Nicholas Parker isn’t afraid of a little snow. After all, he grew up in the tiny mountain town of Seeley Lake, Montana, where extreme weather is fairly normal.

But this was different.

He remembers hiking from Glacier National Park’s Logan Pass to the Many Glacier Hotel with his parents. It was late August, 2010, and a snowstorm had dumped six inches on the pass. Mist, fog, and icy pathways made the trek feel all the more difficult. But as soon as they completed the treacherous hike and retired to the lodge for the night, they were greeted by a blindingly beautiful sunset.

These kinds of adventures are not unusual for the Parker family. Nicholas remembers that, while growing up, his grandmother would always take the family on an annual trip and his parents would often pack he and his siblings into the car to explore backcountry Montana. These outings fostered a deep love of the outdoors.

Nicholas’ eye for photography was also inherited: his mother is both a nature photographer and talented painter.

As a child, he and his mother would talk about the design of mountains, lakes, and rivers, and their place in a scene. She would help Nicholas frame a composition with her Nikon film camera. This experience, he says, helped shape his own ideas and visions of beautiful landscape exposures.

As Nicholas grew older, photography took a back-seat in his life: he attended college and played on the football team, then later started pursuing a master’s degree in nursing. But something was missing — he still felt like he needed a creative outlet.

After receiving a camera for Christmas, Nicholas brought it with him on a trip to Yellowstone National Park. The results? Stunning nature shots (including those from an up-close encounter with a wolf) and a desire to take his photography more seriously.

In the coming year, he won two National Geographic magazine competitions and was featured in several U.S. publications.

He’s been photographing ever since — though his favorite place for photography, and exploring, is still Glacier National Park. When people view his photos of the wilderness, he hopes they get a sense of being there in real time, that they explore all of the incredible detail his photos have to offer.

But visiting his favorite park isn’t all about snapping the shutter at the precise moment. More often, he finds that experiencing the magic of Glacier National Park with loved ones is most rewarding.

To view more of Nicholas’ work, visit his instagram.