Photo Essay | One Man and His Tent

By Ella Frances Sanders, Illustrator in Residence Share

This photo essay is about a state of mind, a feeling. It is about connecting with the wonder and force of mother nature, leaving the city behind for a while and pitching a tent somewhere in the wilderness. As the immortally wise Walt Whitman said, it is good for us to ‘grow in the open air’ and ‘eat and sleep with the earth’ and these photos hope to capture some of that - some of the intangible, wonderful wanderlust.

This collection contains 20 incredible photographs of tents, snuggled into well-known places and remote places - surrounded by mountains and forests, pegged down in some beautiful locations and looking out over empty landscapes. Many thanks to all the delightful photographers for sharing their beautiful compositions.  


1 | Sarek National Park, Sweden by Johannes Jansson

After seeing photos such as this one, it's not difficult to believe that Sarek National Park is often called Europe’s last wilderness, and Johannes has caught a beautiful moment, with the moon rising up over the landscape and his red, reflected tent adding to the sense of adventure and mystery.

I’m drawn to the open country. Its where everything is clear, where the world makes the most sense. When I put myself out there I always return with something new. A friend once told me the best journeys answer questions that in the beginning you didn’t even think to ask.
— Jeff Johnson

2 | Mt. Strútur, Iceland by Árni Tryggvason

Árni had some interesting tent tales, having bought the tent in the image below five years ago, and at every new place taken a photo - in all seasons, be it snow, summer days or storms. As you can likely imagine, he has accumulated a great collection. This particular one was taken near Mt. Strútur, when he ‘spent there a night in the wilderness, north of glacier Mýrdalsjökull. The snow is covered with an ash from the volcano Grímsvötn that erupted two months earlier. The river is named Brennivínskvísl, which means "Vodka-river“ in English (but it's just clear water).’

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life.
— Henry David Thoreau

3 | Winthrop, Washington, USA by Bronson Snelling

This grainy, first-person type of photo can often awaken a sleeping case of the wanderlust, and it is easy to imagine yourself waking up early, peering out of the tent and seeing nothing but empty, enticing landscape for miles and miles.

A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies and adopting new viewpoints.
— Wilfred Peterson

4 | Buckhorn Wilderness, Quilcene Bay, WA by Trevor Ducken

Taken somewhere within the 44,258 acres of mountainous emptiness that is the Buckhorn Wilderness, which can be found on the northeastern Olympic Peninsula. Established in 1984, its tallest peak stands at 6,988 feet (2,130 m) and there are endless, gloriously isolated places to pitch your tent.

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
— Edward Abbey

5 | India by Jocelyn Catterson

Sometimes, it’s quite nice not knowing exactly where a photograph was taken, in that you can imagine it to be absolutely anywhere. Often, being slightly lost can be an excellent catalyst for adventure, and you discover hidden routes and places.

Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking; You have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits.
— Cindy Ross

6 | Crater Lake, Oregon by Tom Chwojko-Frank

Crater Lake is best known for the amazing clarity and colour of its water, which is a deep, endless blue. The deepest lake (592m) in the United States, there are no rivers flowing in or out of the lake, which was formed the the collapse of a volcano, and the compensating evaporation by rain and snow happens at such a rate that all the water is replaced every 250 years.

Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.
— Walt Whitman

7 | Mount Rainier Base Camp, Washington by Patrick Gensel

It was difficult not to love the description Patrick wrote to accompany this photo: ‘When I had arrived in Ashford Washington, and Rainier base camp, I had no idea where I was going to sleep for the next two days. Like much of my trip I was playing it by ear, but the only difference is that this time I was somewhere I knew no one. I had to do what I do best, and that is make friends! Fortunately everyone on my Summit For Someone climbing team was awesome and my new friend David was kind enough to offer me tent space at the campsite he had reserved for the weekend.

Of course I came with beer to show my gratitude. It’s funny how when you are in the forest and you share a common interest, communication with someone you don’t really know at all becomes so easy and fluid. I love nothing more than sitting around a fire with a few beers and stories to tell. Now I am getting all nostalgic for my weekend in Ashford. Well, here is to meeting more folks around the campfire!’

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
— Frank Lloyd Wright

8 | Yoho National Park, BC, Canada by Luke Gram

We couldn’t resist yet another from-inside-the-tent photo, as the good ones manage to be both nostalgic and wanderlust-inducing - it was difficult to refrain from filling half of this photo essay with Luke Gram’s magnificent adventuring photographs. And there isn’t much more that can be added to Pico Iyer’s quote below, but his TED talk might just reignite the travelling flame (that is if it’s not already a burning fire).

Travel is like love, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.
— Pico Iyer

9 | Lake Superior, Michigan by Jonah Westrich

Camping never looked better, pitched on the shores of Lake Superior - the largest of the Great Lakes in North America. Also the largest freshwater lake in the world, if you’re going by surface area, and it has a fascinating history full of shipwrecks and lava and the first people who settled there after the last Ice Age, 10,000 years ago.

Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.
— Walt Whitman

10 | Sahale Glacier Camp, Northern Cascades, Washington by Jason Groepper

Some view. Often camping trips end up as a random assortment of everything, you overpack or you underpack and it takes a while to figure out what the ultimate adventuring list looks like.

Traveling... forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.
— Cesare Pavese

11 | Mount Kita, Japan by Hoocch

This otherworldly sunrise is looking towards Mount Kita, the second tallest mountain in Japan at a not entirely insignificant 10,476ft. Technically two men and two tents, but views like this don’t come around all that often, and they should definitely be remembered and recorded.

Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.
— Frank Herbert

12 | Slieve League, Republic of Ireland by Jan T

Pitched on the edges at Slieve League, a mountain of nearly 2,000ft on the Atlantic coast with some of the highest cliffs in Ireland. It is a wild, stunning place - naturalist Robert Lloyd Praeger wrote in 1939, ‘The traverse of this ridge, the "One Man's Path", is one of the most remarkable walks to be found in Ireland - not actually dangerous, but needing a good head and careful progress on a stormy day....’

A person needs at intervals to separate from family and companions and go to new places. One must go without familiars in order to be open to influences, to change.
— Katharine Butler Hathaway

13 | Lake District, England by Paul Bailey

Not a bad place to wake up to. This great National Park in the North West of England contains all the land in the country higher than 3,000 ft above sea level, and is home to a long list of lakes, meres, waters, tarns and reservoirs. Although there is a good chance of rain at pretty much any time of year, the landscapes in this part of the country are rugged, wild and ideal for microadventures.

It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent.
— Dave Barry

14 | Sikkim, India by Amitava Kayal

Taken on a trek in the landlocked state of Sikkim in the Himalayan mountains, which although the least populous and second smallest state in India, it is incredibly diverse geographically with climates ranging from high alpine to subtropical.

There is pleasure in the pathless woods; There is rapture on the lonely shore; There is society, where none intrudes, by the deep sea and music in its roar.
— Lord Byron

15 | Songpan, Sichuan, China by Olle Serrander

Small tents within the dense forest landscape, captured from above while horse trekking in Songpan county, which has an economy mostly made up of agriculture and livestock raising, although tourism is encouraged by the authorities, and Songpan acts as a kind of gateway to the beautiful Jiuzhaigou nature reserve and national park in the North.

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
John Burroughs

16 | Johan Dahl Land, South Greenland by Silvan Mahler

Silvan wrote a wonderful description of the story behind his photograph: ‘We were on a hiking trip in the wilderness of South Greenland, and after a long walk of about 7 hours (not that long, but with a heavy backpack of 30kg it's quite long) we reached the Fjord of the Glacier ‘Eqalorutsit Kangilliit Sermiat.’ We saw this place very early this day and were really impressed of the view, the environment and everything around... a very beautiful place, even more after 7 hours walking. After set-up our tent and preparing our meals, the sun was in the correct angle... so that our nice tent was nearly invisible and part of the landscape... quite a nice view. Together with the Glacier view, a perfect moment after a hard day out there.’

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.
— Aristotle

17 | Cirali, Turkey by Ksenia Skvortsova

Almost a kind of surrealist landscape, this unassuming tent is pitched in a tiny agricultural village in the southwest of Turkey, close to the ancient ruins of Olympos. Although very small, the village has a beautiful 3.5km secluded beach, which is protected by the WWF as a home of rare sea turtles.

Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it.
— Mark Jenkins

18 | Lake Michigan, USA by Ryan Timm

Taken while on a 4th of July camping trip to the shores of Lake Michigan, which is home to 12 million people (mainly in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas), although with the shore stretching 2,636km in length there wouldn’t be too much trouble finding a secluded spot somewhere, and a couple of suitable trees to hang a hammock.

The lake and the mountains have become my landscape, my real world.
— Georges Simenon

19 | Hardangervidda, Norway by Peter Przybille

An unknown moment in an wild place, but this photo definitely encapsulates the ‘one man and his tent’ feeling, with what looks like the only source of light for a long, long way in any direction.

When preparing to climb a mountain – pack a light heart.
— Dan May

20 | Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park, Norway by Kristian Reinskau Knudsen 

One man and his tent, looking towards adventure. Occupying 1,693 km² within stunning landscapes, reaching into three Norwegian counties and including much of the mountain range of Dovrefjell, this national park was formed in 2002 to replace and enlarge the previous one, which had been established in 1974.

I am two with nature.
— Woody Allen

We tried to canvas your opinion before creating this photo essay but the responses were poles apart... however, if you felt that we pitched it well - perhaps you could tweet this post and @mention any tent-loving friends who you'd also peg as being of the adventurous sort.

Before you leave us here a couple of our other popular posts we think you will enjoy perusing.


Faces of the World - every face tells a story - from elation to tragedy, from innocence to wisdom, from anger to joy, and everything else in-between.

The Age of Outrospection - welcome to the age of adventurous empathy fuelled by storytelling.


Date added
Location Taghazout, Morocco