I’m originally from Morton, Washington, and was raised on the foothills of Mount Rainier. I graduated from Western Washington University, earned my finance degree and later became a financial advisor. After 8 years working in the field, I realized I no longer wanted to be tied to an office chair, and in 2009 I quit my job. I bought a professional camera and one lens. After living off my savings for a year, I published my first images. That success grew, and today—five years later, I work as a full-time photographer.
But none of this would have happened if not for a fateful day in November 2003, the day my best friend, Ben Manfredi, drowned while kayaking. However desperately my brother and friends tried to save him, they were not able to do so. His last adventure was on the Grand Canyon of the Elwha River in Olympic National Park.
Ben was a photographer who loved writing and photography. I wanted my life to mirror his. After he passed, I took up his camera, snapped my first images, wrote stories and kept adventuring.
Those adolescent adventures with Ben were a continuation of what began for me as a child with my brothers and parents. With them I learned to ski on the slopes of Mount Rainier before kindergarten, backpacked for weeks throughout the western United States, rode mountain bikes and rafted rivers. My life was defined by the outdoors. Or, perhaps, the outdoors didn’t so much define me as much as they enhanced my childhood.
So that’s my story squished into a stuff sack, carried in a heavy pack and then laid out for everyone to see. To read more, keep turning the pages. I promise, it will be worth it.