Julie Fletcher Photography: Milky Way

All photos courtesy of Julie Fletcher

Ever dream of packing a bag and leaving everything behind to live closer to nature? Here's one inspiring photographer who did just that.

After escaping a destructive relationship and quitting her office job in Sydney, nature photographer Julie Fletcher hit the road to experience all that the Australian wilderness has to offer.

"I was very unhappy until one day I made the life-changing decision to leave," Fletcher tells MNN. "I set a date, got everything in order, packed my car with the essentials and drove away with $3,000 in my bank account. It was the best thing I ever did."

That was more than 12 years ago, and she hasn't looked back since. The abrupt career change led her to take jobs at tourist resorts and remote cattle stations, which gave her the opportunity to explore and photograph the surrounding scenery on her days off.

"I was on a journey," Fletcher reminisces. "A journey of photography, but more than that, I was rediscovering 'me' again."

Julie Fletcher Photography: Green water, lightning

Fletcher now spends her days traveling, camping, and hiking for miles just to the find the perfect shooting locations. Armed with her trusty Nikon gear and a dedication to the outdoors, she's managed to make a living out of her passion.

One of Fletcher's most favorite photographs, seen above, was captured at Menindee Lake in New South Wales. The photo, titled "Graveyard," won several awards and was even a finalist in National Geographic's 2013 Nature Awards. To this day, she still can't believe she witnessed such a surreal moment.

"I don't just photograph an area, I connect to it," Fletcher explains. "My tenacity leads me back to the same location many times to achieve the right light for the right image, time and time again."

Julie Fletcher Photography: Mount Ohllsen

When she's not trekking around the country, Fletcher lives with her partner in the small, remote town of Marree, South Australia. She's recently begun hosting workshops focusing on outback photography, as well as collaborating with other professional photographers for group photo tours.

Continue below for more of this talented artist's work, and be sure to visit her Facebook and website to purchase prints or sign up for a photo workshop.

Julie Fletcher Photography: Wallaby

Julie Fletcher Photography: Weird rock formations

Julie Fletcher Photography: Tall tree silhouette

Julie Fletcher Photography: Trees against a mountain backdrop

Julie Fletcher Photography: Desolate branch

Julie Fletcher Photography: Starry night

Julie Fletcher Photography: Rocky reflections

Julie Fletcher Photography: Misty trees

Julie Fletcher Photography: People under the Milky Way

Julie Fletcher Photography: Razorback high pass

Julie Fletcher Photography: Storm and jeep

Julie Fletcher Photography: Sunken trees

Julie Fletcher Photography: Low clouds

Julie Fletcher Photography: Sand dunes

* * *

Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Related content on MNN:

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.

Photographer gives up everything to document the most remote areas of Australia
Ever dream of packing a bag and leaving everything behind to live closer to nature?