The three photos that changed me

February 15, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

I was talking to a friend the other day about how photography is a journey and the path can be surprising. I took a photography course in High School and enjoyed it, but at that age I was very scattered and the concepts were too much for me to take in. Years later, my good friend Noah and I went on a hike and he brought his camera. As we were hiking he told me about the concepts of photography again. The terms sounded familiar but the processes behind them were still foreign and besides, I didn't want to haul a heavy DSLR on the trail with me. I always had my iPhone with me and the camera on that did just fine. 

A few months later I was hiking by myself and I came across a little bush with beautiful red berries and Mt. Rainer was in the background. Noah had told me that photographers saw shots in their mind and then took the picture. I saw the shot I wanted in my mind, but for the life of me, I couldn't get the shot with the iPhone. The shot I ended up with his below. 

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It was frustrating I couldn't capture what I wanted to. 

I was hiking by myself almost all of the time at this point and I loved documenting where I went, so I decided to start looking at cameras. My history in life is to immerse myself in something, buy absolutely everything possible to make myself better at whatever the thing is I am immersed in but then never learn the "thing" I am doing. I would get frustrated and declare it a failure and get rid of everything. I decided to approach photography differently. Research led me to decide I wanted a camera with interchangeable lenses. Then when I was faced with a shot like the berries where I couldn't take the one I saw in my mind, I would do more research to figure out what I needed. That strategy has served me well in photography and in life. 

Over time, my landscape photography developed and I came up with an idea that I only wanted to take pictures of landscapes with no one in them. For a few years, I was hiking by myself and taking pictures of only mountains and trees and the things around them. 

Then I climbed Mt. St. Helens with my friends Colton and Rebecca. We were probably mid-mountain as the sun was rising and Rebecca was looking at Mt. Adams and since I was with my friends, I wanted to take some pictures for them. This picture of Rebecca looking at Mt. Adams made me take pause because I captured a moment in time that I felt conveyed emotion. It is still one of my favorite pictures I have taken. 

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While the three of us were on the summit that day, we spent a lot of time looking at Mt. Adams and decided to attempt to climb it. Two weeks later we attempted Mt. Adams. Adams is a little different than Helens because you can actually camp on the mountain. There is a spot around 10,000' on Adams nicknamed "the lunch counter" and that is where camp is. Normally you climb to lunch counter, set up camp, get some rest then start out early for the summit. Summit morning we started out around 3:30am and were on one of the snowfields as the sun was rising. It was a beautiful morning and the sunrise had amazing colors. There were a few climbers going up the ridge to our right and I took a picture of their silhouettes. That really cemented in my mind that people were not only OK in photos, but to some extent, essential. 

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Since then I have taken classes on portraits and headshots and really enjoy working with people on shoots to try and delight them. The three photos on this page were vital to getting me where I am today. When I look at them, I am reminded to stay open minded and fluid because you just never know what photography, or life, has planned for you. 


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