Photo and writing by Tyler Stavnes
I love being in nature because it offers me an escape from the trials and tribulations of the daily grind — time seems to slows down and it is where I feel the most alive. My mind is calm as I experience nature’s stillness and beauty. The experience makes me feel like possibilities are endless, even though everything feels so much simpler.
Photography provides a means for me to capture and absorb some of the beautiful places I have been lucky enough to explore. Taking nature photos sparks my inspiration and encourages me to continue to embark on more adventures. My photos allow me to save and remember the places I go while enabling me to apply my own unique spin. I feel an emotional connection to a lot of the locations I’ve been here in the Pacific Northwest, and I love sharing my photos with my friends, family and others. I am always learning new techniques and methods to improve my photos.
My girlfriend Genna and I embody the “weekend warrior” culture — we leave home nearly every Friday night after we get off work and spend the weekend camping or sleeping in my Subaru Forester at different places all across the Northwest.
Neither of us ski or snowboard, and we were looking to go somewhere to avoid the snow, so we settled on the Columbia Gorge area. We dubbed this trip our “waterfall weekend.” Gifford Pinchot National Forest was a place we had seen several pictures and decided it was definitely worth the stop on our trip. Of course, we had taken this trip to avoid snow, but the morning of the day we were on our way to Gifford Pinchot, it started dumping snow and didn’t let up all day.
When I climbed down to the base of the falls, I knew that I was looking at one of the most beautiful destinations that the Northwest has to offer. I couldn’t believe that the falls I was looking at was a real place, even though I was standing right there. I looked up to the top of the falls, letting the snow and mist from the waterfall hit my face as I stood in awe. The snow added another level of beauty to the falls. I set up my camera in a location that I thought captured the entirety of the falls. Genna stood in front and I snapped the photo as she was walking out to the edge of the water. Our experience in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest is something we will never forget.
The Northwest is an unbelievable place. It seems like every time I go on Instagram, I see another location that I want to add to my list of places to go. I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of this list, and I have already been to some of the most amazing locations. Washington has so many noteworthy places, and once you start adding places in Oregon and British Columbia, you could spend a lifetime checking places off of your list. No matter where life takes me, I will always call the Northwest home.
Tyler Stavnes is a civil engineer who currently lives in Wenatchee. He spends his weekends exploring and photographing the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Follow his adventures on Instagram.