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"Connection to nature is at the core of our humanity."

From the moment he got his first camera at age 14, Peter James has been on a constant quest for beauty. His deep love of nature provides constant creative inspiration, and he loves spending as much time as possible outdoors exploring and documenting the most beautiful places in Washington State.

Peter studied the technical aspects of the photographic arts throughout high school and college before leaving Michigan in 1997 for Colorado where he opened his first studio. But he longed to find a home that combined the majesty of the mountains with the lakes and water he grew up with, so after an epic 3 month tour of the western United States, he put down roots in Bellingham, Washington in 2002 where he fell in love with the forests and snow covered mountains that tower over the lakes and sea.

"Modern civilization has separated us from nature, and it's time to bring nature back into our daily lives. The goal of my nature photography is to help you feel happier every day, to feel connected to the incredible beauty of this planet we share, and to be reminded how much we all have to be grateful for. "

 - Peter James


From the time the wildflowers start blooming in spring until the last of the leaves have changed in fall, Peter travels across Washington exploring new areas and returning to his favorite photography spots. He generally shoots 20,000+ photos a year but does not take the time to look at them until the rains come in November. During the winter he will review everything he shot and, with the help of his wife iMa, choose the 20-30 photographs that are the most awe inspiring to be added to his collection. He will occasionally do a little snowshoeing or cross country skiing to get winter photos, but his style is colorful and wintertime color opportunities are rare. 

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On most photo trips, Peter travels in his truck camper and drives to his destination the night before so he can spend the whole day out on the trail. His days are spent scouring the landscape for inspiring vistas with fantastic foregrounds and he is particularly fond of photographing reflections on water. Sometimes he’ll capture great color and light mid-day, but more often the best light is near sunset or sunrise, which leaves him hiking in the dark to be in the right spot at the right time, happy to have a comfortable bed waiting for him.

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When he can, Peter also loves backpacking which affords the opportunity to sleep much closer to his remote wilderness subjects and get spectacular images that would be impossible to get otherwise. It also means carrying 40 lbs of camping gear plus 20 lbs of camera gear, so he maintains a year round physical training program to stay ready for even the most challenging adventures. It’s truly a labor of love, and there is nothing more rewarding for him than getting to share these beautiful reminders of how blessed we are to live on this astonishing planet with you.  

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The beauty of Northwest nature is medicine to the soul.

Because I currently only photograph Washington State, I'm constantly discovering new places and creating fresh images that have never been seen before. Around the world, there are photo hot-spots with rows of photographers all taking the same picture, while I'm out there finding photos that are just as beautiful, that speak to the heart, and inspire the soul, and are 100% unique, right here in Washington State. With Mother Nature herself as my guide and inspiration, I follow my heart and hope to touch yours. 

- Peter James, Washington State Nature Photographer


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As a boy

Peter James Klco (pronounced Kelso) was raised with the dramatic seasons and abundant lakes of northern Michigan. Since he can remember, he was playing in the water and the forests, with no desire ever to come inside.

His parents took him and his three sisters camping along the Great Lakes frequently, and when at home, climbing trees and exploring fields and forests in his neighborhood filled his free time.  

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Trees Are Awesome

From his love for nature, comes Peter James' desire to help restore it. In addition to planting trees for every photo he sells, Peter co-founded a global tree planting campaign with his wife iMa, called Trees Are Awesome. The concept is to inspire the world to side-step the political and economic resistance to taking action toward solving major global challenges (water, food, refugees, wildlife, climate change, etc.) by offering the simple solution of restoring the degraded lands of the world through tree planting. By supporting existing tree planting non-profits, we as individuals can do what governments and industry are not. Learn more.

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