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Photos We Love: WTA Staff Picks From Northwest Exposure Contest

Posted by Jessi Loerch at Aug 24, 2020 10:14 AM |
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See some staff favorite photos from recent years — and get inspired to enter your own photos.

Every year, WTA welcomes hikers to share their photos in our Northwest Exposure Photo Contest. The contest is now open — and we highly encourage you to share some of your favorite photos we find great joy in looking through the photos that are shared.

While we eagerly anticipate this year's photos, here are some favorite photos from past years of the contest. We hope you'll enjoy them. And then go enter your own photos in this year's contest

Purple and pink sunset behind a meadow with a trail winding through it.
North Cascades. Photo by Bryan Moore.

This photo reminds me of the overnight trips I used to take with my father while growing up in Bellingham. We'd hike through the fields of wildflowers, make camp on the ridge and watch the last rays of sunset turn the top of Mt Baker (Kulshan) pink as the stars came out.  Nothing beats those 360 views.
— Jaime Loucky, chief impact officer

White ghost pipes and their roots on a forest floor.
Olympic Peninsula. Photo by Melinda Hurst Frye.

This photo, which results from a technique to capture what's going on below ground level, not only shows an interesting plant, but also highlights just how much life and beauty and mystery is packed into every inch of the forest floor. 
— Charlie Wakenshaw, communications and trails specialist

Four hikers standing together on a bridge and smiling. All are wearing backpacking packs.
Olympic Peninsula. Photo by Betie Tesfaye. 

Just looking at this photo makes me smile. I love seeing these four backpackers together with their big packs and big smiles. I feel certain that, after this trip, they all came away with fond memories and good stories.
— Jessi Loerch, Washington Trails editor

Mount Rainier rising above the clouds with pink and blue sky in the background.
Mount Rainier. Photo by Rose Freeman.

This simple photo reminds me of the first time I ever saw Mount Rainier. In 2014, I moved from Florida to Seattle without ever having been to the Pacific Northwest. I fell asleep on my early-morning flight and woke up when the captain announced our initial descent. When I opened my eyes and glanced out the window, I saw what I initially thought was an oddly shaped cloud. In my half-dazed state, it took me a moment to realize that what I was really looking at was Washington's tallest mountain, towering, snow-capped, and lonely above a sea of sun-kissed clouds. Sometimes it still feels like a dream.
— Britt Lê, community partnerships and leadership development coordinator

Nyuchi the cat. Photo by Diana Roberts.

"I love this photo because...well, isn't it obvious? A hiking cat in a backpack?! I don't think I need any other reason."
— Erika Haugen-Goodman, communications coordinator

Close up photo of a colorful orange and brown butterfly on the ground.
Central Cascades. Photo by Eric Jain. 

I love this photo because it reminds me of the movie "Finding Nemo," but butterfly version! 
— Chương Pham, volunteer program coordinator

Two kids in bright rain jackets hike along a trail with fall color on a misty day.
North Cascades. PHoto by Michael Kim.

I love the layers of color in this photo — the autumn reds, greens and greys. The kids, in their pink and blue rain jackets in the mist, really capture the experience of hiking in the Pacific Northwest in the fall.
— Jenica Nordstrom, graphic designer

Two backpackers stand together. One is seriously holding a role of toilet paper. Another is kissing an avocado.
Mount Rainier. Photo by Nisha Sharma.

The overwhelming feelings of joy while eating fresh fruit on trail is such a uniquely relatable experience. I recently began packing along an avocado on my backpacking trips and this photo hits home. Also — how great is that pony?
— Rachel Wendling, communications associate

A two-tiered waterfall amid a green forest.
Olympic Peninsula. Photo by Jay Montgomery.

My favorite photos are those that evoke memories and feelings. This picture takes me back to my own wet spring hike to Murhut Falls a few years ago. I can smell the lush moss on the trees, hear the roar of the falls, and feel the joy in my heart.
— Jill Simmons, chief executive officer

Huge cliffs, which were once waterfalls, with lakes and a desert landscape in front and a blue sky with white clouds behind.
Central Washington. Photo by Juan Aguilera.

Every winter and spring, I get a physical craving for a dose of big skies and the smell of sagebrush. Hiking and camping in Central Washington always leaves my soul a little lighter. And when I can't get away from home, photos like this scratch the same itch.
— Loren Drummond, digital content manager

A sanderling probes the sand for food, with a peach colored sky reflected in the wet sand.
Southwest Washington. Photo by Andy Zahn.

There are several reasons why I love this sanderling portrait. First, look how cute it is! Beyond that though, the lighting is so soft, making the wet sand into a mirror of sorts. I appreciate that the bird is the only thing in the photo, aside from some blurry "reflections" of a couple of its friends in the background, so that you can really focus on the details of its feathers and legs. Also, I appreciate anyone who is able to capture a bird in such crispness — I certainly do not have the patience for it!
— Christina Hickman, advocacy associate

Two people with bright smiles pose for a selfie with a waterfall behind them.
Snoqualmie Region. Photo by  Samantha Haong.

I love this photo because it reminds me why I love hiking; it's not always for an amazing view or to climb the highest peak (though a waterfall is always nice), but to connect with a friend or loved one in nature and have a great time doing it. This photo invokes the feeling of joy that many of us share while out on trail together and those are special times that I'll always remember.
— Erika Haugen-Goodman, communications coordinator

A beaver sits in the water while using their front feed to hold a stick and chew on it.
Puget Sound region. Photo by Joyce Chase.

This photo from Golden Gardens in Seattle is so crisp that you can get lost in every detail of the beaver from its eyes to its cute feet. Seeing wildlife is one of the driving motivations of hiking for me. Spotting an animal feels like an unexpected gift every time. I love this reminder that you can have these special moments close to home if you are willing to look and be patient.
— Kindra Ramos, communications director

A person in the snow in a bright yellow jacket tosses a baby wearing bright pink high in the air.
Central Cascades. Photo by Michael Gabbert.

This photo captures everything I love about winter and snow, how playful it makes me feel. The world is so quiet and beautiful and cold, and it just makes you feel alive with energy and joy.
— Loren Drummond, digital content manager

A group sits on chairs and driftwood around a small fire on the beach.
Olympic Coast. Photo by Christian Fabian.

I live for these moments: settling down at the end of the day in a beautiful place, sharing food, smiles, and conversation with friends around a campfire. I also love how this photo is able to capture shadows in the windswept sand divots because the sun is so low in the sky. 
— Rick Beckel, HR & finance coordinator

A hiker sitting on the ground hugs a large white dog.
Mount Rainier area. Photo by Breianna Tocci.

There is something so heartwarming about seeing the relationship between dogs and their human companions. This photo captures that relationship beautifully — with a stunning backdrop and lovely warm color tones to boot. 
— Rachel Wendling, communications associate

Bright green leaves with water droplets.
Mount Rainier area. Photo by Justin Burrell.

Corn lilies are one my favorite plants to see on trail. I love how this photographer captured these beauties with our classic Northwest rain.
— Allie Tripp, strategic initiatives manager