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Nicole Mason

Nicole Mason

@neekmason | nicolemason.co

Nicole is a freelance photographer based in Portland, Oregon. Though her work often sends her elsewhere, she's called the PNW home for the past year. Her roots in photography began at a very young age, and continued when she chose to pursue art in college and take every photography class they had to offer. She has a BFA in Studio Art and has been full-time freelance for nearly 2 years now - she can't be thankful enough to be able to say that.

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What's your United By Blue gear must-have?

My favorite UBB item is the Cameron Tote. It has been my go-to work-bag for the past year. I can fit everything I need in it (laptop, hard drives, snacks... etc) and bring it to the coffee shop to work. It's so practical, and I literally get a compliment on it every time I bring it around.


Favorite Trail?

One of my favorite hikes here in Oregon is called Saddle Mountain. It’s along the way to the coast, a few miles down a winding, nearly-one-way road into the forest. The trail climbs up pretty quickly through a sea of mossy trees and opens up to some breath-taking views at a couple of points - the first being a huge rock formation that looks like a saddle on top, from which, on a clear day, you can see for a ridiculous amount of distance - huge trees look like countless blades of grass and spread over the mountains you didn't even know were there until reaching this height. You can continue up another couple of miles and it only gets better - you can even see the coast!


Lakes vs. Ocean?

I definitely prefer the ocean. It's incredibly inspiring and special to me - especially at the Oregon coast. There are few things as untamable as the ocean - it's such a wild, uncontrollable form of nature, and I think that's why I love it so much.


What keeps you motivated to explore?

Living in Portland, being surrounded by such incredible scenery is plenty to keep me motivated to explore! There are hikes you can do in parks right in the city itself, the Columbia River Gorge, packed full of waterfalls and hidden trails, is a 20 minute drive away - the coast, Mt. Hood, Washington - everything is in such close proximity - it's impossible to ignore the opportunity to see them.

Something people don't know about you?

I love music and sports. I played the alto saxophone, guitar and piano growing up, and I also played soccer and lacrosse in college at D III level. I always struggled to choose just one thing, but I took a risk in diving into photography because I knew if I was going to master something, I had to give my all to it.

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