Lonely Planet Writer

Photographer labels American mountain peaks in this sweeping panoramic shot

American photographer Jason Curtis loves exploring the great outdoors. So much so, he’s started creating ‘labeled panoramas’; epic, sweeping prints of mountain ranges that detail their various peaks. This one, ‘The Cascades,’ depicts the Pacific Northwest, taken when Jason was climbing ‘the Tooth’, a peak in the Snoqualmie Pass area, near Seattle.

Photographer creates 'labelled panoramas' of American peaks
The Cascades, Tooth Panorama. Photo courtesy of Jason Curtis

“Ideas of creating these panoramas had already been brewing in my head when I came across some of photographer Will Landon’s work, and was blown away,” Jason begins. “Some of his stuff was done by lugging a special panoramic film camera to the top of peaks. In my work, I take photographs with a normal digital camera and stitch them later to end up with panoramas that can be used for small or gigantic prints.”

“When I moved to Seattle,” he continues, “the pointy mountains were just a pretty backdrop. Over time though, I realized that the mountains are so much more – they’re an endless playground of adventures waiting to happen! Once you realize that, each glance at the mountains becomes a game of ‘Name that Peak, ‘Which Ones Have I Climbed,’ or ‘I Can’t Wait to Climb that One Next.’ My labeled panoramas are a reference tool for those games, and a way to bring the whole experience home.”

US photogrpaher portrays Cascades in sweeping panoramic shots
North Cascades Tooth Panorama. Photo courtesy of Jason Curtis

The project is a really interesting mix of nature and technology – does Jason see tech as a helpful tool for pursuits like climbing and hiking? “Absolutely,” he says. “I’m always looking for ways to combine my love of problem-solving, nature, and learning. Technology unlocks so much for us outdoors people. I see this every week as a member of Search and Rescue; the mapping tools just keep getting better and better. And I see it as a climbing instructor too – the quality and quantity of useful information out there is just outstanding. The crux is often in accessing it all, distilling it and finding a way to present it for a particular purpose.”

Going forward, is there anywhere in particular Jason would like to capture? “I’ve been blown away by the reception of my work,” he says, “and have started selling prints. I’ve been collecting all kinds of feedback, especially requests for upcoming projects. There have been a lot of requests for the North Cascades, and I just got back from a five-day trip out there. I’ve got about a thousand photos to sift through, and then you may see something come out of it!” See more on Jason’s Instagram