What is it about a scenic view that inspires wonder? Do beautiful vistas have the power to heal? As I hike with my camera, I’m always looking for those special places where space and light magnify natural beauty to create a sense of peace and reverence. To capture a panorama of heart-stopping beauty, I find myself stepping back to take it all in. I call it taking the long view. I sense the power of the Earth and respond with awe and gratitude. I now know that there is solid science to explain my ecstatic responses to natural beauty. In Healing Spaces: The science of place and wellbeing, neuroimmunologist Esther Sternberg looks deeply at the connections between healing and place. She explains that beautiful views are linked to stress reduction and strengthening of the immune system (endorphins play a big role). Now I know why I feel so good peering off into the mountain distance!
Since last summer, I've been working on a new series of landscapes called Long View. My hope is that these convey some of the awe and peace (and endorphins!) I felt as I photographed.