TJ Thorne

Based in Oregon

Out of Chicago Instructor

Nature has always been an integral part of my life. Growing up in rural Southwestern Pennsylvania blessed me with trees to climb, vines to swing on, and forested trails to follow. In the winter my time was spent snowboarding every chance I could. I spent the majority of my free time outside. There’s nothing in my life that has brought me to my true center in the way that nature has. It’s meditation. It’s balance. It’s no surprise that I ended up in the Pacific Northwest, one of the most beautiful places in the world. My passion for the outdoors and for hiking is so readily accessible here. Now that I’m older and live in the city I find the need to find that balance much more important.

I have a tendency to think too big and I easily get overwhelmed by the different aspects of life. My mind wanders, dreams, calculates the what-if’s and the maybe-I-should-have’s. I trip on the future and often think about how, thanks to the nanoseconds it takes for signals to reach the brain, the moment that I’m experiencing has already happened. It’s gone. We never really get to live in the present.

I think the reason I fell in love with photography is because it simplifies things for me. I look through a viewfinder and have to fit the world, the story, and my thoughts in this little 3:2 frame. It stops me in my tracks. It causes me to concentrate deeply on my subject. It wrestles my mind to the ground, pins down my imagination, and calms me. It’s a moment where I feel most in tune to the world around me. I notice things more. The temperature of the water permeating my clothing when I stand in creeks, the way the light plays off the foliage and the shadows dance across the scene, the mist of waterfalls on my cheeks, the sun on my neck, the smells.. the sounds.. and the gratitude in my heart that I get to experience that moment.

I click the shutter and that moment in time is suspended… captured in a bottle for me to relive whenever I like. That’s what photography means to me.

Upcoming conferences

Out of Grand Teton

June 16-20, 2024

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