Hi, I'm Rich Bowers.
A Pennsylvania native, I moved with my family to Bellingham Washington in 2001, a wonderful spot for camera work located near the San Juan Islands, North Cascade Mountains, and just south of British Columbia, Alaska and the Yukon Territories.
Before that, I lived in Maryland, just outside the Washington DC Beltway, where I worked in a number of positions until a river trip in 1976 in Southwest Pennsylvania inspired me to focus my passion on protecting rivers across the Nation.
I have been Executive Director and Board member for both American Whitewater and the Whatcom Land Trust, organizations that provided plenty of opportunities to travel to beautiful and unique places, and to meet and work with others interested in defending, enjoying, and protecting natural resources.
In addition to working with my camera, I am an avid whitewater and ocean paddler, skier, and hiker, and in early 2020, I retired from my nonprofit work to devote more time and energy to my photography.
Passion for Bears and Pikas
Wildlife has always interested me. Early on, I roamed Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, West Virginia's Cranberry Wilderness, Maine's Baxter State Park, Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park, and other wildlands just praying to see a bear -- even a little one -- but I was always denied. In fact, when friends were worried about bears, they would invite me along on their trips as the great bear deterrent. Better than sprays or bells for sure! When I moved west, I was determined to not only see, but photograph bears. I learned all I could about their habitat and behavior, and then spent as much time as I could in bear country. This website will give you an idea of my recent, happy success. More than anything, bears for me symbolize "wild" and wild places. Being in proximity to these apex-predators, respecting their territory and needs, and learning to safely coexist is a wonderful way to spend time outdoors. Pikas are at the other end of the wildlife spectrum from bears; certainly less intimidating, equally cute, yet alike in that they symbolize the wild and are an important study in the changes coming from impacts on habitat and climate.
Passion for Wild Places
That passion for experiencing moving water (river, ocean and snow), and exploring wild places and seldom visited areas also inspired me to start Northwest Rivers Photography. While my early photographs were more a product of being in the right place rather than because of any expert photography skills, I was, over time, able to devote more time to photography and editing, and was able to invest in better equipment which provided for visibly improved results. I currently continue to look for unique places and experiences, and for that too-rare magical light that transforms a snapshot into a reflection of nature in all of her beauty and magnificence.