Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Vern Clevenger, Photographer (click Vern's name to go to his website)

Sunday Ray and I went to the Southwest Art Festival in Indio. I was so happy to see Vern Clevenger there selling his photos. I went over to talk to him. I reminded him of how I met him nine years ago in the Sierra. After we talked and I had walked away, I went back to Vern's photo stall and asked if I could have my photo taken with him.

Anyone who has been to our home recognizes the photo behind me of the Sierra cottonwoods in fall color. I have this print taken by the photographer, Vern Clevenger, the man on my left.

I came to meet Vern while Tina and I were backpacking in 2000. Tina and I had just arrived at our night's campsite - Guitar Lake - stragically positioned to camp there for our early morning Mt Whitney summit at 4am in the morning.

Not long after we arrived at this campsite I noticed a family of four hiking up the trail towards us. The man, Vern, looked like he'd been in the back country for years. Vern was carrying a massive backpack. As I recall he responded, after being asked, that he was carrying around 70 lbs. That's a lot and it's really a lot at the 11,000 foot elevation of Guitar Lake. Behind Vern, was his 9 year old son carrying a small backpack the size of a day pack. Vern's wife came into view next carrying a child carrier backpack that was empty. The child was out of the backpack, behind Mom, running up the trail in her cute but very dirty dress and bare feet. The family of four was doing the JMT (John Muir Trail - 220 miles in the most beautiful section of the Sierra).

Long story short....
The kids were ecstatic when Tina and I unloaded some of our extra candy and offered it to the kids. What I didn't know until the next morning was the family was not only out of candy for the kids but were mostly out of food.

We met the Clevenger family at the top of Mt Whitney the next morning and chatted some more. It was during this talk that I found out Vern had no food. I couldn't believe he was carrying that heavy backpack up another 3000 feet with no food for energy. I'd left my backpack at Trail Pass for the summit of Mt Whitney and was only carrying a large fanny pack. I felt so sorry for Vern I gave him the food I had packed in my fanny pack to eat while luxuriating after having reached the summit.

Vern was so grateful. He took my snail mail address and not long after I arrived home I found a package delivered from Vern. He sent me a signed copy of one of his beautiful Sierra photos. Previously I had not known he was a photographer.
When Vern had a showing of his photographs in Beverly Hills a year or two later, I went and bought another 5 photos of his. That's when I bought the large photo of the cottonwoods in full fall color.

More shadow photos of me and Stacy behind while on the Bump and Grind months ago.

Me, Ray and Stacy.

1 comment:

akvirtue said...

you can even make shadows fun!