Don Pitcher's photographic work and writing spring from a lifetime of travels and explorations. Born in Atlanta, Georgia as the son of two teachers, he grew up all over the East Coastfrom Florida to Maine. By age 15 he had lived in six states and two-dozen East Coast and Midwest towns. He moved west for college, receiving a masters degree from the University of California Berkeley, where his thesis examined the effects of wildfires on high elevation forests in Sequoia National Park. When his first (and only) scientific paper was published, he appeared headed into the world of ecological research. But a love of nature pulled him north to Alaska, and an aversion to office work kept him outside.
Into the Wild
Shortly after graduate school Don landed what seemed the coolest job on the planet: being flown around Alaska's massive Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in a helicopter while conducting fire research. Wild places continued to beckon, and over the next 15 years he constructed backcountry trails and cabins, worked as a wilderness ranger, mapped grizzly habitat, guided bear viewers, and operated salmon weirs. After his first summer season, Don spent three months in the South Pacific, and quickly found himself addicted to travel. These explorations eventually took him to all 50 states and 35 nations on six continents.
Today, Don Pitcher continues to research, write, and photograph guidebooks for Alaska, Wyoming, or Washington . He bases his travels from the town of Homer, Alaska, where he lives with his wife, Karen Shemet and their children—widely acclaimed as the finest and cutest kids on the planet—Aziza Bali and Rio Jalen. If you have questions or comments, please send an email or visit the contact page.
During his first summer in Alaska, Don bought a copy of Alaska-Yukon Handbook and filled the margins with comments. He later wrote the author (David Stanley), asking if he needed help on future editions. That contact eventually led Don into the field of travel writing and photography. His first book, Berkeley Inside/Out—now out of print—was published by Heyday Books. He went on to photograph Alaska, Wyoming, and Alaska's Inside Passage for Compass American Guides (Fodor's) and is the author of five in-depth Moon Handbooks: Alaska, Wyoming, Yellowstone-Grand Teton, Washington, and Washington's San Juan Islands. Most recently, he served as editor for the fourth edition of Best Places Alaska. He is a contributor to Triporati.com and other websites, along with such books as DK Eyewitness Travel Alaska and DK Eyewitness Travel USA.
Don Pitcher worked on college newspapers as a photographer, and took a smattering of photo classes over the years, but did not become serious about photography until he started traveling. His photographs have appeared in many books, calendars, magazines, newspapers, posters, and other publications, and his photojournalism won a 2004 award from the Alaska Press Club. Don's images have been used in advertising by such clients as Alaska Airlines, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Chase Manhattan, Cunard Line, Crystal Cruises, Gray Line of Alaska, Holland America, National Geographic, National Park Service, Norwegian Cruise Line, Pacific Telecom, Sony/Columbia Pictures, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S.Forest Service, and the Wyoming Travel Commission. His photographic prints are available in many Alaska and Washington galleries or you can order them directly. Samples of his bald eagle and other Alaskan images are on the photography page of this website. For details on his wedding photography, visit www.weddingsinhomer.com.