Virginia Bluebell macro taken in the Occoquan Stream Valley of Northern Virginia
I think I'm supposed to write (in the third person of course) that 'Mark VanDyke' is an internationally renowned, mega-published, super accomplished, ultra-photographer that was born with a camera in his hands, a sharp eye, and an inate ability to win awards and publications. However, let's just keep it a bit more real. I’m a regular guy with a camera and a passion for the outdoors. I know how to wear out a pair of hiking shoes pretty well. I definitely get giddy when I see the right skies, or great autumn color change, or rolling fog. I like to get into water when I can; I like to at least climb up to the most precarious position to see what it looks like; I can't help but wait to see if the light after the sun goes down will actually get even better. Whether it’s in the cold waters of a mountain stream, on the rugged crest of an Appalachian mountain, or standing in the rhythmic surf of a southern coastline, out “there” is where I’m at my best. Out there is where I want to be.
It's simple for me: I do it because I love it. Outside is where I'm at my best; it's always been that way. When I lay my head down at night I dream of hiking secluded trails, mountain biking wicked east-coast style technical singletrack, kayaking rivers and lakes, trail running through Appalachian forests. Everything I do otherwise is just a way to enjoy more time outside in the areas I love. Without these places and experiences I'm not whole. The camera comes with and I continue to develop in hopes of always improving; as of now, I just enjoy meeting other photographers and sharing my experiences.