Meet Kelly Selzler - turning her love of the wilderness into Fine Art Photography

Meet Kelly Selzler - turning her love of the wilderness into Fine Art Photography

Hey Kula community!

I'm so thrilled to introduce our feature on the Kula Blog today. Kelly Selzler is a fine art landscape and adventure elopement/portrait photographer who also happens to be a dear friend of mine (and, as you can see from the photo below, she's even photographed me playing my violin in the mountains!). 

Kelly hikes to some of the most remote locations to capture stirring images of nature - if you check out her website, you'll also notice that she has an awe-inspiring selection of abstract images as well. In the world of Fine Art Photography, Kelly is one of few women who are paving the way for others. Her photography has been featured in gallery shows and her prints are on display in businesses and homes around the Puget Sound and beyond. In addition to spending time in the field, Kelly has also taught photography workshops with a PNW-based non-profit, Washington Outdoor Women.  

As an individual who has been fortunate enough to be on the other side of Kelly's lens, I can personally say that Kelly captures something uniquely brilliant in her photographs. When I look at her photos, I see something beyond just a moment in time - I see not only her own love for the wilderness, but also her deep connection to her subjects. Each photographer has a choice of when to press the button on a camera to take a photo - Kelly is one of those photographers who knows exactly how and when to capture the essence of her subjects with every shot. Her photos are truly remarkable, and I am so proud to continue to watch her progress as a professional photographer.

- Anastasia Allison, Kula Cloth™ founder 


1. Who are you and what excites you the most in life?

I am Kelly Selzler and I am a wife, mom, and woman in love with the outdoors. I am also a photographer, obsessed with capturing some of the best moments of people’s lives and photographing the phenomenal beauty of nature. Nothing excites me more than setting out on a trail wondering what adventures await me. I love hiking, climbing, and kayaking. I am also passionate about reading books that help improve myself and my life.

2. What does Leave No Trace mean to you? Why is it so important? 

To me, Leave No Trace means exploring nature and leaving it as you found it. We need to preserve nature and leave it viable not only for generations to come, but for the sake of our planet. As a photographer exploring the wilderness, it’s important to respect wildlife and use a telephoto lens. It’s not worth the shot to go tramping over wildflowers or other fragile vegetation. If I can’t get the image I want without scarring the vegetation, I just don’t get the image. I just look for another spot or pull out a different lens or just walk away. If I am capturing a portrait of someone in the outdoors, it is important to educate others on Leave No Trace principles and spread the word. To me, there’s a reason “wild” is in the word “wilderness”. We need to keep it that way.

3. You are a professional photographer - tell us about the type of photography that you love to do!


I am a photographer who is in LOVE with many different genres of photography. What is dearest to my heart is capturing nature and landscape. To be outdoors observing nature and really SEEING everything around me fills my entire being with excitement. I also love capturing people during the most amazing and intimate times of their lives. To photograph a wedding in the mountains, for example, is such a perfect experience for me because I am fulfilling a desire to spend time in both worlds - my love of capturing nature AND people.



4. What is the mission behind each of your photographs? What do you hope to capture?

The mission behind my photographs is for the viewer to experience emotion. Whether that person feels calmness, happiness, a sense of awe, or even sadness, I know I have succeeded as a photographer if that person walks away and remembers my image days, weeks, or even months later. In nature, I hope to capture what many other people may only dream of seeing. I want to show them how utterly unforgettable and beautiful nature can be.




5. What is one of the coolest experiences you've ever had in the backcountry as a photographer? Any particularly memorable moments?


Wow, this is a tough one. I think I’ve had several hundred cool experiences as a photographer! However, I do have two that really jump out at me. One experience happened last fall. I was solo hiking a 17 mile loop in Mt. Rainier National Park. I had just entered Spray Park and there was an enormous black bear about 50 yards away from me. I looked at this beautiful creature and, no joke, started jumping up and down because I was so excited to see it. We stared at each other for awhile and I completely forgot to pull out my camera for the first few minutes. Once I settled down and judged that it wasn’t threatened by my presence, I pulled out my long lens and grabbed some shots of it as it munched on huckleberries.


Another instance was an unforgettable sunrise in the Enchantments of WA. We woke up and peeked our heads out of the tent and saw the start of what we knew was going to be a sunrise to remember. With my boots frozen, I frantically scrambled to get them on my feet, get my camera gear out, and get moving to find some good compositions in the freezing cold. The colors on Perfection Lake were first bright orange, then pink, then purple. I love these instances when I forget all my problems and focus on two of the most amazing things to me - photography and nature.



6. What wisdom can you share for other women who want to venture into the field of photography?

For women who want to venture into the field of photography, I would first say DO IT NOW!! I waited 14 years to make my dream a reality. Also, keep in mind that it doesn’t matter what kind of camera gear you have, just start with something small and inexpensive. Learn about photography in any way that you can. Books, workshops, and the Internet are endless resources. Read your camera manual and practice, practice, practice! Don’t let your camera intimidate you. It’s your tool to capture the world and can be learned in small steps. I personally hired a friend who was a photographer to teach me the basics. I owe so much to him for helping me get a solid start. My hope now is to help others learn photography just as he taught me and open new worlds for budding photographers.




7. Free space - this is where you get to write anything else that you are passionate about and want to share!


As a survivor of a 25 year battle with a severe eating disorder, I feel that I have a perspective on life that may be a bit different than others. I try to convey this perspective through my photography. Now that I have been in a place of recovery for quite awhile, I am LOVING life and have come to realize just how incredibly precious it is. My battle has made me a stronger and braver woman and I hope that in some way I can help others who are struggling.


 Gear Notes: Kelly shoots with a Pentax K1 and a Pentax K3ii and a Gitzo tripod. If you have any questions about gear, please connect with Kelly!

Connect with Kelly: - nature and landscape photography - weddings/babies/families 


All photographs provided by and used with permission by Kelly Selzler.  


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