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Linville Gorge Wilderness


An Introduction

Self Portrait of Chris Cotton

Hello and welcome! My name is Chris Cotton, and thank you for sharing this space with me. This space is a product of many months of work... and procrastination; motivation... and lack thereof; and a desire to share what I love doing most: taking photos.

There are many titles that I think sum up who I am as a person: engineer, husband, former college athlete, runner, hiker, biker, and many more -- but if you've made your way to this site, you're probably here because of one of my other titles -- photographer.

Above: Just a few of my favorite activities. Hiking, running, baseball, and photography.


Photography started as an interest of mine in early high school when selecting classes for the upcoming school year. As a student transferring to a new school, I had a very short timeframe to select classes before the school year started and one of the few classes that was left over for me was a photography class. So with little time to make a decision, I went for it. The class ended up kindling an interest that would really take hold only a few years later.

Fast forward to the summer before my sophomore year, and I'm preparing to go on my very first road trip to the Western United States with my cousins. I purchased a small point and shoot camera and a few memory cards to help document the trip and we set off for a marathon, 24+ hour, journey, non-stop, from West Virginia to Colorado. The trip ended up sparking not only my interest in taking photos, but also my interest in exploring the many National Parks and natural wonders here in the US. Only a few years later I would be back out west exploring and shooting again.

Above: Some photos from my first trip out west, circa 2013


However, at this point in my photography "career", I still lacked significant knowledge of how to operate a camera and mostly utilized my old point and shoot camera from years ago. This all changed in college when I enrolled in a black and white film photography course. This was my first step towards gaining a deeper understanding and true appreciation for the technical aspects of photography and not to mention the grueling process of developing film photos. Not long after this course, I would be taking another course on digital color photography (alongside my engineering curriculum) and diving deeper into my passion for photography.

Jumping in front of jumping Cholla cacti

Following my college courses in photography, I made my first major camera purchase, upgrading my then hand-me-down Canon EOS XTI to the Canon EOS 77D (and later upgraded further to the Canon EOS R). Ever since, I have been travelling and lugging my camera gear with me everywhere I go. From the summer of 2018 to now, I have managed to explore and document my journeys across the United States to places like California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, on top of my local travel around the Southeast.

Self Portrait - Chris Cotton

At each stop along my journey I have furthered my passion for taking photographs and simultaneously, though not nearly at the same rate, furthered my skill set to capture all the places I have traveled. That all leads me to where I am today; starting my newest journey along my photography career and launching my website. So thank you all for stopping by and I can't wait to continue to share some of my favorite images and memories from my journeys with you all here.



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