499 ROWELL KILLED IN PLANE CRASH
August 17, 2002
Renowned adventure photographer Galen Rowell and his wife Barbara were killed August
11, 2002 in a plane crash near their home in Bishop, California.
The Rowell's had been returning from a three week photo workshop in the Bering Sea
which took them from Alaska to Siberia. They had flown into Oakland International
Airport on a commercial airliner and then boarded a chartered twin-engine Aero
Commander for the flight to Bishop. The plane went down about two miles short of the
Bishop airport. The pilot, Tom Reid, and another passenger, Carol McAfee, also died
in the crash.
About 18 months ago, after years in the San Francisco Bay area, the Rowell's had
moved their gallery, Mountain Light Photography, and their home to Bishop,
approximately 230 miles north of Los Angeles.
Rowell, 61, was the author of 18 books of photography and his pictures appeared in
such magazines as National Geographic, Life, Audubon, Outdoor Photographer and
Sports Illustrated . He was noted for his ability to blend extreme physical acts
with very perceptive landscape and outdoor photography and still focus on the
journalistic context of the images.
Kent Kobersteen, director of photography for National Geographic said, "It's one
thing to take a pretty picture, but he was able to bring back pictures that gave you
a feel for the expedition and communicated emotionally and verbally."
Rowell was an expert climber and one of the world's top alpine photographers.
According to Mountain Light's general manager Justin Black he loved spending time in
the mountains and enjoyed the company of people who felt the same way. His work took
him to the tallest peaks on all seven continents. In 1984 he received the Ansel
Adams Award for his contributions to the art of wilderness photography.
Barbara Rowell, 54, was a photographer, pilot and former director of public
relations for The North Face Inc. She was also president of their gallery and
recently completed her first book, Flying South: A Pilot's Inner Journey .
The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the National Transportation
Safety Board and the FAA.