We all love a good climbing photo. It transports us to a faraway land or captures a memory to look back on. It’s powerful stuff—it turns a mindless instagram sesh into an inspirational experience in an instant. All made possible by the people behind the lens. Their art helps us see more of the world than we could ever cover, stand in other’s [climbing] shoes and blurs the lines between cultures, geographies and people.
I connected with Krystle Wright, an adventure photographer and Canon Master from Australia. Her mission is to “challenge herself and others mentally and physically to bring attention to the demanding adventures and landscapes that the public is rarely fortunate enough to be exposed to.”
Photographers go to great lengths and risks to get that elusive shot. It takes tremendous athleticism and strength. They are climbers in their own right. Krystle describes the physicality and rope skills that are required—“usually involves jugging up and many times having the climber I am shooting set up my rope as their warm-up.”
Krystle explains, “The challenge is finding the right angle to suit a certain route which can mean me being on route with the climber or somewhere else entirely that offers a great vantage point.” She goes to get lengths to avoid the typical butt shot seen so often in climbing.
Travelling, hanging out with pro climbers and climbing yourself—sounds like a dream job to me. But it’s not without its hardships and struggles. In 2011, Krystle took the risk leaving her regular routine with a steady paycheck to become a full time freelance adventure photographer. “It was a big risk to pack everything up and make the full transition… I took off overseas and threw myself into the unknown which was scary, but at the same time, I remember feeling a new burst of energy of feeling really alive because I didn’t know what was coming next.”
As an outdoor adventurer herself she needs to balance her successful career with the passion that drove her in the first place. “It’s easy to become wrapped up in work that I lose time for myself to get outside and play.” Turning your passions into your work is a dream for many, but Krystal’s advice is to find the balance between staying on top of your business and getting outside to fuel your inspiration
Even with all that nitty-gritty, she is still passionately pursing this dream. Why? “I love the ability to try and translate the feeling and atmosphere into a single moment. It’s really a wonderful feeling when an athlete tells me that I was able to capture how they were feeling as there’s more depth to the image.”
There’s something compelling about capturing your adventures. Whether to share with family and friends, look back on with nostalgia or maybe get some bragging rights (no, I know, not you). Krystle graciously gave us some pointers on how to up our own photography skills…even on our iPhone.
- Try to avoid standing directly underneath the climber as it rarely ever works. Instead think outside the square and search the terrain for a good vantage point. Hike to a spot that is safe and doesn’t require any special skills to get a great shot.
- Keep it simple and as the saying goes, less it more!
- Show depth in your photos, don’t only focus on the background.
The next time you’re scrolling take a moment to appreciate the people that make that photo possible. Without them, it would be difficult for adventure-craving folks like you and me to get our fix from the office, couch, you name it.
Thanks Krystle for the words of wisdom and photos. There’s too many to choose from, so go ahead and follow her on instagram already @krystlejwright.