In the latest installment of the Adventure Photographer Series, we feature the work of Rion Smith. We were first introduced to Rion when he shared his stunning nighttime photography of the Morrison 2 tent, which now graces the cover of the Mountainsmith facebook page. As evidenced by the following photos, Rion has a passion for traveling and capturing his experiences while taking shelter in his Morrison tent around the world.
Alligator: While hiking through the jungle in Guatemala we found ourselves exhausted near a small creek. While filtering the creek’s water into our empty water bottles one of our party noticed this small alligator on a nearby log watching our movements. He was basking in the sun, not moving. This allowed for this photo, but quickly our minds shifted to thoughts of bigger alligators that may be lurking in the water. It prompted us to move along.
Arches: Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. This was snapped as the sun was coming up and before the crowds of people arrived. In the distance you can see the snow covered mountain tops.
Inca Woman: While bumming around in Peru, our bus pulled over near a dusty, desolate stop. At the stop to greet us as we exited the bus were several Inca women selling hand made goods. The clothing she is wearing is full of color and intricate stitching and was all hand made. The patience she had to do this is beyond me. I was also surprised that the colors in the clothing she was selling wasn’t faded by the wake up dust kicked into the air by passing vehicles. There was no bottled water being sold, which is what I craved, so I ultimately didn’t buy anything and we left. Under all those layers of clothes and the temperature being quite warm, I wondered how she managed to stand there all day without any water (that I noticed).
The Lion: Apparently this lion is quite hungry, scarfing down some fresh meat. What it’s eating, I don’t know, but he sat there while I listened to the crunching of bones and snapped this picture. I was glad that he wasn’t interested in me, but more so, glad the clicking of my shutter didn’t irritate him.
Mayan Ruins: Here lies Tikal, once the heart of the Mayan empire in Guatemala. This is the Jaguar temple where high priests would speak to the masses from the top. This was the center of a city that housed up to 250,000 people. The steps are incredibly steep and high, which poses a risk for serious injury should you slip. We heard that at least a dozen people had actually died within the past twenty years by falling down the steps and suffering grievous injuries.
Peru: Here in the endless waves of sand people can be found exploring and enjoying this beautiful area. Dune buggies carry you out for sand boarding under the intense sun. As the sun begins to set, long shadows are cast and the temperature drops quickly. Your sweat starts to chill you and you find yourself wish the sun and its intense heat would come back.
Portugal: Overlooking the Atlantic ocean in Portugal, we saw waves crashing into sharp rocks casting up these huge plumes of water. About a half mile away, these cliffs fade away into a long strip of sandy beach where people were flying kites, paragliding and enjoying more traditional beach activities.
Rocky Mountains: Desiring something new, my friends and I decided to do a winter hike to try to summit a mountain. We hiked through a snow storm and fierce winds. It felt like a movie – howling winds drowned out our shouts to each other and as decided to set up camp as the sun set. The storm passed around midnight and the moon emerged illuminating our position on the flanks of the mountain. It was serene.
The Summit: The next day, we summited above tree line. The cold and the wind had returned with the sun which did very little to warm the chill cutting through our clothing. I snapped this photo of the surrounding mountains as we paused about 300 feet from the summit for a quick break.
Volcano: In the jungles of Guatemala we slept near an active volcano. At night you could see the bubbling of lava as it flowed down the slopes of the mountain and during the day the frequent emesis of smoke into the air caused us to wonder if we might not be in the safest spot.
Grand Canyon: Here is the Grand Canyon from the South Rim. The colors, from the deep blues to the vibrant reds allow you to understand why this is one of the seven wonders of the world. Unlike hiking mountains, it is easy to get in over your head quickly while hiking here. Going into the canyon is easy as you are just going downhill. But as you tire and find yourself toward the end of your hike, you realize you have the daunting task of hiking up to a mile in elevation and with heat that can routinely reach near or past a hundred degrees.
All photographs © Rion Smith 2013
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