I was in Alaska on a Time assignment on the building of the Trans-Alaska pipeline and had been working like a dog in terrible conditions for a few weeks. I had scheduled a helicopter to pick me up from a remote camp in the Brooks Range, and we took off for Fairbanks just as the sun was setting. As we lifted off, the entire Brooks Range went from red, to blood red, to deep red to purple. Spread out before us was a carpet of giant mountains, as far as we could see. It was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever beheld. I started to reach for my bag of Leicas, and then thought, “screw ’em. This is mine. I need this.” And so I put my nose up against the windscreen of the helicopter (it was a quite small one) and told the pilot to fly along the range until it was truly dark. To this day it was a decision I’ve never regretted. All I would have added to the take is a view of some red mountains, squeezed onto a 35-mm frame, and the true beauty of the moment would have escaped. I firmly believe that we must not go through life peering through a viewfinder. You must put the camera down once in a while and really see what is going on around us. We must feed our soul as much as we would feed the Kodachrome in the camera. And there are things, like mountain ranges turning deep purple, that simply do not fit on film.

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