What makes us passionate about what we do and how do we keep that energy going? It’s a question I’ve been asked ever since starting my photography career nearly 8 years ago. It would be easy to say that it’s never been a problem. “The inspiration just flows through my veins man!” But for most of us, and especially me, that’s not always true. It takes a bit of nurturing, turning the camera towards things that truly inspire you. Sometimes that means turning the camera inward or maybe just setting the camera down for a bit and finding a little adventure in the mountains while the clouds whip by or pausing for reflection in the serenity of an alpine lake. For me, these experiences nurture my creative passion and excitement for what we do and usually involves working on personal projects and spending time in nature with and without a camera.
I’ve always been drawn to places that have a story to tell, whether that be beautiful or tragic, but many times it’s both. My photography and videography projects have taken me all over the world, as I struggled to tell the stories of these places – Thailand, Pine Ridge Reservation, Cambodia, Rio de Janeiro…the list goes on, but for me, the story of the mountains and water is also a deeply personal one, presenting a new set of challenges with each climbing, backpacking, or kayaking trip.
Each adventure is a story of not only myself, but of the people I share these adventures with. I’ve been carrying my DSLR along with me on more and more adventures lately. Most recently, after climbing Mount Stuart via the technical West Ridge, I set my camera up and began taking still photographs and video clips of the beauty that was unfolding before me. Places and scenes like this remind of of why I love what I do.
Last year I began a wonderful partnership with OutdoorProject.com, a Portland based online guidebook of sorts, and TRAK Kayaks, a Canadian company that makes perhaps the only professional quality collapsible kayak on the market. The job was to photograph (and go on) 25 sea kayaking trips in the following 2 months. My initial thoughts were, “Great! This will be awesome! I get paid to create visual content and also kayak!” This was followed up by “It’s September in Seattle. The nice fall weather could quickly turn into winter pretty much any day.” Of course I said, “I’ll do it!”
At this point my kayaking experience had been limited to whitewater adventures so I had a lot to learn about currents, navigation, solo travel (turns out it is difficult to find people who can take off for a multi-day trip mid week), and fog. Long story short, it was an incredible experience to get paid creating a visual story about my experiences exploring the islands and inlets of the Puget Sound and I wanted to do more of it.
In the following months I began working directly with TRAK Kayaks to establish a relationship in the hopes of creating video content for their site as well as work with them as an ambassador for the Pacific Northwest. The video components are still in the works so I can’t say much more, but in an effort to keep that passion for storytelling and the outdoors alive I’ll be continuing to paddle with my camera and build relationships with people who want to get out on the waterways of this beautiful place I call home.