Dramatic Outdoor Adventure Photography
Hiking, skiing, SUP-boarding, canoeing – the art of the adventure takes us into the great outdoors, away from home and even civilisation, often for long periods of time. As such, outdoor adventure photography is defined as much by stunning landscapes and seascapes as the dramatic feats in which the subject is participating. Capturing a great adventure photo requires patience and endurance. You have to slow down your thinking as everything around you – the light, the weather, the movements of your subject – changes so quickly. You must be prepared, adaptable in the field, and wholly tuned into all events as they happen. Ultimately, the art of the endeavour is to capture the emotion of your subject in the moment – be it struggle, pain, excitement, surprise or delight. The reward is a powerful image that reveals mid-action the story of a real-life adventure unfolding.
The Landscape in Action
While photographing action is of course a hugely important part of outdoor adventure photography, it is the background and surrounding scenery that creates a sense of place, scale, and ultimately tells the bigger story. When composing an adventure photo, I often make time to recce the location in advance, consider different viewpoints and make as many preparations as possible so I can remain in control and ready for the action. When the time comes, I line up the background first and wait for the subject to ski, surf, sail, hike or run into frame. The result creates interest, depth and energy from the foreground to the background and reveals the adventurer’s relationship to his or her surroundings – their smallness and isolation within grand, wide-open, unforgiving terrains, and the human strength and passion required to conquer them.