph Nader deemed it "unsafe at any speed" - the beauty of this machine was that it was SO tinny and lightweight, if I/we spun it into a ditch or snowbank, it only took a few people to literally lift the car back on to the road. Best of all, it had AWESOME snow tires, so delusionally, I believed I could drive it anywhere. Regardless, I did not need to go far, as the immediate roads in the Wood River Valley provided ample opportunity to appreciate the simple lines of the hills against the sky. -5 and falling. Cold and clear tonight!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, July 11, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #10:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #10:   Immediately surrounding the Ketchum-Sun Valley area, the foothills of the Pioneer Mtns. and the Sawtooths consist mostly of sage-covered slopes dotted by occasional small stands of evergreen trees. In the winter, snowfall generally covers the sagebrush leaving the hillsides a smooth, pristine white that reflects back the colors of the sky and seems to merge with the passing clouds. Besides putting on a skyshow these rolling hills were a great place to play, especially in the spring as you will see. Ah, but first a bit of the show!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, July 4, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #9:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #9:   If I crossed the property on Wood River Drive and went out the backdoor, I found this. You could fish the river right here, and you are looking up at one of the ridge/canyon systems on Mt. Baldy. Another feature of this view that I feel is iconic to the area and which I photographed often, is the smooth, rolling, treeless slope or foothill. They surround the Ketchum/Sun Valley area and often play with the passing weather in quite beautiful ways as you will see. A final note about this particular view: in the spring, warm, sunny days and cold nights cause the snow to melt, settle, and then refreeze. The next morning, the first sun rays warm the hard frozen snow surface, and it turns to granules called "corn" snow. In these conditions you can quite literally ski anywhere if you just follow the sun on the slopes. One afternoon, seated at the table and view windows of my parents's home and pondering this view, 3 skiers came out onto the ridge above and dropped into that snowy bowl which took them all the way down to the river. Ever wade across a big, fast moving stream of ice-cold water in ski boots?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, June 27, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #8:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #8:  I was a VERY unschooled photographer and so I had not really been concerned with the technical aspects of image-making. Now that I was turning my attention to the landscape and starting to work with larger cameras and film, I began to explore what those techniques might be. I loved the intense foreground-to-background detail that can be achieved by adjusting the aperture of the lens, so I began to work more with a tripod because making the aperture adjustment also causes a much slower shutter speed. With the Sun Valley winter as my subject matter, I was often confronted by brilliant lighting that tested the limits of what the film could record as well. And, I did not have to go far to put all of that into play. The home my parents leased was on Wood River Drive in Ketchum, and the large house and property stretched from the street to the banks of the Wood River. This image was made shortly after sunrise following an all-night snowfall, and I am standing at the edge of the three-car garage, looking through the trees toward neighbor's homes. Depth-of-field? Check! Extreme exposure? Check! Now, run back inside and warm up that pathetic camera.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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Monday, June 20, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #7:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #7:  As you can see from the last post, on days when I did not ski I would go out and drive around with my cameras, working with things the road made available to. When I started to shoot the landscape, I had been told I would NEED to use a larger format camera than my 35mm, so I very consciously began to work with the Hasselblad I had been loaned. For those of you who are not camera techies, a Hasselblad shoots 120mm film (about 3x larger than a 35mm slide), and since it was designed as a studio portrait camera, it is also a square format (convenient for cropping in either direction). While I did like the larger film image and knew it would make a better print, the Hasselblad WAS a studio camera and it did NOT like being outdoors in the cold and the dust. It especially did not like the cold because it had a very large, thin "leaf" shutter, and once it got below freezing for any length of time, the shutter would freeze and the camera would not operate until it thawed out.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, June 13, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #6:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #6:  Besides the (bird)shooting I was doing with my father on ranches near the Wood River Valley, I was also doing a different kind of "shooting" in the foothills surrounding Sun Valley, I just did not have a trick one-piece snowsuit like he did. I did, however, have a 35mm Nikon I had been using to shoot bands in LA clubs, AND one of my father's best friends loaned me his Hasselblad 1000F. Until my freshman year of high school, I had never spent time in a snowy environment and then my parents began trekking to Idaho every fall, so visiting them for Christmas break introduced me to skiing and began my appreciation of winter and the cold. As I got older and took up the camera in college, I began to "look" more closely at the Sun Valley environment in which I was recreating. As an artist, snow offered me amazing sculptural and textural forms, a stunning play of light and shadows, and a kind of minimalism that reminded me of Chinese brush paintings. So out came the cameras and I began my life-changing shift from pictures of rock-and-roll to pictures of rocks-and-trees.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, June 6, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #5:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #5:  Again, my father. This time "sneaking" various spots of the open water that might harbor ducks. In the extreme cold, the crunch of our footsteps made it hard for me to believe we would surprise anything BUT when you came upon a group of birds down on the water, they would literally explode into the air in a rush of wings, splashing, and raucous quacking. It made for some very exciting, adrenalized moments of trying to get good shots off... but it only barely made you any warmer. Doing these things with my father were important moments for us because he worked hard and I was away at school so we hardly knew each other and seldom talked. After a morning like this we would rekindle our lost body heat with a huge, long lunch in some local cafe, where he and I not only had time to converse but we would meet many locals who wanted to know how we had been doing and where we had been hunting. I began to understand how my dad grew his network of connection and friends. Once the shooting was over, of course, they drank!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, May 30, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #4:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #4:  As fall gave way to winter in central Idaho, fishing gave way to duck hunting season. The same ranchers my father befriended to fish their property also welcomed him to hunt those same streams and springs in the winter because their open water attracted large numbers of migratory ducks. Here you see my dad in a classic "wait-and-watch" pose. Hiding behind a blind in his one-piece snowsuit, he has one hand on the pump/barrel of his shotgun, and the other in his pocket clenching a hand warmer (LOL). The Wood River Valley is well known for having some pretty cold weather and this morning is one of those. Standing still, waiting, does not help you trying to stay warm. The upside of the cold, however, is some amazing visuals because the open water is warmer than the air so the river is steaming. Some of the steam is turning to prismatic ice crystals in the morning sun and while all of this is constantly shifting around, ducks are flying by you and around you, coming suddenly out of the glare and the mist. You can get a shot off if you see them in time, but ducks are fast and some times they would just appear out of "nowhere" and blow right by us before anyone could move.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, May 23, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #3:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #3:  In the late fall, this was the trophy that my father came to Sun Valley to pursue. Although he and I successfully fished the upper Big Wood River and the small side-streams feeding into it, THIS FISH was to be found further downstream. South of the Wood River Valley lay the more open plains of the prairie and the farmlands leading to Twin Falls. Here the Big Wood River was free to spread out and meander through the pastures and fields, many of which were part of privately owned ranches. Here also was the remarkable spring, Silver Creek widely considered to be some of the greatest fly-fishing in North America. Now Silver Creek is managed by The Nature Conservancy but at the time it was private and you needed someone local - a "guide" - to access the property. My father often hunted and fished with Joe Clements who lived in the area and introduced him to many of the local landowners so he was invited to hunt and fish on their property.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, May 16, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #2:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #2:  My father was a Hemingway “guy.” He hunted, fished, smoked, drank, and whored with the best of them. Inevitably, he took note of Sun Valley. Not only did Ernest Hemingway author a novel while in residence at the Sun Valley Lodge, but he ultimately bought a home and moved into the nearby town of Ketchum because he loved the hunting and fishing (and drinking). Very successful in his business, my father could take time off to do what he wanted, and so he struck up a relationship with a doctor in Boise who had a home on 6th Street in Ketchum on the bank of the Big Wood River at the foot of Bald Mountain. Late fall marked the end of fishing season, and the beginning of duck hunting. My mother and father would leave Los Angeles for Ketchum/SunValley before Thanksgiving, returning in mid-January. I would join them during my Christmas vacations from high school.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Monday, May 9, 2016

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC #1:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC #1:  Sun Valley, Idaho is set between the Pioneer Mountains and the Sawtooth Mountains in the central part of the state, north of the town of Twin Falls. Sun Valley was developed by the railroad tycoon and American diplomat, W. Averill Harriman  who wanted to expand train ridership in the West. Harriman believed he could stimulate train travel by offering a winter "destination" resort like Europe's St. Moritz. The world's first chairlifts were installed on Proctor Mountain and Dollar Mountain (6,638'), and a beautiful lodge with an ice-rink and an outdoor, heated swimming pool were built nearby. To help promote the resort, Harriman invited many celebrities and Hollywood movie stars to Sun Valley. One of those was Ernest Hemingway who finished his book, "For Whom The Bell Tolls", while staying at the lodge. The resort opened in late 1937, and as it evolved over the years, Proctor fell into disuse, and Bald Mountain, a MUCH larger summit (9,150') in the Sawtooth National Forest was developed. Here you are looking from the foothills of the Pioneers, across the Wood River Valley (over the towns of Sun Valley & Ketchum) to the profile and ski runs of "Baldy," in the Sawtooths.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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