TRAVEL | NATURE
Take a Hike: Views for All with Brandon Alexander
Brandon is a homegrown Arkansan with a talent for capturing the beauty and wonder of nature. He invites you to “Take A Hike” through Mt. Nebo and Lake Dardanelle Park.
Favorite Park? Probably Pinnacle Mountain
Which came first photography or hiking?
The first two years or three years I didn’t do any photography. When I finally went outside and did all of these things then I was like I really want to capture these moments and that’s when I got into photography.
Arkansas is a land of stunning natural beauty but the ugliness of racial discrimination can make it hard for minorities and allies to feel safe in the wilderness whether in a group or alone.
For some, that would be the end of the story. However for Brandon Alexander, a featured nature photographer on Arkansas Soul, this is no where near the end of his journey to photograph all of the parks in the state.
Brandon is a born and raised Arkansan. He discovered himself, a talent, and friends in the outdoors. Brandon’s family didn’t feel the need to explore too far outside of their comfort zone when it came to nature. He remarks, “At one point in my life, I was too afraid to go outside.”
Facing that fear has turned into a passion for hiking and a hidden talent in photography.
He wishes for more inclusion and representation from the larger nature brands like “Fayettechill” who could help with organized trips and making minorities feel invited. Brandon also hopes to inspire more outdoors lovers with his photographs.
Brandon is a nursing student who currently works in one of the most difficult fields: mental health. And yes, he has been called THAT word. He has a genuine empathy for patients and enjoyment of his work which helps with those particularly bad days.
Even exams and residential hours can’t keep him away from the outdoors. He’s going to get the best pictures whether its during waterfall season or time for the leaves to turn.
He makes the time because as he puts it, “I don’t want to be in a position where I can’t do this anymore.”
ABOUT THE VISITED PARKS:
It’s important to find balance. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that nature is always working towards a balance, but taking the time to view it, to commune with a high power is integral to healing from the rigors of the grind.
Arkansas has 52 beautiful parks and many local must-see hangouts for every age and every race. Mt. Nebo Park is a favorite spot for people in the central and western part of the state — easily accessible from Fayetteville and Little Rock.
It has well-walked trails and cabins where you can view the entire valley and an endless sky. In fact, there are a few places along to trail to behold the sunrise, sunset, and stars.
Lake Dardanelle Park is located at a reservoir on the Arkansas River. There are cute selfie-worthy docks, a pavilion for events, a playground, boat ramps and a visitor center at the main address. There are also a variety of swimming spots on the lake. Just make sure to check that you’re not trespassing on private land.