Our friend Dan Mingori, also know as BCD on the forum, is releasing his expanded and improved second-edition of Backcountry Skiing California’s Eastern Sierra. The 365-page color guidebook will be available in November and if you pre-order now you can even save a few bucks! If you splitboard in California or hope to someday visit, this is the guidebook for you.
Pre-order your guidebook here today!
Blessed with a deep snowpack, sunny skies, and high- elevation peaks, the Eastern Sierra has some of the world’s best backcountry skiing and snowboarding. This expanded and improved second edition covers every major peak and canyon in the range, and describes more than 200 descents, from the moderate bowls of The Sherwins, to the high-alpine exposure of Mt. Whitney, to some of the most extreme skiing challenges in America. Loaded with inspiring color photo- graphy, this book is your ticket to a lifetime of adventure.
I’m not entirely sure how I ended up becoming a photographer. It was a slow, gradual process that seemed to flow naturally from my love of the outdoors. Years of hiking, climbing, and skiing through the mountains presented me with ample opportunities, and the camera has always been by my side. I like to tell people that I became a photographer because it allows me to justify all of the time I “wasted” over the years. But the fact is, while it may not have been a conscious decision, I like to think this has been my plan all along.
My photographic process involves waking up early, staying out late, hiking in the dark, and occasionally getting lost in order to catch the dramatic lighting on the landscape. I sit and wait. Sometimes for hours on end. Often, it is rather cold. I sleep in the snow, on top of mountains, or sometimes not at all. And on 75% of those days, my camera doesn’t even come out of my backpack. But every once in a while all of that work pays off, and I am able to capture something that I feel is truly worthy. Each image involves quite a bit of patience, timing, and luck.
The equipment I use to capture my photos is quite simple. The most important piece of equipment I have is a reliable alarm clock, followed by some decent hiking shoes, a bright headlamp, and occasionally a map. Food and water are also somewhat important, though I can get by without them.
For camera equipment, I have a sturdy tripod and a set of graduated neutral density filters. The images are captured using either a medium format film camera, or a modern digital camera. Beyond that, I try not to pay much attention to the technical aspects of my camera, as I strongly believe that equipment is irrelevant.
I am almost completely self taught, having taken only two photo classes in high school, and possessing a college degree in something completely unrelated. Instead of formal training, I have gone the route of trial and error. This has involved spending countless hours in the mountains, doing what I love. And just as many hours spent pouring over photographs, figuring out how to get better.
During the winter, my time is spent on skis, climbing mountains with friends and shooting photos along the way. The snow is what brought me to California, and backcountry skiing still remains my favorite pastime. In 2008 I co-authored a guidebook on the subject (Backcountry Skiing California’s Eastern Sierra), and that is essentially what propelled me to where I am today.
– Dan Mingori