gordonwiltsie gordonwiltsie

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Gordon Wiltsie  Explorer, photojournalist, veteran contributor to Nat Geo & many others. Sharing reflections from a long career celebrating earth’s wildest places.

Fog shrouds primeval forests growing on cliffs deep in the rugged, seldom-visited Tsangpo River Gorge in #Tibet, one of the world's deepest canyons and a site considered sacred by Tibetan Buddhists. For many years I largely ignored the pictures from this early @Natgeo assignment of mine because the editor killed the story after a host of difficulties, including miserable weather, leeches, leopards and a race with a rival explorer, prevented us from making through the narrowest part of this awesome chasm. I dismissed all of our efforts as wasted and only now am I finding a silvery lining as I revisit some of the images. At the time, all I saw in the pictures was hardship and rain, but in retrospect I see beauty emerging in places where it wasn’t apparent at the time. #tsangpo #zangbo

With temperatures hovering about 50 degrees below zero, members of polar explorer Will Steger’s International Arctic Project begin a four-month #dogsledding expedition across the #ArcticOcean to Canada - via the North Pole. Here at the northernmost tip of the Severnaya Zemlya Archipeligo north of Russia, the days were short and ice conditions very unstable. Moments after I shot this picture another two other members and several dogs fell into the frozen ocean through a hidden thin spot and nearly perished from hypothermia. But the team persevered and made it to Canada 4 months later. One of the primary goals of the expedition, which took place in 1995, was to provide an exciting focus for schoolchildren to learn about the Arctic and it was one of the very first to upload words and images to the newfangled worldwide web on a daily basis. Sadly, despite much greater subsequent appreciation about the perils that #climatechange bodes for polar regions, temperatures have continued to rise, the ice is thinner and there is enough open water that the expedition might not still be possible today. #northpole @stegerwildernesscenter #dogs

Gonchigsuren, a Mongolian nomad, poses with his favorite #cat. When his family is on the move, the cat rides in a pillow case tied to the saddle of the old man's horse. To boost his enthusiasm for this picture I first shot a couple of polaroids of him outside of the yurt in his favorite garb & preferred pose: ramrod stiff & arms at attention by his side. Then, as we relaxed with small talk over a glass or two of fermented mare’s milk, he scooped up the cat and seemed to forget all about the camera. #Mongolia

The Lady Washington is a close replica to the first American-flagged ship to round Cape Horn to California and later Honolulu, Hong Kong and Japan. The modern version was built as a floating museum out of Gray's Harbor, Washington, and during her recent California visit, I went for a short excursion out to sea. For all of my experience dealing with ropes as a mountaineer, I can scarcely imagine how her sailors could keep track of which lines to pull (or release) in her 3 miles of rigging, much less how they did it while pitching and shivering in rain-soaked gusts during a storm in the furious fifties. It was wholly different dimension of "adventure.”

One of the best parts of my work as an expedition photographer has been to witness spectacular places that few people have ever seen and then to show them to the world. Here, in a previously unpublished image from an exploratory flight across #Antarctica, we watched in awe as midnight sun illuminated the little-known Mühlig-Hoffman #Mountains on the southern edges of Queen Maud Land. It is unlikely that anyone will ever be in just the right place at the right time to see this perspective again.

In this picture from my archives, Russian explorer Dr. Victor Boyarsky turns his back to subzero winds near the North Pole during a 4 1/2 month dogsled expedition across the frozen Arctic Ocean from Russia to Canada. Victor is one of the great figures of modern polar exploration who worked for many years at Soviet-era science bases in the coldest and most inaccerssible parts of Antarctica. He is so comfortable with frigid temperatures that many mornings during this journey he stripped down and stepped outside the tent for a snow bath. Together with American Will Steger he had previously dogsledded 1700 miles across Antarctica the long way and is shown here in the middle of a similar expedition with Steger on the opposite side of the world.

While driving through California's spectacular #OwensValley last week I spotted this bald #eagle perching in a tree. I was astonished by how close it allowed me to approach and stared for many long minutes through my telephoto hoping that it would fly and give me a more dramatic image. But as uncomfortable as the bird's perch appeared, it was far enough overhead that my presence didn't seem to bother it and it just stayed put, surveying the view. Unfortunately I had places to go, couldn't wait for the #bird to get bored, and I eventually left it in peace. I suppose I could have yelled or tossed a rock, but that hardly seemed sporting and certainly didn't fit the mood of the afternoon. #birds

In the middle of the lunar #eclipse this morning, the Super Blue Blood #Moon hovers over the eastern #SierraNevada and Big Pine, California. #bloodmoon

Happy Winter Holidays to all! This is one of the prints available from my holiday sale (link in bio): Shining throught the long #winter night, the lights at Golomianiyy Weather Station bring little warmth to the minus 50 degree air at Russia's polar #SevernayaZemlya archipeligo. #Russia #arctic

Happy Winter Holidays! After several exhibits in recent years, I am having a big sale of my existing, signed, matted and mounted fine art prints. Each is least 40% off my regular pricing, with free priority mail shipping. Order now to get one by Christmas and also to get the best selection. There is only one sale-priced print for many of these. See the link in my profile. Shown here: a stormy sunrise illuminates the east face of #MountWhitney in California’s #SierraNevada #sale

Morning #mist clears to reveal Mount #Andromache in in the Canadian Rockies of #Banff National Park in #Alberta.  #Canada. #landscape #mountains

A raven soars over the vast high prairies of #Montana. #birds

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