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Explorer Spotlight: Richard Bacon

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Name: Richard Bacon | Age: 27 | Location: Bend, Oregon

What’s your day job?
I'm a designer/copy editor at the local newspaper in Bend, Oregon (The Bend Bulletin).

What are your favorite things to do outside?
Taking photos is my main outdoor pursuit, but when I'm not shooting, I love kayaking, hiking, snowboarding and I've been skateboarding for more than half of my life.

What first drew you to the outdoors?
I grew up filming and making skateboard videos so I was constantly outdoors, but in an urban environment. Growing up, my family didn't do a ton of outdoor activities, but since my wife and I moved to Oregon a little over a year ago, it's as if a whole new world was opened to me. Every chance I get, I try to be outdoors. All the years making skateboard videos gave me an appreciation for capturing moments, which has transferred over to me taking photos as much as possible. My favorite landscape to shoot is waterfalls and the pacific northwest has no shortage of those.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
My favorite local spot is sitting at Sparks Lake. With amazing views of South Sister and Broken Top, it's easy to see why photographers come from all over to shoot there. Living in Bend offers endless options for great brews, but my favorite spot is Crux Fermentation Project. It's got great beer, great food, and is tucked away in an awesome industrial complex where people are playing lawn games and having a great time. It's the perfect spot on a summer day.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
I try not to leave the house without my camera, tripod, and my hydroflask to keep some cold water handy. Other than that, I'm pretty cheap and don't have any fancy gear. Some good company is an essential for a successful outing, although a solo adventure can be refreshing as well.

What’s your favorite trail snack?
Trail mix is a pretty boring answer, but it seems to do the trick.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
If I'm not chatting with friends in the car and the iPod is in, there'd probably be a rotation of Arcade Fire, Avett Brothers, or some type of folk rock.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/or, the funniest?
At the time this seemed scary, but looking back, it was a funny situation. I had wondered why a local and heavily photographed waterfall had never been shot from the right side and set out to check it out. Sure enough, after bushwhacking for an extensive period of time, it became clear it wasn't possible to get a great shot from that side. As I was climbing down a steep hill to try to get anywhere near the falls, I got to a clearing and came across a giant rock den. Being new to Oregon and very naive in my knowledge of wildlife, I had a momentary panic attack where I envisioned a pack of hungry cougars or bears emerging and quickly dismembering me. With tripod in hand, I bolted and started tumbling down the muddy hill. I ran to cross the river to get to the popular side of the falls and slipped in while trying to cross a wet log. I finally made it to the other side wet, cut up and sweaty and slowly realized how silly I must've looked. For the sake of any street cred, I pray no one witnessed my flailing about.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
My wife is definitely my go-to adventure partner. The amount of times she's waited for me to set up a shot or me having her stand in precarious spots for the sake of a photo is more than you can count. Her patience and excitement for new adventures is something I love. As for inspiration, I find it in many different places. In books, I enjoy writing by Donald Miller. With photography, Theron Humphrey is one of my favorite photographers. With both of them, despite an incredible talent in their craft, I admire their transparency and approachability to the reader or viewer. There's millions of talented people in the world, but those who put their ego aside and are honest about life and struggles have my respect.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
Since I am relatively new to a lot of outdoor adventures, I'm usually blown away by the beauty of so many places in Oregon. Exploring the waterfalls along the Umpqua River has been a highlight for sure. The accessibility of such beautiful places is something I try to never take for granted.

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
I feel I could spend a lifetime exploring the Pacific Northwest alone. My next plan is to see The Columbia River Gorge and see as many waterfalls as possible. A longterm goal would be to make it to Iceland.

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
Up until the time of this photo, I had only taken star photos once or twice, and ended up with some pretty bad images. This night, I headed out with 2 of my photographer buddies and met up with another guy none of us had met. We ended up shooting the stars over Sparks Lake for 4 or 5 hours and I felt like I learned so much just talking to them about camera setting and experimenting. The conditions that night were perfect and it really sparked a new passion for night photography. Since then, I regularly shoot with those same guys, and have been loving learning more and more about night photography. It's hard to beat hanging out with friends and doing something you love under a sky full of stars.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
"Everyone has something to teach, and everyone has something to learn."

See all of Richard's amazing adventures on his Explorer Profile.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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