Why photographer Mark McInnis’ heart lives in Oregon

Each one of us finds inspiration from different sources: A novel, a moment, a season. Something that keeps us coming back for more, no matter how much time or how many miles have passed in between.

For professional photographer Mark McInnis, his inspiration comes from winter time in Oregon.

There really isn’t another place like Oregon in the world – the endless natural splendor, the relaxed pace of life, and the genuine people all contribute to a truly unique environment.

The natural beauty of Oregon is unparalleled. Photo: Travel Oregon

McInnis, who grew up in Bend, finds endless inspiration in the forests, coast and mountains of Oregon.

“You can find a lot of solace here, and especially a lot of solace in nature. It just feels so good to be by yourself in an old-growth forest, or on a beach that in the summertime has 300 people, but in the middle of winter there’s just you in the pouring down rain,” McInnis says.

Shooting photos of Oregon brings things back full circle to the people and places that originally inspired McInnis, and he’s not the only one who has found their place in the state.

Gerry Lopez, one of the most influential surfers of all time, moved his family from Hawaii to Bend 25 years ago.

He and his son Alex, now a professional snowboarder, know that Bend and Mt. Bachelor hold something truly special.

Gerry and Alex Lopez, shot by Mark McInnis. Photo: Travel Oregon

“I think it took traveling, and going to other places, and realizing, ‘Oh, the grass isn’t greener everywhere else.’ There are tons of activities [here]. Whatever you would want to do, you can pretty much do,” Alex says of reconnecting with Bend.

They say home is where the heart is — and sometimes you don't really appreciate that until you leave, and experience other things in the world to realize that. For those like McInnis that were lucky enough to call Oregon their home, the appreciation runs deep.

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