this is a place everyone has seen a picture, or has visited, or read about...it is a national icon and one of the symbols of a patriotic america...it is also one of the most visited monuments in the world, and is always crowded during the summer with tourists, and families, and mobile homes, and more tourists with screaming kids, and backfiring motorcycles, and loud talkers, and more tourists, and, just hundreds of thousands of people, and even more tourists...so why in the would would a person like me who hates crowds and tourist traps want to take an impression of mount rushmore??
i have had a vision in my head, and always said one day i will capture it, but i was not going to go out of my way to drive to south dakota from san diego, ca to take it...i waited to see if anyone would have the same idea as me, because it is a challenging and unique image to try to take...years go by, but nobody did...
and this summer, my pup besos and i were on a huge 11,000 mile road trip across the united states through 41 states with many miles along the north states and canadian border, and we would be passing close by rapid city, sd, so i figured i would give it a try...
"the glaring lights finally switched off the monument, and all the people slowly milled away, when the last car's tail lights disappeared, the quiet of the black hills floated in...and i swear the faces of washington, jefferson, roosevelt, and lincoln smiled, and their eyes sparkled as the stars shined above them, along with the calm silence of the night settling around them, and they sighed" ― bodhinku, mount rushmore at night
“if the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the beauty which had been shown! but every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile” ― ralph waldo emerson, nature and selected essays
“when words become unclear, i shall focus with photographs. when images become inadequate, i shall be content with silence” ― ansel adams
"let us place there, carved high, as close to heaven as we can, the words of our leaders, their faces, to show posterity what manner of men they were. then breathe a prayer that these records will endure until the wind and rain alone shall wear them away..."― gutzon borglum, mount rushmore sculptor
mount rushmore national memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of mount rushmore in the black hills of south dakota. sculptor gutzon borglum created the sculpture's design and oversaw the project's execution from 1927 to 1941 with the help of his son lincoln borglum. the sculpture features the 60-foot heads of presidents george washington (1732–1799), thomas jefferson (1743–1826), theodore roosevelt (1858–1919), and abraham lincoln (1809–1865)...the four presidents were chosen to represent the nation’s birth, growth, development, and preservation, respectively...
since i was a young lad, mount rushmore has had a special place in my heart and mind's eye, and as a photographer, i always wanted to capture an impression of the monument that was different than any view that anyone has seen before, pretty tall order for one of the single most photographed and iconic locations in the united states...
my fascination with mount rushmore actually stemmed from a hollywood movie...i have always loved the alfred hitchcock movie, north by northwest, it is one of my favorite movies of all time, and easily my favorite hitchcock movie...it is a spy suspense movie and stars cary grant and eva marie saint...the final climactic scene takes place at mount rushmore, with the final chase happening across the giant sculptured presidential faces of mount rushmore...
mount rushmore appears in the final suspense scenes of north by northwest. but apart from the initial establishing shots viewing the monument sculpture from afar, and footage in the car park, both the cafeteria and the climatic chase across the historic monument were filmed back at the mgm studios in culver city, ca...all the interior sets, including the final chase sequence across the recreated mount rushmore by production designer robert boyle
whilst the film was in pre-production, the national park service had granted tentative permission for location filming on the strict proviso that no scenes of violence would be filmed "near the sculpture, or on the talus slopes below the structure" or on "any simulation or mock-up of the sculpture or talus slope." the permit was subsequently withdrawn by the department of the interior after a newspaper published an interview with hitchcock in which the director described how he planning a violent chase across the granite faces...
"due to the objection of the government, we weren't allowed to have any of the actors on the faces, even in the interior studio shots ... we were told very definitely that we could only have them slide down between the heads of the presidents. they said that after all, this is the shrine to democracy..." ― alfred hitchcock, interviews
the mount rushmore studio sequences were created using a combination of still photographs (used for point-of-view shots), background transparencies and portions of the rock face made from foam rubber. to capture the photographs, robert boyle and his photographer were lowered down the monument on ropes by national park rangers...
the chase sequence was then storyboarded so that the photographs could be used either as mattes or blown up to form large canvas backdrops. the final effect was so convincing that alice hughes of variety mistakenly reported, "this is no studio mock-up; the actual national monument serves as the scene in those last terrifying moments of sliding down the neck and chest of george washington and the craggy features of abraham lincoln"
"the main problem in the mount rushmore sequence was to make it believable that two people could climb down the face of mount rushmore — it couldn't be done, but we had to make it look believable. so, we went up to mount rushmore, climbed up the back and found that on the top of each one of the heads there was a huge iron ring, with a cable and bosun's chair... we then lowered down each face and photographed in every direction possible every 10 feet and those became the backgrounds." — robert f. boyle
the villain's house above mount rushmore was also designed by robert boyle and his team as a set to look like it had been built by american architect frank lloyd wright—who, coincidentally, died just as the film was being completed. although portions of the structure were built in the studio, including the interiors, the shots of the full exterior were achieved using matte paintings created by matthew yuricich. the surrounding woodland was recreated on a mgm studio stage by transplanting ponderosa pine trees.
"we didn't shoot any of the actual climbing scenes there. we didn't even shoot inside the cafeteria, though we ate in the cafeteria. the cafeteria was built back at mgm to exact scale. the stuff we shot were the scene in the parking lot with eva marie running out, with the faces in the background and some other scenes. we were only there a couple of days...mount rushmore serves as the essence of our country. the country endures. the good guys win. the spies—whoever they are, obviously international terrorists—the mountain does them in. the mountain's spirit prevails. i don't think there's anything wrong with using that as a background" — martin landau, actor in north by northwest
"the mount rushmore set was largely a very safe place, but once the man who was to catch me if anything happened looked away as i slipped and fell several feet, scraping my arm badly—an injury we used in the final film. i hung from a cliff that appeared to be miles high but was only a few yards from a scaffold below. cary saved me from a ledge that appeared to drop straight down. actually, it was on a 45-degree angle. i couldn't have fallen if i wanted to. it looks dangerous, but really it was just a lot of fun" — eva marie saint, lead actress in north by northwest
and of the 4 presidents on the monument, teddy roosevelt is my favorite, because of all his conservation practices and tactic of preserving natural beauty in the united states from big businesses focusing to ruin them for profit reasons...and of all roosevelt's achievements, he was proudest of his work in conservation of natural resources and extending federal protection to land and wildlife...roosevelt worked closely with interior secretary james rudolph garfield and chief of the united states forest service, gifford pinchot, to enact a series of conservation programs that often met with resistance from western members of congress...nonetheless, roosevelt established the u.s. forest service, signed into law the creation of 5 national parks, and signed the 1906 antiquities act, under which he proclaimed 18 new u.s. national monuments. he also established the first 51 bird reserves, four game preserves, and 150 national forests. the total area of the united states that he placed under public protection totals approximately 230 million acres!
on a side note, as a teacher, in some of my photography lessons i instruct to my students, i use numerous hitchcock clips as examples of point of view, framing, perspectivem, and using still photography to create special effects (hitchcock was a genius in his use of photography, especially in north by northwest with the impressions he wants to create in his motion pictures as a director)...alfred hitchcock has so many many profound and direct influences on my photography and my image titles..
“there is a delight in the hardy life of the open. there are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm. the nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased; and not impaired in value. conservation means development as much as it does protection" ― teddy roosevelt, 26th president of united states
"the making of gardens and parks goes on with civilization all over the world, and they increase both in size and number as their value is recognized. everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. this natural beauty-hunger is made manifest in the little windowsill gardens of the poor, though perhaps only a geranium slip in a broken cup, as well as in the carefully tended rose and lily gardens of the rich, the thousands of spacious city parks and botanical gardens, and in our magnificent national parks—the yellowstone, yosemite, sequoia, etc.—nature's sublime wonderlands, the admiration and joy of the world. nevertheless, like anything else worth while, from the very beginning, however well guarded, they have always been subject to attack by despoiling gain-seekers and mischief-makers of every degree from satan to senators, eagerly trying to make everything immediately and selfishly commercial, with schemes disguised in smug-smiling philanthropy, industriously, sham-piously crying, "conservation, conservation, panutilization," that man and beast may be fed and the dear nation made great. thus long ago a few enterprising merchants utilized the jerusalem temple as a place of business instead of a place of prayer, changing money, buying and selling cattle and sheep and doves; and earlier still, the first forest reservation, including only one tree, was likewise despoiled. ever since the establishment of the yosemite national park, strife has been going on around its borders and i suppose this will go on as part of the universal battle between right and wrong, however much of its boundaries may be shorn, or its wild beauty destroyed.” ― john muir, the yosemite
“parks benefit everyone. and those who approach nature with arrogance instead of reverence, may fail to reap the rewards available to all who recognize that the enlightened journeys are those made with the mind, not the body" ― ron lizzi, go outside and come back better
"the chance to create an impression, one based on a childhood vision of awe and reverence of the artistic genius of alfred hitchcock, is just something that truly brings photography full circle for me" ― bodhinku, my influences
MORE MEANINGFUL QUOTES
“keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground” ― teddy roosevelt
“wilderness, or wildness is a mystique. a religion, an intense philosophy, a dream of ideal society...we are not engaged in preserving so many acre-feet of water, so many board-feet of timber, so many billion tons of granite, so many profit possibilities in so many ways for those concerned with the material aspects of the world. yet, we must accept the fact that human life (at least in the metabolic sense) depends upon the resources of the earth. as the fisherman depends upon the rivers, lakes and seas, and the farmer upon the land for his existence, so does mankind in general depend upon the beauty of the world about him for his spiritual and emotional existence" ― ansel adams, our national parks
“to waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed" ― teddy roosevelt, 26th president of united states
“destroying rainforests for economic gain is like burning a renaissance painting to cook a meal” ― e.o. wilson
“if all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. if insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos...but understand that humanity is part of nature, a species that evolved among other species. the more closely we identify ourselves with the rest of life, the more quickly we will be able to discover the sources of human sensibility and acquire the knowledge on which an enduring ethic, and a sense of preferred direction, can be built" ― e.o. wilson
“nature may reach the same result in many ways. like a wave in the physical world, in the infinite ocean of the medium which pervades all, so in the world of organisms, in life, an impulse started proceeds onward, at times, may be, with the speed of light, at times, again, so slowly that for ages and ages it seems to stay, passing through processes of a complexity inconceivable to men, but in all its forms, in all its stages, its energy ever and ever integrally present. a single ray of light from a distant star falling upon the eye of a tyrant in bygone times may have altered the course of his life, may have changed the destiny of nations, may have transformed the surface of the globe, so intricate, so inconceivably complex are the processes in nature. in no way can we get such an overwhelming idea of the grandeur of nature than when we consider, that in accordance with the law of the conservation of energy, throughout the infinite, the forces are in a perfect balance, and hence the energy of a single thought may determine the motion of a universe.” ― nikola tesla, my inventions
“the 7 social sins are:
wealth without work.
pleasure without conscience.
knowledge without character.
commerce without morality.
science without humanity.
worship without sacrifice.
politics without principle.” ―
"contemplate without thinking. stop the world. slow down everything. shut off the noise. relax. seize this moment. reconnect. feel and sense what surrounds you. listen to all the colors of light that envelope you. see the melody and harmony that floats about unnoticed. taste the solitude of all this wonderment. smell the beautiful silence within your peaceful serenity. then, reach out and touch your faith. this is my world. awaken." ― bodhinku, my world
above all else as always, i hope this message and image find you well.
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