It's complicated... You see there was a short time in my life where I wanted to be a photojournalist. Landscapes were my first love but the cultures I was experiencing in the places I traveled early on in my career felt so raw & vivid that I wanted to document them too. So I started to photograph people & learn their stories... in a way I felt obligated to do so as a storyteller. But at a certain point it all became a little too real for me & I really struggled with feeling like nothing I could do would really help. One experience that led to this was on my 5th trip to Nicaragua years back when I had the opportunity to spend some time with the kids of La Chureca. (Spanish slang for city dump) For a time La Chureca the largest dump in Central America & was inhabited by thousands of people who survived off the trash for their livelihood... 50% of them children. Many of whom were sold into prostitution & 90% suffered from abuse. There were a lot of factors that led to this extreme poverty & horrendous living condition but corruption & greed played major roles. To really get the full picture ( and details I'm choosing to leave out ) do some research on it. . . For me it was a life changing experience... I had never in my life felt more inadequate to help someone. Taking a few measly pictures felt almost irreverent in a place as damned as this. After I got home I remember breaking down multiple times to tears & having sleepless nights. It was an overwhelming feeling of inability to help that drew me away from this type of work. I did what I could at the time.. but this was long before you could easily spread the message on social media. I felt inadequate to really portray or bring any awareness to the story at hand from my own perspective. Needless to say I moved my lens away from social causes & focused on the places & issues I felt I could lend my voice to. It wasn't that these issues weren't important to me, it's just that it affected me more deeply that I wanted &
Last nights sunset in Nicaragua was the best I've seen all year. Even while watching, it still felt hard to believe it was real. . . Ever wanted to know about my journey as a photographer & the process it took to turn it into a business? I recently sat down with @forbes to discuss the importance of suffering & taking risks for what you love and are passionate about. Check it out in my bio link 🤙🏼
With computer programs & editing apps that can literally change any photograph into a piece of art these days, I think it's refreshing to see people go through so much effort to create something completely "in" camera. I love following someone's journey to make it all come together when the odds are against them. I feel like the risk is key to a photograph's value & worth. That's the school of thought I've always prescribed to... shooting it all in camera... always. And while I love digital art, I have a deep appreciation for the work that goes into bringing a vision to life... much like this one here. . . @volcanopilot @icelandair
It's often the unplanned experience that really leaves a mark on you. I visited the Italian Dolomites years ago planning to shoot its stellar vertical mountains but bad weather sent us looking for something else. I had spent so much time researching alpine hikes & camping that I hadn't made a backup plan. Quick roadside research showed a lake with stellar views and a decent weather window just hours away...so we decided to hide there for a few days. Turned out it was the very last days of the season and soon snowpack would set in, the road would become impassible & the lake would freeze over. Being so close to winter I envisioned freezing conditions, but instead it felt as warm as a California summer. The water however was a chilly glacial temperature right around 35 degrees. We were the only people in the historic hotel on the lakes edge. The owner would tell us stories of how the valley was formed, about the old films that were shot here & stress that we had to try his homemade pasta. I think we impressed him with our ability to brave the cold water.. or maybe he just felt sorry for us. This is a few of my favorite photos. Ps - the first photo is of me.. and yes I survived ;)
Most of what we pour our heart & soul into goes unnoticed. Lost in an endless thumb scroll of beautiful & inspiring images or funny memes. But occasionally you have to just tell people to Stop.. take a second, and stare. Because the effort requires it. . . The story is always the same.. a beautiful landscape that's being threatened. But this time around I realized that after shooting these rivers for years & years the lingering question is always, "what am I looking at?" So I aimed to bring scale to these otherworldly landscapes. We chased down a yellow piper cub from 2,000 ft above... quickly banking left & right to stay in a sort of formation while my jet-lagged stomach felt like it was about to hurl at every G-force turn. My assistant @_ryanhill_ & I occasionally glanced at each other with a slight smirk & head shake knowing that our dream of pulling this off was coming to life. The cameras couldn't keep up with how much we wanted to push the shutter... and after a awhile our fingers would go completely & totally numb. . . To learn more about Europes last great wilderness and how you can protect Iceland's highlands check out www.Halendid.is . Eternal thanks to my good friend @volcanopilot for making this come to life for me. Excited to share the story over time.
Some peoples travel dream consists of a really nice hotel surrounded by people they don't know in a place they have only read about in brochures & magazines. I've been there... and yah the food is great & wifi is strong, but the novelty tends to wear off really fast. Took me a few years of my life to realize there is alternate ways to travel & sometimes the best experiences you will have can be right near your own backyard. . . @gowestycampers @eaglecreek
Music is everything. It was the single hardest part of editing our film & in the end the most expensive part. Mainly because we knew it would either make it or break it and we didn't want to settle. We wanted to create a mood and hopefully capture the audible feeling of the landscape as well as we did visually. For those asking for the "Under An Arctic Sky" soundtrack ... it's now available via a Spotify playlist - in my bio link. . . For those who mentioned how much the music moved them I can't express how much that means to me and the team. We wanted to use artists that had been inspired by the location as much as we were and we hope it comes through. @icelandair
I'll bet that if you've ever traveled California in a VW bus it was a memorable journey... albeit slow & probably extremely frustrating at times. I think at a certain point you embrace it & cant imagine going any faster, as if it's calibrated to move at the perfect speed to soak it all in. After that everything else just feels like rushing.
Cold & extremely wet.. that's the best way to describe it. I can't even count the amount of times I slipped and fell In mud. Moisture would freeze before you could wipe it off. The sound of the water deafening any chance of talking or hearing really anything else... and your eyes are constantly fixed on the sky waiting for any change of color. I love these intimate experiences where all your senses are demanded & seem to be on high alert. This is maybe the most honest portrait of what's it's like to be in the moment shooting. . . @_ryanhill_ @icelandair @geysircarrental
The best way I've found to make an experience like this last is to share it with others. ____ Tonight in Iceland we premiere my film 2 years in the making where it alll began. It's a special night for me. Come join us in ISAFJORDUR - June 18- 6pm REYKJAVIK - June 19 - 7&9pm Tickets and details in my bio link or www.UnderanArcticSky.com/tour
When I looked down at the Ruth Glacier for the first time I was baffled. It's hard to wrap your head around how something with such perfect shape & balance can exist in such a big landscape. ___ Some of my favorite photographers.. (many whom you may follow ) teamed up to create a limited edition set of prints with @artifactuprising where 100% the proceeds go back to protecting the places we love. It's called, "One for Our Land" and its ending Monday. This photo is my contribution. Check it out at @artifactuprising or www.artifactuprising.com for details @1percentftp
The wind finally turned favorable for a little bit of sailing yesterday. Our humble vessel transformed into a full blown pirate ship and we headed straight to my favorite arch. This quick iPhone snap shared with a tiny bit of cell service gives you a peak into what I have been up to this week. Sharing my love for this place with my photography workshop students is one of my favorite ways to spread awareness of these wild places. _____ #iphone @auroraarktika @haukursigurdsson @visitwestfjords
For salt water to freeze it needs to be a water temp of 28.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Conditions like these take dedication.. with ice forming on your wetsuit hood and around your face you know it's cold. The water is really never that bad.. it's the air outside that will get you . -10 with windchill. The tale of this legendary session can be seen in my new film, "Under an Arctic Sky." . Premiering in ICELAND next: ISAFJORDUR /June 18 - 6pm REKYJAVIK / June 19 - 7&9pm Tickets in my bio link or www.UnderanArcticSky.com/tour
Finally stood in place I have dreamt of visiting for years. High above the sea on the cliffs of Hornstrandir nature reserve we could see our tiny ship in the distance. A colony or birds flew overhead and a breeding ground for Arctic foxes at our feet. For a split second the pending storm didn't seem to bother us. Limited cell service makes it kinda special to me to share something as it happened... in the moment.. with all the feelings still raw. @auroraarktika
It’s human nature to feel connected to places or things that we understand on a personal level; in other words, the only way people will care about preserving places on this earth is if they feel physically, emotionally, or spiritually invested. It is only through this process of connection that our personal empowerment is fully realized. I understand that I am unable to lead every single person to feel empowered to make a difference, but I hope that I can help garner people’s connection with the world around us to realize that they are valuable in keeping it alive and healthy.