Braving elements pays off for local photographer

By Kyle Perrotti | Jan 11, 2017
Photo by: Steve Yocom Kim Saddel sits atop Plott Balsam Ridge at sunset on Saturday.

Most Haywood County residents used the weekend’s snow storm as a reason to have a lazy day indoors. But for local photographer Steve Yocom, as soon as the white stuff started falling, it was a call to action.

On Saturday morning, Yocom was out the door at 5 a.m. to capture some of the serene scenes the snow provides, and he wasn’t back home until after dark. But the results made braving the elements worth it.

During the winter, when it’s not snowing, Yocom said the season doesn’t typically yield good images, so he spends most of the time scouting locations which might make for spectacular spring and summer shots.

But Saturday, Yocom traveled all around the county trying to capture that perfect image.  He said the key to good winter photography is getting photos quickly once the snow falls. He noted that he thinks of as being like a race.

“It’s beautiful when it snows here, but that only lasts 24 hours before the wind blows it off the trees,” he said.

Yocom moved to the area four years ago after he tired of his home state of Pennsylvania. He said he wanted to settle down and get a job in either a beach town or a mountain town, and when he arrived in Haywood County, he was blown away.

“For the east coast, this is as good as it gets,” he said.

And he added that the area has a special advantage over the larger west coast mountain regions as well.

“You can camp, backpack and fish nine months out of the year compared to the East coast where you have about a two-month summer,” he said.

Yocom’s photos are frequently used by Haywood County and the state’s tourism bureau, as well as a few regional publications.

He said he feels that being able to work in such a unique area with so many opportunities for quality photos will afford him the chance to work here for quite some time. And while he's here, he wants to take advantage of ever opportunity afforded him.

His next big venture, which he anticipates beginning in the spring, will be an adventure guide service with a unique twist. Along with taking groups out hiking or fishing, Yocom wants to provide people who book his service with an album full of photos he takes along the trip.

Yocom’s website is, and he can be followed on Instagram at steve_yocom.