Pale di San Martino, Dolomites, Italy (2015)
Life is too short. Too short to accomplish everything that you could want to do, to go everywhere you could want to go, and to spend enough time with everyone you love. I had the most painful reminder of this truth one afternoon while I was temporarily living in Portland, just over a year ago. As I was preparing dinner, I got a call from the wife of one of my best friends: Jeff Swanson, her husband, my shooting buddy and fellow sailing crew member, had passed away that morning. At the age of 30.
Anyone who knew Jeff, even just through photography circles on the internet, genuinely adored him. His inimitable wit, playful charm, and positive attitude made him an internet darling and, to those of us lucky enough to know him “in real life,” a cherished friend. We all knew that he had melanoma and was fighting it valiantly, but somehow I felt that nothing could bring down a guy like Jeff, at least not so soon. It’s really hard to communicate even an inkling of the pain that I still feel today, pain and frustration that this amazing world with all of its wonders and miracles couldn’t save this awesome person. Perhaps with more support, the Melanoma Research Foundation will achieve a breakthrough that will make a huge difference, maybe even a cure. Wouldn’t that be awesome? If you would like to help, please consider visiting the memorial page set up in Jeff’s honor and generously hosted by SmugMug, with all proceeds from print sales going to fund the MRF.
This photo was part of a tribute event on the website 500px.com, in which three dozen of the world’s best landscape photographers dedicated an image to this cause. More about this event is detailed in the following article about it: