January 13, nationally-recognized photographer John Fielder and author Jeri Norgren shared stories from their recent book, “Colorado’s Highest: The History of Naming of the 14,000 Foot Peaks”.  The book was first proposed by Ms. Norgren following her research into the naming history of Colorado mountains.  After some initial hesitation having to do with availability of appropriate photos, Mr. Fielder became an enthusiastic participant, realizing he could use not only his own photos but also illustrations from the Hayden Surveys of Colorado (which have been digitized and available in the public domain), sketches and oil paintings of some of the mountains by Robert L Wogrin, as well as two more recent photos from Colorado mountain climber Jon Kedrowski.  If you missed or want to repeat the presentation, Click Here.

The Zoom presentation interspersed images from the book (accompanied by appropriate classical music recordings) with discussions by Ms. Norgren on her research.  The slides included not only some of Fielder’s images but also, among others, some amazingly detailed sketches from the Hayden Survey.  It is impossible for me to adequately describe any of the images but the book is available through Mr. Fielder’s website, “johnfielder.com”. 
Ms. Norgren led off with a discussion of the naming (and subsequent naming history) of Mount Evans.  Although originally named Mount Rosalie by the painter Albert Bierstadt in honor of his wife, its name was changed to Mount Evans in 1895 after John Evans, the 2nd Colorado territorial governor and a backer of the recently completed Union Pacific Railroad.  The members of a Denver literary club (of which Mrs. Evans was a one-time president) strongly, and successfully, resisted several subsequent name change attempts (derived from both some of Evans missteps in his career and from naming conflict with another, smaller Mount Evans nearby). 
Ms. Norgren also talked about the naming history of Mount Massive, near Leadville in the Sawatch range.  The name “Massive” accurately describes the scale of the mountain, but there have been several attempts to change the name over the years, including for President McKinley and Sir Winston Churchill, each of which failed after strong resistance from the residents of Leadville. 
In response to questions, Mr. Fielder commented that, even though each image represents only a fraction of a second, it represents a combination of lots of work (including getting to the site in the first place and then scouting out the best vantage points) and intimate knowledge of his equipment.  In his days of using large-format film, much of the work involved packing in some 65 pounds of equipment and carefully choosing the limited number of images that he could make.  Now, with high-end digital equipment with a dynamic range approximately twice that of film, he is able to make more images and extract more value from the images that he uses. 

Much of Mr. Fielder’s emphasis today is on his environmental activism, his attempts to publicize the dangers of global warming and to save the planet.