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Nate Crabtree

Nate was born and raised in Central Oregon, a Mecca for the outdoor enthusiast. Much of his childhood was spent in the wilds of the region, exploring every nook and cranny of the area, and investigating the peculiarities and splendor of the natural world. It was this affinity for the outdoors and the grand vistas that would later indicate a proclivity for photography further down the road. Nate now spends most of his time in the summers working for the United States Forest Service in the American West. Even on his days off from working in the forest, Nate can usually be found at some trailhead before the sun rises, enduring the weather, or trudging through a stream to get to the perfect location for his shot.

To Nate, photography is much more than documenting a scene; but rather the whole experience that the location conveys to him. It’s much more than just a nice sunset; it’s the emotion that the place evokes. To quote John Muir, “Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” It is these very words that Nate tries to embody with every press of the shutter. Beyond the views which are inevitably spectacular, Nate tries to allow all of the senses to permeate his work. “It’s more than just the grandeur of the location, it is the bite of the frozen air in your nostrils at Bryce Canyon in February, or the smell of the pacific northwestern forests after a rain, or the feeling of the first light on your face at daybreak at the Grand Canyon, it is these feelings that I truly try to express in my photographs.”

However, with all of the time spent in the field, Nate realizes that it is more than just pressing a button on a camera that makes a stunning photograph. Taking inspiration from the greats such as Ansel Adams, Nate knows that spending time in the dark room is equally as important as the time on location. It is this reason that Nate has embraced many of the modern techniques in digital photography while still maintaining a natural look and feel to his images. “It is an exciting time to be into photography, the limits that we once faced as photographers are now a thing of the past, and every week it seems that there is another advancement or technique that will allow for better expression.

During his time at Cornell University, a traveling art exhibit featuring works of American Romanticism made a stop at the University's art museum. Among the paintings were several by Thomas Moran, who was tasked with documenting some of the United States' earliest National Parks. "The way those paintings thrust you into the scene was phenomenal! You could nearly feel the spray of the mighty Yellowstone Falls or the wind at the rim of the Grand Canyon. It is this romantic view of the landscapes that I interact with in my photographs that I try to emulate... if you look at those paintings next to my work, you can get a sense of my inspirations."

Nate’s work has been featured in several archaeological journals as well as National Geographic and 1859 Magazine. His artwork has can be found here for sale on his website, and you can follow his adventures and explorations on his facebook page linked above. He is always excited to share his photography with the world and his experiences, so if there are any questions you may have whether it’s about a purchase, or about a locale, he is always eager to share what he can.

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  • Bend, Oregon, United States