Guest Photographer

Believe the View: October Photo of the Month

Written & Photographed by Barbara Joan

I had the great fortune of growing up outside. Thanks to my dad's love for and appreciation of the mountains, my earliest and fondest childhood memories involve summers spent foraging for native berries and morel mushrooms, camping under the stars in the Umatilla National Forest, and swimming in remote wilderness rivers. I made houses from sword fern fronds, learned to recognize where the dolly varden were hiding, and took naps in the shade of old growth forests.

Last fall, the depression I experienced in my 20s surprised me by reviving itself the same way I've seen beetles return from the dead when they believe danger has passed. I didn't see it coming and wasn't prepared to manage the familiar feelings and uninvited distorted thinking that invaded my world like noxious weeds.  I knew I needed to go outside again and so began my quest to find the beauty in my local public lands and, in the process, remember the beauty in me.

This was a view I found in the first days of August, 2016. Starting in the early afternoon, my husband, my three-year-old and I hiked past Mount Rainier's Frozen Lake to Second Burroughs Mountain. We lingered at the crest for some time in an effort to identify the many wildflower blooms and backcountry birds that fluttered about. We've completed many hikes in and around Mount Rainier, but this was our first time in the alpine tundra and there was so much determination, resilience and hope to take in. What at first glance seemed like a barren wasteland was actually replete with life and I was mesmerized. The parallel to my own internal journey was clear.

I took this photo on our way back down the mountain. Instead of returning as we'd come, we opted for the slightly longer route down the Sunrise Rim Trail. In the early evening glow of the setting sun I heard my son say, "Wow! Mommy! Look at this view!"  

I stopped and turned and looked back behind me at this big, glorious, patient mountain. "Son," I said. "Can you believe you own a part of this view?"

He looked at me curiously. "I do?"

"You do. And so does daddy and so do I."

And without a pause, his eyes large and bright and smiling, he said, "We're RICH!"

And we are, aren't we?

Barbara takes and posts pictures of public lands to inspire others to go outside and experience our blessed inheritance and advocate for its protection and preservation. You can see more of her images on her Twitter feed: @publiclandlvr.

Stilled by the Streams: September Photo of the Month

Written & Photographed by Katherine Scheulen, Northwest Photographer

This particular photo is meant to evoke calmness, the almost meditative state you feel when gazing at any creek, river or stream.  The dusky light, the smoky water, the stillness of an evening where only rushing water roars in your ears.

I really wanted some bluish, low, dusky lighting, so my girlfriend and I waited until evening to wander out to the Old Robe Canyon trail along the Mountain Loop Highway. I wanted to pick somewhere with a good steady flow of water and a trail that wouldn’t be too strenuous to hike back in the dark. Robe is a well-built trail that fit the bill. I set up my Nikon D3300 on a tripod looking out toward the Stillaguamish River, framing it with a few close rocks and a point of rock jutting out into the water. Set the aperture to f/16 with a long exposure since I really wanted the water to look glassy and almost smoky, a good contrast to the jagged roughness of the rock.  I had my girlfriend actually press the shutter for me as I scrambled out onto the point. Having one person in the shot to show the scale of the landscape is a great tool I enjoy using. The only trouble was getting me to hold still long enough for the shot!

Landscape photography attracts me in many ways, but especially as a device telling a story about wild places.  I grew up in western Washington, the daughter of a mountaineer and an avid recycler backing the 80’s when recycling wasn’t just a given. Conservation and leave no trace ethics are practically in my blood.  I cherish and respect our public lands. My hope is always that my photography reflects those feelings, whether it be an intimate look at an individual leaf in its perfectly niche design or a huge panorama to shrink ego and lift the spirit.

Seattle is her home, and she is a native Washingtonian. Katherine has been hiking since a very young age with her father, who was an avid mountaineer in the 80’s and 90’s.  Recently, she has started to do a bit of backpacking too and can’t wait for her next adventures. Follow her adventures on instagram: @hiker_katherine

Healing in the Land: August Photo of the Month

Written & Photographed by Kamini Fonseca, BSc. 

Loowit Falls chunders downward with thousands of gallons of glacial melt per hour at the foot of the blast zone on Mount St. Helens.

Starting early in the day, I begin a 27 mile round trip Adventure into the blast zone with a sunset return in mind. The wildflowers are plethorus! Purple Lupine, Yellow False Daisies, Yellow and Black Arnica, and Giant Red Paint Brush all add to the surreal environment.

I find it very powerful and confirming to return to Mount Saint Helens after 26 years to see the incredible regrowth as I begin a new, myself, after a massive Traumatic Brain Injury.

My camera provides me with an integral aspect of healing as it offers an intense mental detail when my physical body requires rest. I'm classically trained as an Exercise Scientist and Wilderness Responder with FEMA credentials, so I'm well-versed at community health and how nature can support healthy minds and bodies.

I lead lots of educational adventures in and outside of Seattle when I'm not making house calls during the week. I specialize in High Performance Training, Functional Neurology and Chronic Pain Management with sports medicine and Natural Science.

My current Community Wellness goal for my photos is to implement them as tools for reducing stress in healthcare settings patient waiting rooms and hospitals. 

E-mail her: or follow her on instagram: @yidography 

Land of Free Beauty: July Photo of the Month

Written & Photographed by Evan Eremita, Northwest Photographer

Last year the northwest was treated to a very early and long summer which, to me, translated to lots of swimming! I decided early on to spend most of this long summer seeking out and jumping into as many blue and turquoise lakes as I could.

This hike was to Goat Lake in the Goat Rocks Wilderness, in the center of three volcanoes, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Adams. After a good swim in the beautiful turquoise waters, much snacking, and a long nap in my hammock, it felt just about right to start making the hike back to the car. I decided to make the loop and take a different trail back, and I'm glad I did. Long views of Mt. Adams towering above thick forest highlighted the early portion of the hike back, especially as the sun began to set and paint the sky with beautiful pink and purple tones.

What looks to be a giant cloud in the left side of the frame is actually thick smoke from one of the many wildfires last summer. Mt. Adams is acting as a barrier, momentarily keeping the smoke to the east. Another beautiful end to a beautiful summer day in the Pacific Northwest.

I first got into photography shooting with a cheap point and shoot camera on a 4 month cross country road trip, eventually landing in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, which is now my current home, living in a sailboat in Seattle.

Evan's goal as a photographer is to help develop a deeper appreciation for this beautiful world we live in, to spark something in the back of people's minds to become a little more conscious and caring for the earth with their actions. To see more of his work visit his ETSY shop, and follow his adventures on Instagram: @Snuggly.Bear!

Mesmerized by a Golden Coast: June Photo of the Month

Written & Photographed by Tu Do, Freelance Cinematographer

I once made it a goal to experience the sunrise and the sunset every day for an entire year. There is a beautiful quote that says, "There's a sunrise and a sunset everyday. And you can choose to be there for it or you can put yourself in the way of beauty." And I took that to heart. I learned from that experience that no matter how routine my day was, the sunrise and sunset never looked the same. 

I am very grateful to be able to experience the beauty that the Northwest offers. Having spent a lot of my youth in the flat lands of Florida, I love driving around the winding roads of Oregon and Washington, always something new around the corner. It can be a snow capped mountain, giant sand dunes, pristine lakes, and towering waterfalls. 

This photo was taken right at the end of the day at Second Beach near La Push. Many folks had set up tents and bonfires, enjoying this beautiful afternoon. As the skies started to wash into a twilight blue and purple, many people began to walk back to their cars. I had a feeling the sun wasn't quite done with impressing us all. So my girlfriend and I sat and enjoyed the view for a little longer, and the sun peeked behind the clouds one last time and set the sky ablaze. It only lasted a good 5 minutes so I asked my lovely lady to pose between the two rocks and created my favorite shot from the evening. 

Nature truly never ceases to amaze. As we all go about our day, don't ever forget to look around your surroundings. It's the moments that you don't expect that you'll always remember.

Tu Do is a roaming cinematographer that has spent time all over the United States. Currently based in San Francisco traveling the world and shooting cool content for Twitch. You can find more of his film work at and his photography on Instagram: @twodough

May Volunteer Spotlight: Hannah Letinich

The month of May is a time when trees are leafing out, flowers are blossoming, and birds are migrating north – a great time to be a photographer in Washington State, so it is fitting that we are highlighting our lead volunteer photographer, Hannah Letinich, for our May volunteer spotlight!

Hannah has been volunteering with TNC a little over a year and just recently went from volunteer photographer to lead volunteer photographer. She coordinates and bottom-lines assignments with fellow volunteer photographers and videographers, ensures staff photography needs are being met, and provides guidance and direction on assignments in addition to photographing special events, volunteer work parties and other fun projects.

Aside from volunteering with The Nature Conservancy, Hannah has been involved in photography most of her life and studies multi media production at The Evergreen State College with a focus on Sustainability and Justice. Through her volunteer work with TNC she has been growing as a wildlife and documentary photographer.

Learn more about Hannah in her interview below, and check out some of the assignments she’s worked on for us.

The Nature Conservancy: What inspired you to start volunteering with The Nature Conservancy?

Hannah Letinich: I am inspired by the success of TNC, the people I encounter and photograph who are creating change and awareness in order to preserve the amazing places on the planet.

TNC: What gives you the most hope for the future?

Hannah: I see hope in the younger generations, they are learning how to be more respectful of nature and are more aware of their impact.

TNC: What's your favorite thing to do when you're not volunteering?

Hannah: When I'm not photographing I'm communications manager at Mountain to Sound Outfitters and my favorite past time is paddling my 18 foot wooden canoe with my Fiancé Todd.

TNC: What do you think the world will be like in 50 years?

Hannah: I have no idea, but let's make it great!

TNC: Who is your environmental hero?

Hannah: My Dad Rob Letinich, he lived on a wooden sailboat, ate and shopped local, was conscious of his impact on the Earth and helped others see the benefit in being sustainable.

TNC: Is there anything you would like to see The Nature Conservancy doing that we are not already doing?

Hannah: I am very excited about the volunteer photography program in Washington, I hope it grows moving forward to help build imagery that will help promote the preservation of Washington's wild places!    

After Sunset: April Photo of the Month

Written and Photographed by Jason Neuerburg, Northwest Photographer

Curiosity fuels a lot of my adventures. I love driving forest service roads just so I know what's at the end of them. Same goes for hiking trails or a campground space. There's so much to discover in the Northwest and last year, I made over 40 trips to go find what's out there.

It was February of 2015 and if you remember – there wasn't any snow. It wasn't difficult to convince my friend Kit to join me for a few nights of backpacking. The forecast was set for mid-70's near the coast. We took an early ferry to the peninsula and made our way to Port Angeles to pick up our bear bin and camping permit. Then off to Rialto Beach to hike up the coast to Hole-in-the-Wall Camp. We spent the weekend in front of these two huge sea stacks, which were great subjects to photograph – both during daytime and nighttime.

Since I love to shoot night photography, I always try to look for a campsite with open sky or a subject to light up or silhouette like the sea stacks. This shot combined light from the late evening sky, our campfire, and my headlamp laying inside the tent. When you don't have the powerful sun to contend with, it's much easier controlling the lighting. You can use headlamps, flashlights, glow sticks or even your phone to add light to a scene.

The coast is a wild place to explore and experience its powerful vastness. I plan on more excursions to the coast this year and anticipate capturing a lot more photographs at night around campfires with friends. 

Jason grew up in the Driftless Region of Southwest Wisconsin. He's a freelance photographer in Seattle and enjoy coffee, hiking, camping, and going to see live music. Visit his website for more nature and music-centric photography and join him on his adventures here: Follow Jason on Instagram: @driftless_photographer

Welcome to the PNW: March Photo of the Month

Written and Photographed by Chris Liedle, Northwest Photographer

What's the familiar saying? Sometimes the best adventures are the ones you didn't plan for. That's what you could say happened here. My friend Matt and I packed our hiking gear and grabbed our cameras, and then took off for the Columbia River Gorge. Where should we go, what should we see? Oneonta Gorge, yes. Gorton Creek Falls, maybe. What about Spirit Falls? We checked our GPS. It added nearly an hour of driving time. We quickly began passing freeway exit after freeway exit, then missed our turn off to Oneonta. I guess, Spirit Falls it is!

We left Oregon and crossed into Washington, winding our way up to the trailhead. And by trailhead, I mean, goat trail. It's a steep, half-mile scramble on loose rock to the falls, but the trail is used just enough. Swollen from recent rains, Spirit Falls thundered through the canyon. We were there for only a few minutes, when I saw a kayaker in all red, scouting the drop. When I saw him reach for a camera, I knew someone was coming. No time to change lenses. The kayaker plunged, disappeared, then dodged a fallen tree. We cheered him on as he paddled below.

I shot a series of photos, hoping at least one picture turned out. I was stunned. The image was beautiful. The true colors of the Little White Salmon River came to life in the sunlight. Thick fir trees towered above. The paddling kayaker, frozen in time. Luck, probably, but I'm always amazed at what nature has in store. There's an enchanting view at every turn, whether it's a strenuous hike downhill to a waterfall or up the side of a mountain. The wilderness is a humbling place, a place where you can leave worry behind and enjoy what's in front of you. The wilderness, to me, is grounding. It's inspiring. It's home.

I learned the kayaker is Aniol Serrasolses, a professional whitewater kayaker from Spain. Welcome to the Pacific Northwest!

Originally from San Diego, Chris moved to the Pacific Northwest several years ago and is a television reporter in Portland. You'll find him in the chilly water surfing off the Oregon Coast or on the trail backpacking in the Cascades. Follow him on Instagram @ChrisLiedle or visit his website

Exploring an Emerald Edge: February Photo of the Month

Written by Tom Parker, Northwest Photographer

Little Qualicum Falls is one of my favourite stops when I'm headed north on Vancouver Island. Located near the centre of the island it has a great mix of lush forest greens and sparkling waterfall blues packed into a beautiful 1km loop. With the river always fluctuating throughout the seasons the landscape is constantly changing, creating new scenes each time I visit. In the winter months the river has so much power that it is constantly shifting massive fallen trees down the banks, sometimes creating natural bridges or leaving them in precarious spots for viewing such as hanging from the tops of waterfalls.

On this day my friend Forest was in town and wanted to see the island, so we headed down the Alberni Highway looking for adventure with our first stop at the falls. When I was shooting the river Forest had disappeared and the next thing I knew he was climbing across the logs making his way over the river. Its always inspiring to go exploring with friends that are not afraid to leave their comfort zone. As a photographer I’m always looking to push new boundaries, personally and with my work.

Nature inspires my photography in many ways, from the slowing of time to the roar of the rivers washing away distractions, allowing my creativity to flow.  When I am out in the woods it is as if time stands still, very little seems to affect me; the cold, the wet or the feeling of hunger drift to the back of my mind and all I focus on is the present. With the weather always changing on the island my favourite hikes rarely look the same, always providing a fresh perspective. It also means that to catch these sudden changes in weather I try to be outside as much as possible. The light and fog may only be around for a few fleeting moments but sometimes thats all you need.

Born and raised on Vancouver Island, Tom has spent most of his life exploring the outdoors. His work is inspired and influenced by the beauty that unfolds before him in nature. Follow him on Instagram: @tomparkr. Visit his website:

December Photo of the Month: Up in the Air


Written & Photographed by Dylan Furst, Northwest Photographer

After hiking many of the trails and visiting most of the lakes in the Central Cascades range, I had been craving a new perspective. The opportunity for a helicopter ride over Blanca Lake presented itself, and I was not about to let it pass. With a sunrise wake up call, we flew out from Boeing Field and started our flight into the mountains.

It’s amazing seeing the Cascades by helicopter, the perspective is so much different than an airplane. As we began to fly above the mountain peaks, you could feel the sharp winds from the valleys below move the helicopter, humbling you with it’s power. With the doors being off at the same time, this flight is not for people who are afraid of heights. It’s a pretty amazing feeling to look down and be so close to untouched waterfalls and pristine wilderness that most likely nobody has explored. I decided to put my feet out and snap a photo, but It proved to be more challenging than it looked. When I stuck my legs out of the cockpit, it took a lot of my strength to hold them steady in front of me. We could not idle in the air due to the danger of the winds and had to keep the helicopter moving, thus making it very hard to compose my photograph. In a way it reminded me of shooting a wedding, you really only have one chance to get the perfect photograph, and our pass by over Blanca Lake was the first kiss.

Photographing nature makes me feel alive. It gives me a great appreciation for the world we live in, and compels me to share the feelings I have in these moments with my audience. Not everyone can appreciate the beautiful area that surrounds us, and I want to inspire others to feel the same way that I do. Photography has allowed me to have an even stronger connection with nature, and I think everyone can appreciate it if they give it a chance.  

Born and raised in Bellingham, Washington, Dylan Furst's backyard in the Pacific Northwest has heavily influenced his style as a photographer. From hiking without direction and driving unfamiliar roads, there’s no greater feeling than not knowing what’s around the next corner. Visit his website.

This photograph was taken by a professional photographer. We always advocate to be use proper safety on the trails and in the outdoors.

Ancient Lakes in Vivid Color: The June Photo of the Month


Guest Blog: A quiet beauty hidden in Quincy, Washington

Written and Photographed by Mitch Pittman, Northwest Photojournalist

More vivid than the colors of the sunset are the memories that surround it. Rain was forecast for the Western side of the state, so my friend Erin (pictured) and I headed towards Quincy, Washington and a little cluster of lakes we’d heard about on social media.

Ancient Lakes is unlike any other place I’ve been to in Washington - towering cliffs conceal the farmlands above and take you back in time, coyotes scamper through sage brush, waterfalls appear out of nowhere to spill down the walls and fill the air with a soft roar, and at the back of this broad valley are the lakes.

After exploring an upper valley, we started to head back to the car just before sunset and found ourselves on top of the main waterfall right as the real show began. My mind, let alone my shutter finger, could hardly keep up with the brilliant, glowing air around me. Within minutes, this shot appeared out of the dull desert grey. After I snapped this, Erin shouted for me to turn around - a rainbow against a tangerine sky! From there the pinks, purples, blues, and yellows just kept coming.

I realized a few minutes in that even trying to capture the full beauty of what was happening around me was pointless, so I eventually set down my camera and simply enjoyed the rest of the show in silent awe with my dear friend.

Those are my favorite images of the day.

Mitch Pittman lives in Seattle and works as a reporter and photojournalist for KOMO 4 News, but many of his favorite stories to tell are during his time off exploring the beautiful areas of this state. You can follow his trips on Instagram (@mitchpittman) or on his website.