Above all else, I love mountains the most. There is something about their grandeur, how they can make us feel so small yet inspired and alive. They stand strong even when mother nature is at her worst. From mountains, lakes and rivers are formed, trees and flowers spring to life at the first sign of snowmelt. Mountains breathe life. 

I’ve always had a love for the outdoors. I can still remember biking around the neighborhood as a kid until dusk every night in the summer. The earthy smell of outside stuck to my clothes and hair. Skinned knees and sunburned, but it didn't seem to matter, I was out with the gang just enjoying the fresh air. Eventually you grow out of bike gangs, try out different roles as you age and have less time to think about those carefree summer days.

After graduating college, I found myself working nonstop. I began work as a freelance photography stylist and started my own jewelry business, both of which are still my main sources of income. Even though I was able to have flexibility within my schedule, I was a complete workaholic and thrived by staying busy.

Over the past few years I tacked on some extra vacation time to my business trips and had the chance to explore some amazing places. Little by little, I fell back in love with the outdoors. The trees, the wildlife, the streams, mountains and oceans, the insects and even the dirt.

This year, the call of the wild has been louder than ever. I find a good chunk of my energy thinking about, researching and exploring nature which brings me so much joy. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel guilty about slowly losing steam with work. America has a rather insane work ethic, but I think I’m coming to terms with a balance of work and the outdoors for the time being. I believe we should focus on what makes us feel whole as a person and sometimes that means finding the right balance.

 I find something so complete about traveling and being in nature. It is comforting, challenging, exciting and I can honestly say it makes me feel like a kid again. You know the extreme, giddy happiness you may have felt on Christmas morning, or playing on the beach during the best family vacation, or when grandma would bake your favorite cake? Yeah, that joyful childhood glee. I hadn’t felt those feelings in a long damn time until I was out hiking a lengthy, tough hike. Eight miles to the top with views that go on forever was the kind of reward I could store in my invisible locket and keep with me my entire life. A memory that was better than any physical thing you could hold in your hand.

Photography is a way for me to capture these beautiful scenes in greater detail than my memory allows. My hope in all of this is to inspire others by sharing the details of what make me feel alive. 


katelin reeser