January Photo of the Month: Into the Solstice

Written and Photographed by Beau Ramsey, Northwest Photographer and Adventurer

It’s all the moments, the memories, the adventures, the suffering, the beauty and the freedom that draws me back to my first love.  Nature. It’s those moments you’re face to face with a black bear in the dense, wet swamps of the Washington coast. The startling moments spooking a heard of Roosevelt Elk in their sword fern beds and hearing their breathing close by.  It’s that connection to life, that connection to nature that inspires me to always want more.

It’s never a simple question when asked how nature influences my work. I guess to put it simple nature is a part of who I am.  It was never something that was forced upon me but rather a beautiful world I discovered as a child.  A place I went to find my balance when I felt a little off.  I started taking a disposable camera on my early adventures. I think it was just to prove to my family and friends the things I would see or what I would catch and release from the creeks.  Eventually I grew up, moved from the coast to the base of the Cascade Mountain Range.  The jagged, snowcapped peaks beckoned my heart for new adventure. 

I started to explore these alpine mountain wonders filled with danger, excitement, physical challenges and jaw dropping views.  I quickly knew I had to upgrade my camera to capture these exquisite glimpses of surreal beauty. I had to find a way to bring back a slice of what I was experiencing above the hills.  My passion has always been the experience first and the photography second.  The photo I’m sharing was from the longest night last year so I decided to utilize all the hours of the night.  Rather than complaining about these short days, I thought why not be thankful for the long nights.  These long nights filled with beautiful stars, crisp air and vast landscapes with no people around.  Some of my greatest memories are hiking under the moonlight.

My partner and I started trekking up the snowy Skyline Lakes Trail in the Central Cascades with heavy overnight packs around 1am.  The air was cool and the clouds opened up to make short glimpses of the starry night sky.  As we ascended the trail, I quickly set up my tripod and captured this long exposed photo. Often times, capturing a photograph in the outdoors requires a quick reaction while always being prepared for the perfect moment.  The more you take photos the more you can predict these moments. We eventually made it to the frozen, snow covered lake.  We dug in our snow camp and with proper gear, comfortably fell asleep.  We woke in the morning to a beautiful sunrise and fresh snow on our tent.  Once you experience these moments the mountains always seem to call.  Sometimes they call at night.

As a 5th generation local from Long Beach, WA, Beau Ramsey has deep roots here in the Pacific Northwest.  Beau currently resides north of Seattle, WA and is owner/operator of Ramsey & Adams Construction.  During his free time he’s found exploring the outdoors of the PNW and capturing those moments as a photographer. Follow his adventures on instagram: @beauramsey