Hiking challenge helps local photographer lose weight, capture joy of nature

Faith Ritchie’s work on display at Brukner Nature Center in Troy.

In 2021, Faith Ritchie decided to take a 52-week hiking challenge to help her lose weight and get outside more.

The end result was quite impressive: The petite licensed massage therapist lost 55 pounds and discovered a new creative outlet as well.

“Each week on my hikes, I would take pictures and share on social media,” said the Vandalia resident. “After a lot of encouragement from others, I purchased my first Sony camera and have just continued to grow since then. Mushrooms are one of the more interesting things to photograph in the woods, but I really enjoying taking pictures of bugs and flowers too.”

“My photography is primarily nature but I enjoy shooting a variety of subjects, including people,” added the 40-year-old. “I am mainly a self-taught photographer but have had some tutoring sessions with fellow photographers in the area.”

Her exhibit “Ohio’s Forest Floor” is on display at Brukner Nature Center in Troy through June 16. Ritchie’s photography is available for purchase and 25 percent of each sale is donated to support BNC’s mission of wildlife conservation.

“My photography is inspired by my appreciation for the little things. I love to look closely and take in every detail,” Ritchie explained. “To me, nature just has this magical and mysterious way it quietly operates. I use my photography to share that magic with others.”

Ritchie’s massage business is located inside Sukha Inspired Yoga, a new space in Englewood. She primarily operates her photography business through her social media accounts at “Thankfully Faith.”

Ritchie, who studied at the Dayton School of Medical Massage in Kettering, specializes in therapeutic massage. “The goal of my practice is to help my clients reconnect with their bodies, get pain relief and have better mobility,” she said. Her services and schedule can be seen at massagebook.com/therapists/thankfully-faith-massage.

Currently, she is collaborating with the yoga studio and musician Katie Dillman for “Faith’s Four Season Celebration,” which she hosts “for women to help explore themselves through gathering, sharing, meditation and connecting with their bodies through music and dance.” The next event is Saturday, June 22, and tickets will be available through sukhainspiredyoga.com.

The Dayton area has undoubtedly given Ritchie much inspiration for all things entrepreneurial, and she graciously shares that thoughtful enthusiasm with others.

“I am a Dayton native, born and raised here. I have always appreciated the park and river systems! If you live in the Dayton area, chances are you could be on a hiking trail in less then 15 minutes,” she said.

“I also really appreciate the art and music scene! So many talented people are here in the Dayton area. ... Recently I’ve become more interested in the history of this area, modern and ancient. From the mounds to the canal locks — Dayton is just interesting.”

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