People are quite shocked when I tell them I took no photographs during my recent trip out west to raft on the Selway River - a 47-mile stretch of Class IV whitewater. It flows through the pristine Selway Bitteroot Wilderness described by author Wallace Stegner as the "geography of hope." Huge moss covered western cedars grace this river canyon and its banks, giving it a distinctly Northwest feel despite its proximity to the Continental Divide. The cedars and Ponderosa pine make the Selway’s fast moving flow into an ever changing canvas of green and gold.
No, my camera didn't go overboard in a rapid. Not bringing it along was a very conscious decision. I didn't want to be distracted by equipment and the pressure to capture the beauty that was there every moment. It was a choice to immerse myself in the river world, to watch a new ripple geometry and stare into standing waves, to let my photographer's eye study the play of light in each changing moment with no further obligation.
A week unplugged left me more recharged than I have felt in a long time. And I have a treasure trove of Selway image memories that I can recall whenever I wish – no devices needed.