This month we’re handing the reins of our Instagram account over to J Smilanic, a Colorado native living in Asheville, North Carolina. J prefers to spend his time hiking and exploring any mountains but particularly those near his home base in Western North Carolina.“I was born and raised in Palmer Lake, Colorado,” J says, “but I really love it here in Asheville. Mostly it’s the people, followed closely by the mountains, food, beer and the weather.”

One look at J’s Instagram reveals a plethora of top notch landscape photography from Western North Carolina and few images from out West.

He says his favorite area to explore close to home is the Roan Highlands but hopes to spend some time shooting in the Pacific Northwest as soon as possible. “I feel very drawn to the temperate rain forests of the Pacific Northwest,” he said. “I have not visited but I would gladly spend the rest of my life exploring out there.”

Sunset over Lake Jocassee in upstate SC, as seen from Jump Off Rock.

Stay tuned to the Blue Ridge Outdoors Instagram account this week as we share more of J’s stunning photos!