Interview: Photographer, Outdoor Adventurer, and Photo Book Author Peter West Carey

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Peter, doing what he does best.
(Photo by Peter West Carey.)
It takes bravery to make your passion your career. Whether it's mountain guiding, writing, even opening your own online store, there's a certain amount of risk involved. But when it's something you truly love, the risk can be completely and entirely worth it.

I met Twitter friend Peter West Carey over sushi in Seattle back when the outdoor community on social media channels was small. He's a talented photographer and all around amazing human being. Since we met in 2010, he's traveled the world taking pictures and teaching, and just released an eBook, A World of Panoramas.

In celebration of the release of the eBook, I'm excited to share Peter's perspective on how he decided photography was his calling, the challenges of publishing on your own, and what makes his eBook unique.

Four Reasons to Try Tubing on the Delaware (or Any River)

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How could this not be a really amazing idea?
Whitewater kayaking, rafting, canoeing, and power boating are just a few of many ways to spend hours on the water. But what about distilling the experience down to the bare minimum required to stay afloat and relax on a hot summer day?

River tubing is, at its core, sitting in an inflated tube and floating down a river. It's as simple as summer fun gets. 

We've got a few beautiful waterways to choose from in Southeastern Pennsylvania, but despite having lived in the area for almost eight years, I hadn't tried it until this summer. Why would I want to just sit in a tube when I could be kayaking, rafting, or out for a hike and cooling off under a waterfall?

Five (More) Ways to Be a Bad Camping Buddy This Season

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A group of spectacular camping buddies. These folks know how it's done!
I head out backpacking and camping to escape the hustle and bustle of life, to explore new places, to see sights that take my breath away, and/or because I just love how fresh the air smells in the woods.

Over the years, I've run into folks exhibiting a variety of behaviors that take some of the fun out of it for the rest of us, and I've certainly been guilty of some of them myself.

While I was brainstorming and asking friends about thing they've noticed for a bad camping buddy article on the Sierra Trading Post blog, I compiled a list of ways to make camping a lot less fun for the people you're around. Turns out I had enough material for two articles, and I'm sure there are more pet peeves I haven't thought of. If you get to the end of this list and can think of more, I'd love to hear them!

Life Lessons: On Learning How to Value What Our Bodies Can Do Over What They Look Like

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(PC: Unbroken Designs, 2015 Atlantic Regional.)
I started restricting food in ninth grade. I took a cup of cereal to class and made it last until lunch.
Lunch was a bagel with low fat cream cheese and a plate of vegetables. I tried not to snack during the day before my two and a half hour swim practice. Dinner was as small as possible. Small was beautiful, and small was what I was supposed to be, despite the fact that I was already taller than the majority of the boys, and competitive swimming made my shoulders and arms bigger than the majority of the girls'.

That behavior wasn't sustainable, it's hard to swim 8,000 yards a day when you don't eat enough, and my eating habits started to normalize. When I got to college, I had to figure out how to balance the things every athlete has to balance - school, training, a social life, finding a job, and more. I still had trouble coming to terms with how I looked, even if having bigger arms and shoulders than the "normal" girls made me a better swimmer.

I struggled with bulimia beginning in sophomore year of college, figuring if I slipped up and didn't follow all of my (completely arbitrary) food rules, I could immediately fix it (absolutely not how things work). Thankfully, I got those behaviors mostly under control by senior year, and sitting here now, it all seems so ridiculous. Why would I want to be smaller? How would that help me be a better swimmer, hiker, backpacker or mountain biker? How would  that make me happier?

Beginner Downhill Mountain Biking: Lessons Learned at Trestle Bike Park

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One of my first runs of the day. (Photo by Teresa Edgar.)
Summer is the off-season for many high-altitude mountain towns, but some ski resorts are finding ways to capitalize on ski hill terrain year round.

Ski hills are perfect for mountain bike parks, which include trail networks and man-made features that make flying down the mountain on two wheels an absolute blast. That's the primary difference between the singletrack you'll find in the woods and downhill bike parks - long downhill slopes, purpose-built features, and trails designed around them.

Winter Park, Colorado's Trestle Bike Park is North America's fastest growing bike park, and it's also home to the Colorado Freeride Festival. There, you'll find trails rated the same way ski runs are - green, blue, black, and double black - and instead of climbing up the mountain under your own power, you get to take a chairlift to the top. You'll also find skilled instructors for newbies and experienced riders alike (highly recommended), high end downhill bike rental packages, and over 40 miles of trails to explore.