PhotographerAubra Franklin
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

The Kulmhotel Gornergrat has stood on Gornergrat in the Swiss Alps, at an altitude of 12,500 feet, for almost a century. The hotel has a breathtaking panorama in the midst of 29 13,000 foot peaks and pure mountain air. On this day, I arose well before dawn to begin my descent to Fissel lake, in search of a specific composition of one of worlds most iconic and beautiful mountains. The conditions for something magical seemed bleak - quite breezy and nothing but stars in the early dawn skies. I felt compelled to keep going. As I approached the lake I noticed the absence of stars at the horizon; the stars were blocked by some high cirrus clouds and appeared to be perfectly placed to catch the morning sun. Unfortunately, a stiff breeze was eliminating the reflection on the lake. I quickly found the composition I had envisioned - one that would highlight the symmetry of the Matterhorn balanced with the asymmetry of the place. One that would emphasize the power of the positive and negative space of the scene. Then, as if on cue, the wind stopped, a perfect reflection appeared in the lake and the sun breached the horizon and kissed the mountain masking the tip of the Matterhorn in beautiful copper alpenglow. The air was crisp and cold, the silence was profound, and it was incredibly serene as I witnessed this marvelous sight. I left feeling very fortunate to have had the opportunity to record it forever!

About Photographer

San Antonio based photographer Aubra Franklin has spent the past decade traveling the world in pursuit of magical moments, a spectacular sensation he calls soul light. His majestic images of landscapes are not only the result of perfect timing, exotic locales, and expert compositions, but reveal the photographer’s keen sense of space and depth. As a professionally trained architect, Aubra sees beyond flora and fauna in a beautiful landscape. Thirty years of experience designing and building have informed his distinct perspective on natural phenomena and epic destinations. As a student he became engrossed in architectural photography and over the years gradually expanded his repertoire beyond illustrious monuments and celebrated buildings to include images of magnificent seascapes and idyllic woodlands. Much like an architect meticulously visualizes his design long before pencil is put to paper, Aubra visualizes how a particular sight and feeling will appear on a print, to capture billowing clouds and towering canyons. Through his lens a grove of flowering trees becomes a collection of grandiose columns and cornices. Aubra’s diverse portfolio ranges from photographs of remote Croatian waterfalls to the soaring Maroon Bells Mountains. His travels have allowed him to capture the serendipity of a perfect sunrise in Utah’s Canyonlands, and the serenity of ships at sea near the Galapagos Islands. Each trip provides viewers with the opportunity to witness Aubra’s vision of landscapes as natural architecture and to experience the mysterious wonders of nature.