As you probably know, we love to feature local creators on our channels. Here is a set from Ryan Ditch, a talented photographer and member of LA Shooters. We'll leave it there and let you enjoy his trip to Mount Ranier.
On a recent trip back to the Pacific Northwest for a wedding, I was able to sneak away to Mt. Rainier National Park for a night. It had been almost 2 years since I moved to San Diego and this was my first time back to the park. Growing up in Washington, Mt. Rainier was and always will be a beacon of sorts representing home and if you’re like me, then you believe a mountain is more than just a mountain. For me, a mountain is a living, breathing thing filled with energy, emotion and life.
Seeing how this was late in the season I decided to head south away from the meadows and waterfalls, in search of a more panoramic view. Pinnacle Peak is an area I’ve never explored, but people have raved about and has always been on my list. Normally, I would love to have a few days when photographing an area, but that wasn’t the case this time and after looking at the weather report I felt confident I’d at least be able to see Mt. Rainier. Starting out around 4pm I made my way up the trail in search of elevated views and cascading light. Not even a quarter of the way up the trail and already I began stopping every couple of minutes to take it all in, it seemed the local had turned into the tourist and I was loving it. After reaching the summit area a few hours later I noticed high clouds had begun taking shape, trying not to get ahead of myself I quickly disregarded it to stave off expectations.
A few hundred photos later the golden light began to fade and this magnificent color erupted in the sky. Now normally, as photographers we’d be running around gobbling up every composition trying to maximize the haul, but something different came over me instead. I sat for what felt like a lifetime during some of the best conditions a photographer could ask for, not because I was in awe, but because I was filled with immense gratitude. Gratitude for this moment, gratitude for my health to be able to reach this position, for mother nature and just simply for being alive. It was as if the mountain had gifted me this incredible sunset to say thank you, thank you for coming back, thank you for spending your time with me. Those 5 to 10 minutes I spent in my thoughts will carry much deeper and longer than any photo I took that day. I like to think it’ll serve as a reminder to make time for myself, to be grateful, because this earth and these mountains have so much to say and so much to give, as long as we stop long enough to listen.
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