Kat Dierickx, February's Contributor of the Month, takes some very inspiring outdoor photographs, especially scenes that capture the stars. I recently had a chance to ask Kat a bunch of questions and got to learn some of her story that accompanies her photos of snow, ice, water, and of course the night sky. Her response to my question on the best part of being outdoors was telling. "It's the peacefulness when it snows. The amazement of watching stars cross the night sky. The sound of a waterfall as you approach. The simple yet perfect patterns in nature. The people you meet who appreciate the same things. Bonfires. Did I mention the stars yet?" Her answer left me with a knowing smile, as this is precisely the feeling captured in Kat's photos and the adventures she has contributed to Outdoor Project.
JARED: We're a young website. Just out of the gate, you might say. So how did you find out about Outdoor Project, and what made you decide to become a Contributor?
KAT: I actually heard about Outdoor Project from Sara [Carroll] at Base Camp Brewing when I was speaking with her about showing my work. She felt the reasons I do photography aligned well with Outdoor Project’s mission. I adventure to inspire others to get out and adventure. I love exploring new places and sharing my experiences through photography. The hope is that others are inspired to get out and do some exploring of their own. I went home from my meeting with Sara, browsed the website, and applied to be a contributor right then and there.
JARED: Go Sara! I'm thrilled to hear she's sharing our mission and getting people inspired to participate. So where are some of your favorite places you've been for outdoor adventures?
KAT: I love the Oregon coast. On top of other experiences, one really stands out. I went rappelling into some sea caves on the coast, and then a few weeks later, I went back, this time by paddleboard, into those same caves. It was amazing to see them from above secured by ropes and then again from the underbelly floating on the waves. Even though the destination was the same, the experiences were completely different. Just because you’ve been somewhere once, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore it again.
I also can’t help but love a fire lookout. Being a star photographer, I spend a lot of cold nights out in my tent. To be able to run around and take star photos in the middle of nowhere and come back to a cozy winter fort with a crackling wood stove is awesome!
Another favorite was Iceland. My brother and I went on a 10-day photography trip in search of northern lights. Unfortunately it was cloudy the entire trip, but those clouds made the rugged landscape even more dramatic. It was a beautiful country, a photographer’s paradise for sure.
JARED: Those photos from Iceland on your website were great, and that experience in the sea caves sounds incredible. It's amazing how from visit to visit, if not minute to minute, one place can evoke such different aspects. How do you approach that as a photographer, and what advice can you share with other aspiring photographers?
KAT: Deliberately and with excitement! I especially like to get up early and see something in a different light. If I were to make a suggestion, it's to look around and take it all in. Bend down. Stand on something. Look at your subject from a different angle. Many photographs are taken by people standing and looking directly at their subject. What would it look like if you composed the image from lower to the ground? What about changing the depth of field? What if you took 10 steps to the left? You come to a viewpoint on the trail, thousands of photos have been taken from that point, how is yours going to be different?
JARED: Your work has taken you to some amazing places, and I'm sure have led to some incredible experiences along the way. Is there any experience in particular you've had recently that stands out as one of your favorites?
KAT: I met a really awesome climber down at Smith Rock last spring. I was there climbing and taking photographs of my friends climbing. They were working on routes above my pay grade, but asked if I knew how to ascend a rope. Before I knew it, these kind strangers had run a rope and waited for me to get up on the wall so I could photograph from a better angle.
JARED: You have an upcoming show/exhibition of your photography going in at Base Camp? I can't wait to see it. Can you tell us more about it?
KAT: Why yes I do, thank you for asking. The collection is called "Discoveries," and it's 13 prints featuring the night sky. Just over a year ago I took my first star shot and was instantly hooked. I've spent a number of long nights and early mornings out under the stars to build this collection. For me, it's more about the adventure and the sense of calm I get when I've finally found the spot to stargaze with my camera. I've had the opportunity to show some people the Milky Way for the first time. I've been accompanied by seven great friends for a midnight snowshoe, all to find ourselves speechless at the top. It may have been because we were out of breath, but I like to think it was more so being awestruck by the number of stars we could see on this crystal clear night. When people see these images they often say, "This inspires me to get out and see the stars, it's been a while since I've been out of the city." That's the reason I do it. There will definitely be more adventures under the stars for years to come.
As for the gallery itself, this is the first time I'll have my work on public walls for all the world to see. I'm so thankful to the team at Base Camp for giving me the opportunity to share my photography adventures with the community. I also can't thank Plywerk enough for the beautiful job they did printing my work and of course Outdoor Project for their ongoing support.
The official opening is March 7th at 6:00 pm. See you all there!
Base Camp Brewing Company is located in Portland, Oregon at 930 SE Oak Street.