Trevor Simington isn’t the type of photographer to get attached to a particular image, instead he focuses on the genuine experiences connected to the photos. He travels whenever there’s time to spare, documenting his adventures through Instagram—from giant national parks, such as Yellowstone, to the smaller, Mount Rushmore National Memorial. In case you missed it, this California native is our National Parks Photo Contest winner over on Instagram!
California may be his go-to-area for wild explorations, but he’s travelled to Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, Utah, among other states. When capturing landscape and wildlife, Simington seeks to convey the beauty he sees and feels in nature. He’s taken photos of tarantulas, owls, prairie dogs, lizards, as well as catching amazing landscapes, wildlife, and portraits, even dabbling with stars and lunar eclipses. “[It’s] rewarding after keeping a standard day job and finding the time to explore the beauty of our parks and everything in between,” he said on winning.
Take a look at some of his images, as he recounts his adventures and the lessons on nature and traveling.
PBN: According to Instagram, you’re a city slicker by day, and adventure photographer by night. What’s your occupation?
Trevor Simington: Haha well I suppose. I work the usual weekday 9 to 5 as a Data Processor in a startup company in Glendale, California. But I find myself routinely seeking opportunities to explore nature and my environment in the least amount of time I can find or make available.PBN: How did you get started with photography? Is it something you always wanted to do?
TS: It’s kind of funny. An old friend coerced me into buying a Nikon SLR years ago. [Prior to that I] never had any interest in photography. I took a couple of pictures I liked, but had trouble figuring out how to use the thing, so I ended up selling [the camera].
Only as of 2012 I decided to take up hiking. I found myself in so many beautiful places, mostly in California—that I had no idea existed— only then did I buy another camera, and never left home without it. When I began taking a ton of photos, I started to take it more seriously. I wanted a record of the epic beauty in these places I was experiencing.
PBN: There’s a colorful vividness to your photos. How would you describe your style?
TS: As I got the adventure bug, I tried to turn my photos into an art that communicated the feeling of visiting these locations. When I became more familiar with photography, I forced myself to only shoot in Manual and RAW to gain proficiency in the use of exposure, film speed and aperture in order to bring out the colors.PBN: Is there a preferred camera or lens to achieve that style?
TS: After having several quality point & shoots and DSLRs, I realized that these images needed to be recorded on a full format sensor with quality lenses, so I made the leap to purchase a Nikon D610 and the Nikon 24-70 2.8. Although I’m in need of more lenses and looking to broaden my equipment, I’m surprised by how many wonderful shots you can take with just one lens.
PBN: What’s your favorite image to date?
TS: Well it’s very hard to say as I’m usually attached to an image based off the experience, and the franticness of being at a certain spot at the right time! It seems, I can never arrive at a location I want to photograph with ample time to set up. Although these locations are shot by many, I still believe these are my favorite photographs; I shot it the best I could! (Some of his favorites are on this page.)PBN: We know you love visiting National Parks. What are some of your favorite parks and why?
Yes, definitely! I don’t have a favorite National Park since there is always plenty to discover everywhere. It’s surprising how much variety one finds in just one National Park. I can never get enough of Yosemite of course, but equally Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Canyonlands, Arches, and Zion. I also had an incredible time in Bryce Canyon, Capital Reef, Sequoias and Lake Powell. But Yosemite is probably my “home” park.
PBN: What’s your next outdoor adventure?
TS: I’m excited to explore the canyons of Lake Powell with a paddle board this upcoming May. It’s one of the most amazing recreational places to visit.PBN: What’s the strangest thing, person or place you’ve encountered while being in nature?
TS: Probably the time I was hiking the Devils Backbone Trail to Mt. Baldy in Los Angeles. It wasn’t exactly strange, but I was definitely spooked. I was hiking solo late at night, with the eeriness of the forest trees under a half moon. As I walked along, I paused when I noticed the silhouette of a dog and its eyes reflecting back at me from my headlamp. As I looked around I counted eight pairs of eyes hidden in the bushes in all directions around me, then realized it was a pack of coyotes. I’ve never been afraid of coyotes, but no one wants to be ambushed by a pack of coyotes.
My first thought was to yell and turn up the music on my phone, and slowly proceed without showing fear. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t proceed without fear, but they also didn’t seem to care about my presence, so I carried on seeking a good place to campout for the night.
PBN: Lastly, what’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while traveling?
TS: There are probably better lessons to be learned, but I try not to over-plan. Instead I see where the adventure takes me. I think one should be willing to experience anything and appreciate nature as it is. Often people don’t appreciate nature in its entirety. And of course while some areas are considered more beautiful than others, I am easily pleased regardless if desert or pine forest.See his photos and other submissions featured in the new Pocket Ranger® National Park Passport Guide!