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Mountain Musings

From his farm along the East Gallatin River north of booming Bozeman, MoJo columnist Tim Crawford reminds us why rural landscapes are worth protecting in exhibition 'Moods of the Bridgers'

He rises toward the mountains every morning before dawn, glances at them through every season as he tends to chores on his land (protected via conservation easement through the Gallatin Valley Land Trust) and every night he steps out just before dark to catch the alpenglow cast on them by the setting sun.  In every valley in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, we find comfort, awe and humility in local mountains, all of which are sub spurs of the Northern Rockies.
For professional protographer Tim Crawford, his most immediate backyard home range is the Bridgers, though from the middle of the Gallatin Valley, when there's not smoke, snow or rainclouds blocking the view, he delights in being able to see a larger panorama that includes the Absarokas, Gallatins, Madisons, Tobacco Roots and northward, the Horseshoe Hills that roll forth as a visual entre to the Big Snowies.

In a new exhibition that's up for the rest of August at Cafe M, 777 E. Main in Bozeman (across from the Bozeman Public Library), Crawford offers a free showing that you can enjoy with your daily cup of coffee and pastry. It's called "Moods of the Bridgers" and features a wide array of Bridger views, taken in every season, from roughly the same vantage point. 
"Greater Yellowstone gives us a shared identity and shared sense of stakeholdership but we're all keenly rooted in the sight and nuances of the individual mountain ranges we call home," he says. "I hope these little natural portraits help people have a deeper appreciation for open space wherever they encounter it."

The late American realistic painter Andrew Wyeth was asked why he never ventured farther away from the Brandywine River country in Delaware and his reply was that he didn't need to, because all he ever needed to make a great painting was right in front of him, Crawford says. "I subscribe to the same kind of thinking. You could stand in the same spot in Greater Yellowstone and just by tweaking your perspective a few degrees have an infinite array of options for taking a memorable photograph."

Crawford says he hopes that his photographs will inspire viewers that natural beauty is the reason people choose to live in Greater Yellowstone and come here on travel adventures. But protecting it requires that citizens support conservation efforts that protect the things shaping the rural character or they will vanish forever.  Doing nothing, he says, will not deliver a desirable outcome.

NOTE: Click here to see images from an earlier Crawford mini-exhibition titled "A Congress of Owls."

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