The Rocky Mountains of Colorado are among the most picturesque vistas found in North America, boasting its grand peaks and angles, perfectly carved out of the earth. The mountain range has become a popular tourist destination and outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, skiing, and more. Colorado resident and film photographer Steve Duncanson, a.k.a. STEVED7755 recently rekindled with the analogue life, and found a new purpose of telling the story of the mountain ranges. As an environmentalist too, he aims to document not just the beauty, but also the growing disruption of nature due to overdevelopment and rampant tourism.
I grew up in southern California in the '60s and 70's where the mountains meet the ocean and loved surfing, hiking, taking pictures, and making super 8mm movies. In 79' Pasadena was getting too crowded and with my new wife and sense of adventure packed the truck and headed west to find a new place live and when I got to the Rocky Mountains, I was blown away by the spectacular scenery whether it be the mountains, alpine meadows, wildlife and funky mountain towns with down to earth people. We stayed for a while then went to Hawaii stayed for a while, then lived in the desert near Palm Springs. We ended up back in Colorado to settle and raise a family in the mountains.
The county I live in has one of the largest gold mines in the world and every year the foreign company running the mine plows down acres of pristine alpine forests down to bedrock and leaches the tailings with toxic materials creating toxic mountains. You bet I'm pissed, the same beautiful forests I saw 40 years ago gone in less than 5 years. The pursuit of precious metal, oil, and single-use plastic will destroy the world soon if we don't start taking action. Maybe my photography and concerned comments might help.
I am drawn to open uncrowded spaces with lots to see and do and the Rocky Mountains provided everything I needed.
Colorado is growing too fast and many of the people moving/visiting here do not respect nature and wildlife. I see a lot of "off-roaders' deep in the forest with their noisy ATVs disturbing the alpine forests and scaring off wildlife, it's really changed in the last few years and it's sad. On the positive side, there are also a lot of concerned activists that are trying to change people's minds about what's good for our forests.
I think "tourism" is out of control in Colorado and other places because it is so highly promoted by the state in pursuit of money. They have made too many wild places convenient and accessible. Paved roads, unneeded signs, and trash in wild places need to be addressed. Let people be well-informed travelers instead of tourists checking sites off their list. I like the idea of eco-travelers that would go to a beautiful place in need of cleanup and lend a hand. Plastics flow to remote south pacific islands come to mind first.
I would say the adventurous types should buy a paper map and plan a backroad-only trip through small mountain towns along the Continental Divide. Use the trailheads and hike into some mind-blowing mountain landscapes. I always pick up some trash items as a gesture of gratitude to the place on the way out. Support and respect the locals. Bring plenty of film as it is sometimes hard to find.
I have been fortunate to be able to work from home since March 2020. Much of my job with an architectural firm involves traveling to construction sites taking photos of the progress and issuing reports. I found myself with extra time not having to go to the office anymore and decided to take up film photography again in January 2021 after finding an old camera bag with my father-in-law's Pentax Program Plus and some nice lenses. I found a camera shop bought some film and took some halfway decent pictures. Since then, I have bought another camera, tripod, and an enlarger that I hope to try out this week.
Shooting film again and sharing my photos has brightened my outlook on life that was suffering due to the seriousness of the pandemic and the societal issues we are constantly dealing with issues. I feel I have come to a spiritual awaking and part of the remedy was discovering film and writing again.
I have also been working on a home studio and garage darkroom. I just bought a Beseler enlarger and am actually going to be doing my first print today, Also, the upstairs studio is almost complete, I still need more gear but have done some work in there. I have printed, framed, and matted about 15 of my best shots so far and started a portfolio. I hope to exhibit at some mountain art shows this summer and eventually open a gallery and darkroom dedicated to analogue arts.
A lot of these ambitions are because I picked up a real 35mm camera in January 2021 again and discovered my new desire to leave the digital world behind as I enter my later years. Lomography has allowed me to see so many beautiful places and get to know great people from all over the world, thanks for letting me share what's going on in my world, I never thought a website like this existed.
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