Former National Parks photographer shares his story
Landscape photographer Frank Ruggles had enviable access to America's most revered natural wonders during his tenure as eminent photographer for the U.S. National Park Service. Recently he published a book of images he captured during his off-time exploring the parks. The photobook is called "Chasing Light: An Exploration of the American Landscape," and a portion of its proceeds goes to the National Park Trust.
Here's what we learned about this lovely RaceTrack playa image (right), included in the book:
Ruggles had hiked 79 miles solo by the time he reached this moonlit scene on the Racetrack in Death Valley National Park. His aim was to get to the famed roving rocks, which mysteriously move around the flat, dried lakebed on their own accord, by sunset. Ruggles was late in arriving and missed that great sunset shot he was hoping for. What he got was even better—a full moon and a chance meeting with well-known time-lapse photographer Tom Lowe, who walked out of the dark onto the playa. “He scared the daylights out of me,” says Ruggles. After introductions, the two photographers worked side by side, and much to their delight noticed the full moon had aligned perfectly with one of the trails of the sailing stones.
“So at 3 a.m., due to my persistence, nature rewarded me with a perfectly composed shot, and it remains one of the most epic moments I have ever had in a national park,” says Ruggles.
Amanda Arnold is associate editor with Professional Photographer.