May Photo of the Month: Sunset Reflections in Crater Lake

Photo © Matt MacPherson

Q&A with Photographer Matt MacPherson

TNC: What inspires you?

Matt: I was a pen-and-ink artist for years before getting into photography. I’ve also been a lover of the great outdoors for my whole life. Eventually all these things coalesced: color, composition and nature into one medium.

TNC: How did you get into nature photography?  

Matt: In 2013, I went the Grand Canyon and took hundreds of pictures from my hikes there on my iPhone 3. After returning home to Boston, I was so upset with the quality that I decided to buy a “real” camera immediately. I bought it the same day I landed from that trip. The rest is history.
TNC: What was special about the trip to Crater Lake when you took this photo?  

Matt: Crater Lake is very remote and I was traveling alone. When I arrived, most of the park was still closed due to heavy snow, and a park worker told me the gates would be closed at 9 p.m. Since I was shooting well into the night, I would have to sleep in my car next to the lake. I had one of those night terror things where I was paralyzed and imagined that a body crawled up out of the lake and tried to get into my car. It was the most spooked I’ve ever been in my adult life. I high tailed it out of there the next morning before even reviewing my shots.

TNC: What do you like to photograph?  

Matt: Sunrises and sunsets almost exclusively. Not only do I find the light beautiful and exciting, but I like spending the time in between doing grueling day hikes without having to get my camera gear out.

TNC: What does nature and our region mean to you?  

Matt: Oregon and Washington are special places because you can find such an awesome diversity of topography all within a few hours drive: mountains, rivers, rainforests, desert, prairie, sand dunes, beaches and volcanoes. No other place on Earth comes to mind and offers all that.

Matt MacPherson is a visual artist and landscape photographer based in Boston, Mass. His work has been exhibited in galleries in Boston and New York City, and publications such as Huffington Post and Westways magazine. “American Landscapes” is his photographic project aimed and chronicling the best landscapes from all 50 U.S. states and 60 national parks. Follow him on Instagram.