How Mount Rainier helped jump-start my 2016

January 31, 2016


Happy New Year! Being the last day of January, I think that it’s also the last day that I can officially say that without sounding like a weirdo. I will admit, it has taken me a little bit of time to get going and feel motivated this year. I finished 2015 by having knee surgery on NYE morning, and whether it’s due to being generally uncomfortable, or just a drawn out holiday hangover, it’s been kind of tough to rally for all things web- and social media-related this past month. However, I am super excited about what 2016 has to hold in terms of photography, and yesterday’s adventure just got me even more hyped and inspired.

By way of social media, a few days ago I connected with photographer Ilitch Peters from New York City who was out on assignment traveling throughout the Pacific Northwest with three other pals – Neil Britto, Robert Broadbent, and Neil’s brother Nick . They were supposed to leave Seattle on Friday, but they added an additional day to so that they could go to Mount Rainier, and Ilitch invited me to meet up with them.

Due to aforementioned post-surgery funk, even though I knew this adventure would be fun, for some reason my brain started thinking of as many excuses as possible to NOT go. I don’t have chains for my tires. I don’t have snow gear. I don’t know what photo gear I would want to bring. I get cold really easily. I hate my tripod. I just had knee surgery a month ago and I don’t know if I should walk in the snow. I would have to get up at WHAT time??


Finally, I realized how silly I was being and agreed to join. And boy, am I glad that I did. At 5:30am I jumped out of bed ready to have an awesome day in the snow and make some new photographer friends.

Another local photographer, Erica, also met up with us and was our de facto tour guide, as she knows the Rainier area really well. We were the baddest squad on the mountain hauling our cameras and lenses all over the place. 😉 The weather was perfect, the snow was beautiful, we all took turns modeling for each other and helping set each other up to get just the right shot. We were continuously geekin’ out about camera gear, angles, light, and how beautiful the scenery was. #icantevenPNW


Ilitch, Neil and Rob are Instagram influencers and do a lot of freelance work for companies looking for unique content for their social media – they’re on assignment this time for Land Rover and were driving a sweeeeet 2016 Range Rover. It was neat to see the way they approached their job, which realllllly looks more like having a blast on a road trip with their friends. Sign me up! I can’t wait to see what these guys share for this project.Mount-Rainier-winter-hike_03

I asked Ilitch, Neil, Rob and Nick to pose for a group photo…and all of a sudden they all looked up as a bit of sun started to peek through the clouds.


Once we got further into the park we got to trek in the snow, which was so serene (and not hard on my knee, thankfully!)Mount-Rainier-winter-hike_06 Mount-Rainier-winter-hike_07

We hung out on a really picturesque bridge, so I grabbed Nick for a few portraits.Mount-Rainier-winter-hike_08

And Mr. Sun continued to shine for us.Mount-Rainier-winter-hike_10

Ilitch and I both really enjoy portraiture, so I actually spent a bit of time in front of the camera yesterday…but I insisted on capturing some of him, as well!Mount-Rainier-winter-hike_11

I could stare at this view all day.Mount-Rainier-winter-hike_12 Mount-Rainier-winter-hike_13 Mount-Rainier-winter-hike_14 Mount-Rainier-winter-hike_15 Mount-Rainier-winter-hike_16

On our way down from the mountain we pulled over when we saw several deer wandering in some trees. Thankfully they allowed us to photograph them before scampering deeper into the woods.Mount-Rainier-winter-hike_17

Basically what this day reminded me is that no matter how creative we are in our daily job, sometimes we can hit a wall – like I did this past month as I struggled to motivate myself – and it’s important to get out of our comfort zone, meet new people, and just have fun with our craft without any other agenda in order to overcome this. I love taking portraits and seeing new places, and I hope that 2016 brings a lot more of that my way. Plus awesome people to share those experiences with. Thanks again for the invite, Ilitch!

Be sure to check out @ilitchpeters, @itsneilb, @robertbroadbent and @filmandpixel on Instagram…and, oh yeah – @tarabrownphotography! 😉