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The Editor's Photo Phenology of Jackson

Mountains are rich in views; it’s why we are drawn to them



Portrait by Amy Stark

Once I lived on the edge of the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, Wyoming, with an unobstructed view of the land from my front window. My daughter’s Teton Science Schools class had undertaken a phenology project, carefully recording the cyclical signs of change in nature over time. This inspired me to embark on my own phenology project, photographing my remarkable view daily at the same time from the same location. At 3 p.m. each day I stood at the window, pointed my camera at the butte and clicked the shutter—an effort that sometimes involved the complex choreography of enlisting help if I was out of town or at a meeting.

Over time, the photos captured the changing light on the green summer hills, the gradual gilding of scrub brush in fall, subtle variations in the white endless landscape of winter, and dark earth emerging as the snow melted with the arrival of spring. Once in a while a bison or elk would wander into view.

When I put the images on a digital picture frame rotation, I could actually watch the seasons come and go, an odd sensation like putting life on fast forward. I realized that the view out my window that on one hand felt timeless, unchangeable and permanent, was literally changing right before my eyes.

Mountains are rich in views; it’s why we are drawn to them. Distant snowy peaks, a lake at sunset, a valley floor, a peaceful stream or raging riverour eyes hunger for their beauty, and watching the landscape as it changes is a pastime in its own right.

When I started my career in magazines years ago, I worked as an editor, then later as a publisher for Wiesner Publishing. I left to start a family and a company, and now, as the new editor of Mountain Living, I’ve returned full circle to my magazine roots. It feels like coming home. 

Much like that transforming scene out my Jackson window, time is marching on in publishing, too—adding multimedia channels such as digital publishing and social media as exciting avenues for connecting more closely with readers. But what has remained the same at Mountain Living is our collective love for the mountains, and providing inspiration for design, travel, arts and entertainment that we can beautifully put to use in our own lives. I’m thrilled to be back—and bring you that enduring, ever-changing view in each issue.

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