Twerk’s Favorite PCT Portraits


 If you know my work, you know that I love portraiture. I could be on the highest mountain looking at the most gorgeous view I’ve ever seen, but I wouldn’t give one fuck about pulling out my DSLR if there isn’t someone to photograph in front of that view. I find people way more interesting than scenery. Have you ever had a mountain act shy while you’re taking photos of it? Did you ever have a tree “work it, girl” in front of the camera? Maybe on a thorizene trip, but I’m talking about actually taking someone’s portrait. Everyone is different and everyone photographs in their own unique way. That’s the main reason I love portraiture because it gives me a deeper insight into the person I am taking a photo of. This was 90% of the reason I wanted to hike the PCT - was to photograph hikers.

To be honest, the Hiker Trash Vogue series I did on the trail this year started as a big joke. I thought I was being hilarious when I told all my hiker friends to grab a random piece of gear and go all ‘Tyra’ on their outdoor products. That very first thread of 9 photos I took in Wrightwood (Mile 369) is what changed the course of my hike. Why? Because I was finally just being myself behind the camera after a long creative dry spell.

I’m a silly dude. Photography I take seriously, but life I do not. Hiker Trash Vogue is me in photo form. It’s a representation of everything I love: the outdoors, backpacking, editorial photography, people and intimate moments with those people. I created this project from the true nature of my heart, and I think people saw that, at least I hope they did.

While a lot of my photos are staged and somewhat ridiculous, there wasn’t a lot of thought put into them. It was in the moment, I saw something pretty and saw a hiker and said, “OK. Stand here, do this, do that. Stop laughing so we can get this shit done. Ok, we got the shot. Thanks for your patience. Sorry I’m a dick.” I’m a bossy little bitch, but it gets the job done.

During my hike and now having completed the trail, I get a lot of messages asking about my camera gear and what kind of filters I use in my photographs. While it’s just a general question, it’s really unnecessary because photography is an art, and like any art form, it can’t be replicated. Just like I can never replicate the works of Annie Leibovitz or David LaChapelle. *I fucking wish*.  

I thought this blog would be really helpful to those who have reached out to me, or have thought about it and haven’t. Whether you’re a day hiker, weekend backpacker or are planning a thru hike in the near future, this blog is for you. I wanted to give you a genuine insight of what I find fascinating and what I consider raw, genuine photography.

Here is a collection of some photos from the Pacific Crest Trail this past year. The first photo I just saw a day ago when it was posted by Cool Runnings (Brian Steadman - @basteadman). It’s by far one of the most beautiful portraits I have seen from the trail this year. The expression is honest, the hues on his face are captivating and the photo let’s you tell your own story or ask the right questions.

This collection of trail photography will hopefully give you an idea of how I see portraiture and the individuality that goes into creating an image. Some of these are even taken with cell phones and disposable cameras. Which comes to my conclusion, when you’re telling a good story and taking a photo for YOU and not Instagram “likes”, you’ll see the results are spectacular. I hope this inspires you to be yourself the next time you put on your backpack and pick up a camera.


Wow. What a wild few months. I took a much needed and refreshing social media break, and I decided tonight to finally read my unread messages and say hi. 🙋🏼‍♀️ And ironically, @outsidemagazine posted an article (which can be found on my Facebook page) that I completely forgot about and I happened to be featured! The day this photo was taken by @iantuttle, it was at Rainy Pass with only days to go until the Northern Terminus, officially ending my Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike. Moments before this, I was getting soaked and soaked from Washington rain and pushing through one of the hardest mental battles on trail. I even joked with myself that I would hitchhike from Rainy Pass to Canada because I was so cold and so wet and my feet were blistered and wrinkly and I was honestly over it. But then there was this random dude (hi Ian!) who photographs for Outside Magazine and he wanted to take portraits of thru-hikers. I could only laugh because of course it was the day that I woke up drenched and stayed consistently drenched and was a hot hot hot mess. But this was me at one of my rawest moments on trail and it makes me so proud of that woman. * I have been working a lot and dealing with crazy allergic reactions that have led me in and out of urgent cares and not wanting to be physical at all and exploring new relationships and trying to focus on what I want my next steps of life to look like. Thank you to everyone who has kept sending me wonderful messages of support and love even when I was MIA!! It was SO wonderful. Talk soon, and happy trails. - Starburst 💜

-DAY 137 September 25 TUE- Waner Valley Campground to 1369 Hat Creek 20mile (32km) . Model-> @jonathanwehnert . . 気持ちのコントロール。 . 東京で生活していた頃は、今に比べて苛立ちに対してコントロールが苦手だったように思う。 . 当たり散らすようなことはなかったが、抱えたストレスを上手く発散できずにいた時もあった。 . 上手く自分をコントロールできずに他人を傷つけてしまうことや、自暴自棄に陥ってしまうこともあり後々に後悔する。 . 朝早く準備を済ませて歩き出し1時間ほど経った頃に50代くらいの2人組みのアメリカ人男性のハイカーに出会う。 . 丁度ジャンクションになっていたところで、1人の男性から「PCTのトレイルはこっちだよ!」と教えてもらい、「ありがとう!じゃあまた後で!」と言い、教えてもらった方向に歩き始めた。 . その場所から1時間くらい経過した時にGPSで自分の居場所を確認するとPCTのトレイルから全く離れた場所にいた。 . 目を疑ったが、間違いなくPCTのトレイルから3マイルほど離れていた。 . そう。先程の2人からもらった指示は間違いだった。 . ジャンクションに戻るのも往復で2時間、計6マイル分の無駄足となる。 . 正直最初はこの事実にかなり落胆した。 . 1日25マイルを進もうと考えて早朝寒い中起き、毎日頑張って歩いていたところにまさかの出来事だった。 . 腹を立てたのはもちろん彼らにだった。 . だが、来た道を歩き戻って10分ほどした時には苛立ちはほぼ治っていた。 . 今までの自分であれば「会った時になんて言ってやろう😡」という気持ちで煮えたぎっていたが、自然と「いや、あの時ちゃんと自分で確認しなかったのも悪かったな🤔」とそう思い、逆に「あのハイカー達とぶつからないということは途中早めに気づいて元のトレイルに戻れたんだな!良かった!」とさえ思った。 . そこから1時間かけてジャンクションに戻り、トレイルを歩き始めて3時間経った時にその男性2人組みのハイカーに再度会う。 . 会うと同時に「申し訳ない、、。間違えたトレイルを教えてしまったと気づいた時にはもう君はだいぶ先に行って追いつけなかったんだ。。すまない。」と謝ってきた。 . その時も僕自身全く気にすることもなく笑顔で「No problem」と言えた。 . この出来事は僕にとっては大きな進歩だった。 . ロングトレイルを歩くことでこういった部分にも影響が出てきているのだと実感した。 . #tarasboulba #タラスブルバ #evernew #evernewjapan #pct2018 #pctclassof2018 #pacificcresttrail #pcthiker #trailsangel #pcta #mountainlife #mountaincalling #mountainliving #wilderness #山旅好き #johnmuir #jmt #backpacking #hiking #nationalpark #backpacking #アウトドア #バックパッカー #ロングトレイル #バックパッキング #登山 #ハイキング #entertheadventure #hyakkeime #やまポトレ

These were in no particular order, but I did save my favorite for last. Miraj’s portraits on the PCT this year are absolutely unreal. His work is by far some of my favorite trail photography, ever. I would post his whole thread if I had the time, so here are some of my favorites.

Honorable Mention: Because birds are people too.