How do you keep the fire burning?
The drive to make something new and different. I've been a professional photographer for more than 20 years, and it's easy to get burned out and start shooting what's comfortable. You need to constantly remind yourself to try new things and get outside of your comfort zone. Personal projects are integral to artistic growth. I'd recommend everyone invest in themselves and shoot things just for your portfolio - not for a client. Something that you develop and work through a creative process. Collaborating with athletes is always a great way to accomplish a new vision
Are you planning on entering this year’s Image Quest?
Of course, it's the most impressive and competitive action photo contest in the world! If you win it, it will either put you on the map or give your career a huge boost. And, if you don't, it's still amazing to see what incredible images have been created.
Any tips for aspiring photographers who also want to submit this year?
Don't copy images like you've seen in other contests. Instead, look for moments and things that are special and don't commonly happen - epic weather, location, action. The judges are looking for authentic moments in unique places and unorthodox angles. Don't be afraid to try something totally outside the box - these are the kind of images they are looking for. Also, get your images organized early, so you have time to really go through your submission. Fast drives like the SanDisk Professional G-DRIVE SSD are blazing fast and will streamline your editing process.
What equipment do you trust in when shooting?
I've always trusted SanDisk cards to capture and safeguard my shoots. I use SanDisk Professional (formerly G-Technology), G-DRIVE & G-RAID SSD's and computers to back up everything in the field and post-process back in the studio. I love Profoto strobes for shooting action/portraits and Light & Motion Stella LED lights when shooting motion/video. I use Really Right Stuff tripods and Kessler Crane for motion control devices.
What features are particularly important for your equipment?
I shoot worldwide, in jungles, hanging out of helicopters, in the ocean, and in extreme temperatures and humidity. I need gear that I can take to extremes and trust that it will work flawlessly, and I'll walk away with the shot. The photography world is getting ever-increasingly competitive, and there are no second chances. Whether it's a world record kayak drop like the one I shot with Red Bull athlete Rafa Ortiz years ago or the best big wave surf day at JAWS in the last hundred years, you have to trust your gear. I even go so far as backing up to two SanDisk Professional G-DRIVE SSD's and giving one to someone on the shoot to hold on to if my gear gets lost or stolen.
What are some stand out moments from your career?
That's a hard one to answer. I've shot some of the largest waves ever surfed on the planet, the Tour De France, Olympics, Kentucky Derby, and been to the farthest reaches of India; skied from the tops of 14,000-foot peaks in the US and South America, and bushwhacked in some of the deepest, darkest jungles in Central America & Mexico.
How would you describe your style of photography?
I'd say my photography style is driven by adventure and telling the story of the day in a single moment. I'm addicted to color and wild places and things that have never been done before. Other people have called it ‘Little Person, Big Landscape’.
What makes your images unique?
I feel like I'm technically proficient in making images in about every situation you can think of, and I think it shows in my photos. Photography is like real estate in the sense that it's all about location, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get to the perfect spot or angle to capture the moment.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I find inspiration everywhere. I love looking at old photography books and seeing what's been done before when cameras were simple, and things moved slower. I love art and studying how light is painted and how the masters used color.
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