News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

People behind The Nugget: Jarod Gatley

Jarod Gatley can pinpoint the moment when he started down the path that took him into a career behind the camera. He was hiking up South Sister at night with his brother-in-law, freelance photographer and videographer Cody Rheault.

Cody was taking shots of the landscape under the night sky.

"I saw the photos he was getting and I thought, 'I want to capture that myself,'" he said.

From that day, "I spent every minute that I could outside, doing landscape photography. That kind of morphed into lifestyle stuff."

Gatley's landscape photography has landed on two covers of The Nugget's annual Sisters Oregon Guide (SOG), and he has also contributed both photography and video to The Nugget's Spirit of Central Oregon Magazine.

SOG project coordinator and designer Leith Easterling said, "Jarod is just a fantastic photographer. His photography always feels organic - it is like he just always happens to be at the right place at the perfect time to get the most amazing shot. It has been such a pleasure to use his work and I am always happy when I get to see what he sends my way."

Gatley is a freelancer for The Nugget; his day job is behind a camera at Central Oregon Daily News.

The photographer makes little distinction between work in print media and in television and other visual media.

"I don't know that I would say that it has the ability to do something different than print - because you're still telling the same stories," he said. " I wouldn't say there is a difference in the content."

He does, however, acknowledge that people often gravitate toward visual storytelling as media consumers. He enjoyed producing a video story on musician Pokey LaFarge at the Sisters Rhythm and Brews Festival for The Nugget in 2022 ( He also profiled Bend ultramarathoner Chris Colovos for Spirit of Central Oregon ( and falconer Hank Minor, also for Spirit of Central Oregon (

Gatley particularly thrives on feature profiles, "diving into someone's life and seeing what makes them tick."

The 25-year-old photojournalist recently won a Northwest Regional Emmy Award for a Central Oregon Daily "War Stories" profile of veteran Lou Bauer (

According to Central Oregon Daily, "'War Stories' is a mini-documentary about the lives and service of military veterans and their families, told in their own words. It airs every Monday on Good Morning Central Oregon and Central Oregon Daily News."

The logline on the Bauer documentary states that, "Bauer retired from the U.S. Army with 25 years of service. But after he got out, he still felt the effects of war - struggling with PTSD and pushing him to his limits. Now he's trying to let others know there is help out there."

In the documentary, Bauer states bluntly that skiing saved his life. Gatley says that outdoor activity is important to veterans in the region.

"A lot of veterans move here because of the skiing, because of the mountain biking, mountain climbing," he said. "Getting outside, for them, is therapy. It was a natural part of the story. We didn't have to force it in. Skiing saved his life."

Gatley is happy to have seen the work recognized in the Military Reporting category - but he is quick to put the credit for the accolades on those who lived the stories he tells.

"The Emmy belongs to those stories," he said. "It's not about what I do, it's not about the stories I choose to tell; it's for the veterans... It's not about me, it's about them."

Jarod continues to pursue his passion for wilderness action. He grew up hiking and backpacking; these days he's focused on mountain biking and trail running. When he's going hard on the trail is about the only time you'll catch him in the woods and mountains without a camera in hand.

(Editor's note: Jarod Gatley is editor Jim Cornelius' son-in-law).


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