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Few people get the chance to explore Oregon’s landscapes the way Tyler Roemer does.
For more than a decade, the Bend-based photographer has tramped across the state from corner to corner pursuing a singular passion: capturing outdoor adventurers at play in the epic backdrop of Oregon’s mountains, rivers and deserts. From the sheer walls of Smith Rock State Park to the snowy steeps of the Wallowa Mountains to the azure waters Crater Lake, Tyler has arrested the Oregon spirit for all to see. His photographs have appeared in National Geographic magazine, The New York Times, Backcountry Magazine, Men’s Journal and Outside Magazine, among others. With the snows of winter falling deep in the mountains, we talked to Tyler about why he loves Oregon’s moody and beautiful winters.
What are your favorite outdoor winter pursuits?
There is something unrivaled about being in the mountains during the winter. I truly enjoy heading out into the backcountry with friends and athletes to camp out in the snow. It might sound horrible and cold to most people, and sometimes it is. Some of my worst nights of sleep have been on the side of a mountain in the howling wind. Other times I have to pinch myself looking at the beauty outside my tent door.
What makes Oregon’s winters unique?
Oregon’s winters are unpredictable; you’ll have moody, nasty weather at times and then 10 minutes later it will turn beautiful. The Oregon rain shadow also provides the state with unique and extreme weather. Our winters offer lots of options, from surfing and fly-fishing to rock climbing, ice climbing, skiing and snowboarding.
How does your work as a photographer allow you to pursue your passion for the outdoors?
My passion for the outdoors and being an outdoor sports photographer go hand-in-hand. My love for being outside started early with family outings as a child that later evolved into my work in individual outdoor sports and photography.
What are some of your favorite Oregon winter destinations?
My goal is to check out new mountain peaks in Oregon each winter. I also enjoy exploring the state’s stratovolcanoes, including Crater Lake, Mt. Hood and the Three Sisters mountains, to name a few. Some peaks are more remote than others, and that makes for an exciting journey. The Wallowa Mountain range is one of my favorite winter destinations. The range spans more than 40 miles, holds granite rock faces and is an inspiring place to explore in the winter. If you are willing to put in the time and effort to trudge up some peaks in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, you will end up with some amazing vistas.
What else should people know about exploring Oregon in the winter?
Winter is a lot of fun, but it can also be dangerous, especially deep in the backcountry. Avalanches, hypothermia and getting lost are all possibilities when venturing out. There are great guide services in Oregon that will enrich your winter experience and show you the way around the mountains safely.
For more outdoor inspiration, visit Tyler’s website.