Thursday, September 17, 2009

Legendary Climber's Camera Goes To Space

No, Bradford Washburn didn't make it in to space, but his expedition camera did...

Last May, as a crew of NASA astronauts completed the final repairs and enhancements to the Hubble telescope, astronaut John Grunsfeld brought along a much smaller, older camera. Grunsfeld, an avid climber, snapped the final photos that will ever be taken with the late-Washburn's famous expedition camera, a 1929 Zeiss Maximar B 4x5.

Washburn was one of the leading American mountaineers in the 1920s through the 1950s, putting up first ascents and new routes on many major Alaskan peaks. Washburn pioneered the use of aerial photography in the analysis of mountains and in planning mountaineering expeditions. His thousands of striking black-and-white photos, mostly of Alaskan peaks and glaciers, are known for their wealth of informative detail and their artistry: a full gallery of Washburn's photographs is available here. Barbara (Polk) Washburn accompanied Brad on many expeditions, and in 1947 became the first woman to summit Denali. Washburn was responsible for some of the finest maps ever made of mountain regions; his maps of Denali and Mount Everest are perhaps the most notable.

Ansel Adams said of Brad, only partly in jest:“I fully expect to hear someday that Bradford Washburn has visited the moon, climbed Copernicus, and photographed the lunar Apennines from a private, orbiting module."

From the VerdePR blog...

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