Nature in a Box: photos are grand, the real thing, grander

Gorgeous photographic images entertain and inspire us: some to see, others to go. Ansel Adams’ photos stir memories, excite the senses, and provoke curiosity. Or should.

While photography is oftentimes a beautiful and faithful representation of a place, it should be a gateway drug to the real thing. There are glorious places, actually existing landscapes behind the photos, enticing us to come.

But as iconic as it is, even Ansel Adams’ masterpiece of the Grand Tetons with the Snake River below falls short of being there: drinking in the silence, watching moody clouds overshadow the peaks and moose browsing the thickets below.

Here’s a metaphor for you. Photography to nature is not unlike good wine in a box is to fine wine in a bottle. Boxed wine can be decent and we drink it, but fine wine is music on the tongue. Nature should be savored.

So enjoy the those glorious photos until someday and soon, you can claw your way out of the box. Get there. Go see. Taste it for yourself.

The real thing truly is grander.


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I was raised in Northern California on a sheep ranch. I'm passionate about working landscapes – balancing the interests of agriculture, thriving rural communities, and healthy natural resources. My husband Richard – the Professor - is a teacher. We live in Idaho with our horses, dogs, and close-by daughter and her family. I'm taking a trip soon and have attempted to introduce readers to some important backstories that will be helpful to understand the context for my observations. To read them, go to Topics in the sidebar and select Rambles with Ruby.

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