For this month’s Instagram Takeover we caught up with Western North Carolina photographer Halley Burleson, A.K.A @appexposures. Born and raised in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, Halley has spent most of her life, hiking, kayaking, and horseback riding throughout the beautiful Blue Ridge. She’s well-known in the Instagram world for her stunning landscapes—often featuring her adventure dog “Sallie.” Check out some of her work and read our Q & A with Halley below, and stayed tuned to the @blueridgeoutdoors Instagram account all week for daily features of Halley’s photos!

_MG_0020-Edit-Edit-Edit“Fellow photographers Serge Skiba and Steve Yocum (and Steve’s dog Asia) hiking down from Round Bald after a cool February photoshoot.”

Screen shot 2015-07-20 at 10.36.44 AM“Sun rising above the clouds on Mt.Mitchell. It’s moments like this that make all the early morning hikes so worth it!”

Screen shot 2015-07-20 at 10.37.40 AM“My dog the Sallie Gator looking out into her kingdom as the sun beams across the Black Mountain Crest.”

Screen shot 2015-07-20 at 10.37.15 AM“This is what it is all about.  Fellow hikers taking time to simply enjoy the view from the saddle of Roan Highlands.”

Screen shot 2015-07-20 at 2.46.21 PM“A whitewater kayaker takes on the rapids of the Nantahala River during the 2013 NOC Spring Fling.”

BRO: How did you get into photography?

HB: Hiking mostly.  You see so many beautiful sights and colors in nature. I wanted to be able to capture and share some of what I saw.

BRO: Where did you discover your passion?

HB: In February 2012, I went to Peru to volunteer with a feeding program for children.  While I was there I spent most of my time in an orphanage that was in great need of daily living necessities; things that I have always taken for granted.  I knew when I came home that I had to do something more.  I took a few of my favorite photos had them printed and sold them as a fundraiser for the orphanage.

It was then I realized how much I could really do locally with a camera in my hand.  Shortly after I purchased my first DSLR (a canon T2i) and started pursuing my passion for helping others, through photography.  I decided to call my photography Appalachian Exposures in hopes of sharing more than just the landscapes that make this area so beautiful.

I hope my photography also brings exposure to the charities of the Appalachians and their beautiful purposes.  Each year I pick a local charity to volunteer with and donate to.  Last year was “Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Asheville”  This year will be Avery County Special Olympics.

BRO: What kind of photography do you specialize in?

HB: Landscapes.  Mostly from the Blue Ridge. Sunsets and sunrises are my favorite.

BRO: How long have you been shooting?

HB: With purpose, three beautiful years.

BRO: If you could only choose one area in this region to hike and explore and photograph for the rest of your life what would it be?

HB: Would have to be the Black Mountain Range.  This is where I developed my love for nature and hiking.  It is home to me.

BRO: Favorite musician from the  southeast/Mid-Atlantic?

HB: Yo Mommas Big Fat Booty Band!  What can I say…I like to dance!

BRO: One piece of gear (minus your camera) you wouldn’t head into the woods without?

HB: My Gregory backpack.  I’ve had this particular pack for more years than I remember, it’s a part of my trail life.