The Photographer · Rami Jabaji
Oregon · USA
This poor sap. Wakes up at the chilly buttcrack of dawn on the winds of a favorable sunrise forecast at Mirror Lake, trudges up the cold trail to the top of TDH and prepares to capture a gorgeous daybreak over Mt. Hood, completely oblivious, forgetful, or graciously tolerant of the fact that I’m the baddest bad luck charm for epic skies there ever was. I gotta think maybe he knew the weather gods had it in for me, as they teased and taunted me with tantalizing glimpses of the mountain only to pull the cloud curtains over it again by the time my numbed fingers would finally manage to set my camera up after clumsily wresting it free from my pack. Somehow, though, he managed to fire off a shot and come away with something special (see “A Winter Dream” in the Powder section of his inspiring website). Perhaps he knew to synchronize his efforts to set up his camera with my own efforts to pack mine away, and vice versa. If so, then let me amend the opening from “This poor sap” to “This punk”...
But even then, I’d be hard-pressed to fault a guy for such savvy, even if it may have come at my expense. And given that this guy’s one of the most down-to-earth people you'd ever want to meet, it makes it that much harder. I might hold it against him that Ashley and I weren't able to meet his awesome wife and their irrepressibly adorable and wonderfully expressive infant son Kai before his job at Nike abruptly called him away to the Windy City for the next couple of years...but even that would be a tall order on my grouchiest days.
The truth of the matter is, Rami Jabaji’s possibly one of the most talented landscape photographers you may have never heard of, and while I personally think that's a crying shame, it’s nothing he ever gives a second thought about. He just goes about his photography unencumbered by any pressing need to follow the herd or replicate something he’s seen shot before--an increasingly rare commodity in such a talent- and attraction-rich area as the Pacific Northwest.
So I'm hoping when it's all said and done, the prodigious photographic lures that Illinois will throw his way the next couple of years (think, um, Cloud Gate, Charles Mound, and, um...ummm...) don't tune him out to the calls of Portland reminding him where home is. And remember, Rami...back in Portland you had a short three-minute walk to bubble tea, and there's no four-hour wait for a slightly better than average burger...
On Instagram @ramij