White Lightning
White Lightning
White Lightning
White Lightning

Christopher Burkett

White Lightning

New Hampshire, 1989

Original Cibachrome Photograph

Pristine condition

certified authentic
Add to Collection $1,500.00
White Lightning
White Lightning
White Lightning
White Lightning



Original Cibachrome photograph by Christopher Burkett, “White Lighning.” Individually handmade by Christopher Burkett from 4×5 format transparency film. Mounted on cotton rag Antique Rising Museum Board. Signed in pencil on mount with title, date and edition number on mount verso.



“In September 1989 I was photographing in Vermont and New Hampshire. One place I found to have great photographic potential was the Franconia Notch area in New Hampshire.

I arrived there just after sunrise. The wind was calm, with a misty layer of ground fog. The sky was clear and the sun was shining through the fog, illuminating everything with glowing light which was soft but at the same time directional. This special light is rare but when it happens, everything in the landscape becomes astonishingly beautiful.

The conditions were perfect but I had only minutes before the moment passed and the light would be gone forever. When I came upon this scene I saw this composition in a flash.

With the sun directly behind me, the tree was beautifully illumined with extraordinary light. That extraordinary light made the white trunk shimmer and glow and gave shape and shading to the red and green leaves, yet still left the deep forest dark in the background. The stage was set, the performers were ready and perfectly situated for a command performance.

I quickly set up my large format view camera and composed the image using my 600mm Fujinon C lens. The tree was slightly below me so I used the front lens shift to avoid any keystoning effects. After carefully focusing, I double checked my spot meter readings, since the light was rapidly changing, and calculated the exposure, making one photograph on Fujichrome 100 at f/22-2/3 for 1/8 second.

While the image on the transparency film was beautiful, making the Cibachrome it was difficult. It wasn’t until 27 years later in 2016 that I was able to make Cibachromes which fully expressed the transformative light I experienced on that quiet, peaceful, very special morning in the mountains of New Hampshire.”


All Christopher Burkett photographs sold at Photography West are new and in pristine condition. HD videos of the individual piece you are purchasing are available upon request. For more information, please


Christopher Burkett has labored for over four decades to create what many regard as the most impeccable and luminous color photographs in the history of photography. Gifted with a contemplative spirit as well as painter’s eye, Burkett has an uncommon ability to capture the natural world in a manner that simultaneously reflects “the world behind the world” as Minor White and Paul Caponigro might have put it. And although Burkett has been compared by curators to American color landscape photographers Eliot Porter and Ernst Haas, whose genre of American landscape photography he extended, neither of them exclusively developed their own film, nor attempted the darkroom standard clearly in evidence upon viewing Burkett’s original Cibachromes.



Cibachrome, also known as Ilfochrome, is among the most stable of all color photographic processes. The dyes reside within the emulsion layers, giving the photograph its characteristic color saturation. The base is a polyester triacetate, rather than fiber-based paper, which adds to the longevity. It was a positive-to-positive photographic process based on the Gasparcolor process, created in 1933 by Bela Gaspar, a Hungarian chemist. Purchased after the merger of Ilford UK and Ciba-Geigy Photochemie of Switzerland, the process was first trademarked and marketed as Cibachrome in 1963. Each Cibachrome is composed of ten layers containing various combinations of light-sensitive silver halides and dyes that are sensitive to blue, green, or red light waves, which gives it an incredible depth and three-dimensional quality. After exposure of a positive, either through an enlarger or direct contact, the Cibachrome must be developed with black-and-white developing chemicals. This step creates a silver negative image within the layers. Next, the photograph must be bleached. The bleaching rids the photograph of dyes in proportion to the amount of silver that has been developed in the previous step and produces a positive dye image in color. In 2011, Cibachrome/Ilfochrome products were discontinued and it is now considered a historical process.