His epic scenes require hours of patience and ease under pressure
National Geographic explorer Stephen Wilkes’ decades-long project, Day to Night, required rigor. First, he has to get to a site, often a challenge, and then he has to stay behind the camera for hours—sometimes more than a whole day—all to capture thousands of frames for a single composite image that captures the ground. The landscape shows the march of time. For the September issue’s cover photo, he hiked through shin-deep mud to a remote beach in Washington state when a cougar stalked.
We spoke to the photographer about how he managed to capture “America the Beautiful” in just four stunning scenes.
What’s the story behind the cover?
Over the past 12 years, Wilkes has photographed his Day to Night series, which has expanded from documenting cities across the United States and eventually the world. He has also become more interested in grasping social and environmental issues.
The cover story features the setting of Bears Ears in Utah, Jay Bar El Ranch in Montana, She Beach in Washington State, and New Orleans City Park. The distinct locations featured in the article each have a rich history. Wilkes noted that Bears Ears has been at the center of a debate in recent years about which lands need to be protected.
Capturing a landscape over time in a single composite image is difficult for several reasons, says Wilkes. For this project, some sites were remote and required strenuous hiking or even camping, and of course, the weather played a key role.
He made the cover picture from 44 of the 2,092 edges caught north of a day and a half at Bear’s Ears.
Wilkes shot the Bear’s Year during an uncommon planetary arrangement and during the very few days of Easter Sunday, Passover, and Ramadan, which typically just happens once at regular intervals.
“It was a brilliant involvement with this guide besides a strong connection that causes you toward look at old civil establishments, and particularly nearby culture — how they perceived what [people] were finding in the stars and How did it convert into their ordinary timetables.”
Photographing the four locations
Photographing the four locations required a four-hour trek through deep mud rainforest with equipment, balancing on a 20-foot cliff for nearly 18 hours, and even battling extremely strong winds and waves. Nature threw him another curve ball at Shi Shi Beach.
What’s more, however, the group returned sound, he adds, “There’s nothing similar to dealing with a path of shin-profound soil realizing a cougar is following you — invigorating and critical. “
In his pictures, Wilkes trusts perusers will feel a feeling of excellence and wonderment and maybe be enlivened to turn out to be more engaged with safeguarding these and different spots.
“Science is transforming into a troublesome district — people have zero faith in the data,” he says.
What is featured on the cover?
When Wilkes first looked for sites for “America the Beautiful,” he saw a stunning photograph taken by Mason Cummings of the Citadel at Bear’s Ears, the park’s landmark, with remnants of Anasazi rock dwellings. are Wilkes knowing immediately that the unique physical feature, shaped like a bridge, would be perfect for a day-and-night treatment?
The conservation status of Bear Ears has been poor for years. Former President Barack Obama designated it a national monument in 2016 because of its sacred and historic status among Native Americans. President Donald Trump then reversed the order to open the park to mining a year later. Before more damage could be done to the habitat and monument, President Joe Biden reinstated the protections in 2021, with the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Pueblo of Zuni, Ute Indian Tribe, and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe all pushing for action. gave
“Since when you step into where I was… there’s set of encounters under your feet.”
He supports the preservation of natural habitats not only for wildlife but also for their historical significance, especially in the case of Bears Ears. The park is rich in artifacts and structures that have come to light over the years.
“Suddenly you’re looking at all these incredible things that are centuries old,” says Wilkes.
Its purpose of capturing the full moon and the alignment of the planets is ultimately linked to indigenous cultures as some people used the stars and the moon in navigation to determine the year. Planning to photograph the site during a full moon—an important event in local culture—Wilke s began tracking the phases of the moon. Ultimately, he saw sunrise and moonrise in mid-April and Caught Bears Ears as well. and ease under pressure
He believes the site is underrated because of its proximity to another beloved national park: the Grand Canyon. Bears’ Ears are just as magnificent and should be protected just as much, he says.
What’s next for Stephen Wilkes?
Wilkes plans to document endangered species in Canada and the Great Caribou Migration in the Yukon.
While in Canada, and ease under pressure
he also plans to one-day photograph wood bison and grizzly bears in a day-night landscape—and even someday photograph beluga whales and climate change. Will continue to work to highlight affected animals and habitats.
Gray Room is an academic journal dedicated to modern and contemporary architecture, art, media, and political theory. Published quarterly, it is dedicated to the task of promoting and sustaining critical inquiry in each of these fields separately and their interactions. The Gray Room is located at the intersection of architecture, art, and media, with the belief that all three fields are important to the understanding of modern and contemporary aesthetic practice, as well as to the broader characteristics of modernism. As such, the journal fosters a rigorous, interdisciplinary dialogue between these disciplines to promote politically informed, critical discourse uniquely relevant to the current historical situation.
Publisher information and ease under pressure
Among the world’s largest university presses, MIT Press publishes more than 200 new books each year, as well as 30 journals in the arts and humanities, economics, international affairs, history, political science, science, and technology. are also published. We were among the first university presses to offer titles electronically, and we continue to embrace technologies that allow us to better support our scholarly mission and disseminate our content more widely. Press’s passion for innovation is reflected in our constant exploration of this frontier. Since the late 1960s, we’ve experimented with electronic publishing tools for generations. Through our commitment to new products—whether digital journals or entirely new forms of communication—we continue to find the most efficient and effective means to serve our readers. Our readers expect excellence from our products, and they can count on us to maintain our commitment to developing rigorous and innovative information products for whatever the future of publishing may hold.
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