Prior to his death in 2002, photographer Galen Rowell spent his life exploring nature and attempting to capture the beauty of some of earth's most unforgiving peaks. I first learned about Rowell reading Three Cups of Tea - the true story of a mountain climber who builds a school in a small, impoverished village in Pakistan (I highly recommend the book) - and his photos of the famed K2 helped bring the story to life for me. I quickly discovered that his photography of national parks here in the US is also incredibly stunning and have me ready to plan a wilderness escape myself (well... as soon as things warm up anyways).
Much of Rowell's work embodies a sense of transcendence - there's something quite ethereal about it - which he addressed when he said, "If we limit our vision to the real world, we will forever be fighting on the minus side of things, working only to make our photographs equal to what we see out there, but no better". What a beautiful thought and one that speaks volumes outside of photography too.