From January 1st to March 17th, I dedicated nearly every moment outside of my day job to photographing the Rattlesnake Wilderness under the auspices of winter. From extended weekend trips to 12+ hour day-trips, I became obsessed with chasing light in Missoula's Wilderness. The bubbling torrent of Rattlesnake Creek at Franklin Bridge - my usual base camp - became a familiar white noise, portending the next day's photography mission high into its watershed.

The purpose of this project, more than scratching my own Wilderness itch, was to highlight the splendor, peacefulness and sheer magnitude of a Wilderness Area that nearly literally lies in Missoula’s backyard. How blessed we area to have unfettered access to such a wild and life-giving space.

Click here to view the short film about the project.

Original print style, size and prices are listed with each image (click on the image to view). Shoot me an email if you are interested in purchasing a print!
Serpentine | Rattlesnake CrestCrown of the Rattlesnake | McCleod PeakThe Plunge | Rattlesnake CreekAspiration | Mineral PeakRattlesnake Crest | From MissoulaWilderness Face | Mosquito PeakFrosted Trees | Mineral PeakWitness | Murphy PeakReaching | Big LakeSecond Home | Stuart PeakBackyard Wilderness | MissoulaAlpenglow | Main CorridorFirst Light | Stuart PeakRattlesnake Creek | Elk MeadowsIce Cave | Franklin Bridge AreaWall | Elk Meadows AreaMoonlit Walk | Mineral PeakFresh Tracks | Mosquito PeakMineral Peak and the Swan RangeFrosted Rocks | Mineral Peak

Guestbook for Rattlesnake Wild
Lori Erickson(non-registered)
Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful photos and working with the Missoulian where I first learned of your photography. You definitely have a talent for capturing nature's beauty and using light to great effect. I have often viewed spectacular scenery, and know it is very difficult to capture its essence in a photo - you are a master and we all benefit from your work. Thank you!
GARY R GREGORY(non-registered)
I so much enjoyed your article and amazing photos! Growing up in Missoula I was able to explore most of the country in your photos. I, too, took advantage of winter camping opportunities, mostly in the Mission Mountains. The alpine winter scene is truly a special place. In 1962 I painted a picture of High Park Lake in March - the painting is still hanging on my wall. I thought you might be interested in an email I sent out to friends yesterday: "http://missoulian.com/news/local/farewell-to-winter-rattlesnake-wilderness-shows-different-character-under-snow/article_96ef8ab4-9ba6-5f5e-9408-833e0cf273c3.html Be sure to look at the photos!

I thought you, Bob and Dave, would be especially interested in this article. Just for the information of the other addressees: Bob Meinrod and I, and later Dave, made many winter trips on snowshoes up to a Soil Conservation Service snow course on a plateau just below the crest of Stuart Peak. We were in Forestry School at Montana. Bob M. and I had read where the school was looking for someone to take over the job of taking monthly snow samples during the winter months at several sites, including Stuart Peak, TV Mountain, and two sites on and near Lubrecht Experimental Forest. Bob and I thought that it would be not only fun (ya, right) but lucrative (ya, right) for financially struggling students. I believe Bob and I slogged the steep (3,425’) 5 ½ miles up and another 5 ½ miles back sixteen times from 1959 to 1962. Dave, being much younger , took the program over when Bob and I graduated.

I don’t think there were many jobs around that paid less per calorie expended. The $1.25 per hour kept gas in my ’48 Plymouth, kept me in school, and the snowshoeing maintained the shin splints in my legs. We would leave the University before daylight on a Saturday morning and drive a WW 2 jeep to the trailhead at Spring Creek when it was possible to drive that far. It was always a challenge to get back to the jeep before dark. The wind was nearly always howling at the snow course and the blowing snow often made it difficult to even find it. We had to yell so the other could record the weights of the 8-12 feet of snow cores. One day the blizzard was so bad Bob and I couldn’t even retrace our tracks back down the mountain in below zero temperatures. We ended up in the creek bottom fighting blowdowns in the dark. Our fear was that the jeep wouldn’t start with the severe cold. It did start, so we are still kicking today! We needed some good speed to blast through several snow drifts on the road out – the jeep with a rag top had snow drifts inside by the time we got out. It was nearly midnight when we got back to the University. Such fun times!" Thanks so much for bringing back the memories, Brian!
Dorothy Crocker(non-registered)
What marvelous photographs you have produced. Thank you for showing these beautiful images.
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