Matt McLean Photography
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One of my early memories about photography comes from a family trip to Yellowstone National Park. I was 12 and carried what amounted to a disposable film camera. I remember it being gently suggested that I try to include people in my photos (for example, family!). While I had no particular thoughts about photography at the time, my parents always taught my sister and I to enjoy and appreciate nature. This memory makes me smile – it seems I’ve always preferred to let landscapes speak for themselves.

Photographer Matt McLean at Mono Lake

When digital photography became prevalent, I picked up a slim, credit-card sized camera (a very exciting device in the pre-smartphone era). The most important thing I learned from that camera was the joy of always having one with me.

It wasn’t until a close friend took up photography as a hobby that I began to look at my images more critically. My friend’s enthusiasm influenced me a great deal and I began to dedicate time and energy to going out with my camera.

My own enthusiasm ebbed and flowed as my interests changed over the years (though I never forgot to carry a camera with me in some form). Things changed when I visited Iceland for the first time. In preparation for the stark, beautiful landscapes the country is known for, I switched to a Sony RX-100 and took the time to dig into best practices. The trip really sparked my determination to create high-quality images and to keep learning and improving.

Since then, sharing my hiking and traveling experiences through photography has become one of the things that makes me happiest. Hitting the trail and being outdoors with a camera brings me a profound sense of peace. The camera brings me to places I might not go otherwise and helps me to build a familiarity with the trails and landscapes that surround me. I love that there’s always more to learn.

Now, photography is my primary means of communicating themes and ideas associated with, and inspired by, the natural environments I choose to depict. I get immense satisfaction not only from creating images, but from hearing that they have sparked a reaction in viewers as well.