New Bedford's Paul Smith got a degree in accounting at Southeastern Massachusetts University (SMU), now known as the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMD).

He worked as an accountant for Calvin Clothing, manufacturing men's suits at 64 Conduit Street in New Bedford for seven years. The plant opened in 1968 and closed in November 1991. It was then that Smith decided to strike out on his own –  but what would he do for the rest of his life?

New Bedford Photographer's Passion Is Nature Photography
Courtesy Paul Smith
loading...

Smith, "born and raised" in New Bedford, "became interested in photography in the military around 1973," he said. So Smith launched his own photography business.

"Nature photography was and continues to be my first love," he said. Smith found his calling in life.

"In 1994, I made photography my full-time profession adding weddings, portraits, and commercial work to my resumé in order to make a living doing the thing I love the most," he said.

New Bedford Photographer's Passion Is Nature Photography
Courtesy Paul Smith
loading...
New Bedford Photographer's Passion Is Nature Photography
Courtesy Paul Smith
loading...

Smith, now 71, said he "began hiking in earnest in 1987 and since then have logged around 5,000 miles in 20 states, British Columbia, and Alberta, in the Canadian Rockies."

Smith said the appeal of nature photography is "multi-faceted."

"(I enjoy) the challenge, solitude, and peace of mind it brings as well as the opportunity to photograph peerless natural beauty in all four seasons," he said.

New Bedford Photographer's Passion Is Nature Photography
Courtesy Paul Smith
loading...
New Bedford Photographer's Passion Is Nature Photography
Courtesy Paul Smith
loading...

The Canadian Rockies (British Columbia and Alberta), Washington's Olympic National Park, Glacier National Park in Montana, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and North Cascades National Park in Washington are among some of Smith's favorite locations to hike and photograph nature.

Other favorites include The Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and Canyonlands in Utah.

New Bedford Photographer's Passion Is Nature Photography
Courtesy Paul Smith
loading...
New Bedford Photographer's Passion Is Nature Photography
Courtesy Paul Smith
loading...

Smith dreams of shooting the Andes in Patagonia at the southernmost tip of South America, but doubts he would "ever have the cash t get there." He hiked Alaska and the Yukon Territory in 1985 and would love to return.

The wildfires out west have Smith "runnin' scared" so he expects to sit tight until at least fall when a trip to West Virginia may be in the cards.

New Bedford Photographer's Passion Is Nature Photography
Courtesy Paul Smith
loading...
New Bedford Photographer's Passion Is Nature Photography
Courtesy Paul Smith
loading...

Visit Higher Ground Nature Photography for a look at more of Paul Smith's amazing nature photography.

WATCH OUT: These are the deadliest animals in the world

RANKED: Here are the most popular national parks

To determine the most popular national parks in the United States, Stacker compiled data from the National Park Service on the number of recreational visits each site had in 2020. Keep reading to discover the 50 most popular national parks in the United States, in reverse order from #50 to #1. And be sure to check with individuals parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at www.nps.gov/coronavirus.