How did you get into photography?
I have been a professional photographer for over 25 years now. I got hooked on photography in my freshman year in college and fell in love with the process of developing and printing my black and white film. This went alongside with my passion for the mountains, skiing, climbing, mountain biking and naturally these passions merged together.
What motivates you to keep creating?
My number one motivation to keep creating is getting outdoors into the mountains and firsthand experiencing the beauty of Mother Nature. Then of course combining some type of sport or activity in this beautiful environment.
Are you planning to submit to the Image Quest 2021?
Of course! I am always hoping to get an image displayed in one of those magical cubes!
Could you tell us why other photographers should enter Red Bull Illume? Was entering a good move for you?
It’s an amazing opportunity for any adventure photographer with the chance that your image might make it to the final round. It’s the ultimate showcase to have your image displayed and exhibited around the world.
How did you decide on what image(s) to submit in the end?
As far as images to submit I try to find one that are unique and hopefully have some ethereal mood to them. For me, this is generally something where the forces of nature and human activity merge together.
Any tips for aspiring photographers who also want to submit this year?
Red Bull Illume has so many amazing images submitted, I think your best odds is to have something pretty unique.
What equipment do you trust in when shooting?
Honestly, the top camera manufactures all make amazing equipment, but the one constant that I always use are SanDisk memory cards and an F-Stop pack.
What features are particularly important for your equipment?
I try to keep things simple, less is more especially when it comes to adventure sports. Lens hoods and lens caps usually stay in my closet and I try to stay away from miscellaneous gadgets. When it comes to camera equipment for me it is important to buy the flagship cameras and lenses as they have the best weather sealing which is important for the environments I shoot in.
What are some stand out memories or moments from your career?
Certainly, some of the most unique images I have captured have been with Will Gadd particularly where we have descended into glaciers, moulins, and mine shafts to capture ice climbing. Also, some of my ski mountaineering adventures with Chris Davenport are particularly memorable.
How would you describe your style of photography?
I think I have a hard time describing my style of photography as I feel it changes and evolves. But I guess I have a certain style as I often have people tell me when they see a picture they know I took it before they see the photo credit. I guess the one constant is a small person in a unique environment which gives the viewer something to contemplate when looking at an image.
What makes your images unique?
I think a big part of it is the unique environments I have been fortunate to photograph. Not many people have descended two hundred feet into a glacier to capture photos so these types of images will resonate with people.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I find a lot of inspiration by following my peers on Instagram, but the biggest inspiration for me is Mother Nature and the spectacular beauty the outdoors has to offer.
Check out more of Christian's work on his website and Instagram @christianpondella.