In addition to shooting with top athletes, I also love getting out in the mountains and challenging myself physically. One of my outdoor clients is Mountain Network, a Dutch chain of climbing gyms that offers a very wide range of guided mountaineering adventures. I’ve covered several trips for Mountain Network, including climbs in the French and Italian Alps, and in Iran.
Part of what I like about these alpine adventures is working towards being ready for them. As soon as I know I’ll be going into the mountains in a few months, I draft a training plan. When going on a challenging climb, you need to be just as fit as the people you’re joining, and preferably a bit more.
Carrying a camera means hauling extra weight, when every 100g extra weighs heavily on your shoulders. Being fit also helps me get ahead of the group for a better angle, and then catching back up to them repeatedly.
Expert skills this project called for:
working in harsh environments, physical fitness, shooting alpinism and travel, capturing action and lifestyle, shooting landscapes
My training is a mix of bouldering, core and leg strength training and a healthy dose of cardio, mostly cycling or hiking with a heavy backpack. Having a bit of climbing experience also helps me be methodical and stay safe when a climb gets a bit scary or exposed.
What makes me good at what I do when shooting travel and outdoors is that I’m able to adapt. I’m comfortable with any form of travel and sleeping arrangement. In fact I’d rather sleep in a tent in the middle of nowhere than in another hotel. I speak a few languages and always try to pick up a few lines when I go to a new country, like learning a few words of Farsi when visiting Iran to climb Damavand.
When I’m shooting a climbing adventure I always try to do a little more than just shoot the people while they’re climbing. Clients like to have a mix of action and lifestyle images, but I also shoot some portraits and landscapes. These can really come in handy for the travel agency to showcase the magnificent environments. The portraits are a great memory for travelers willing to indulge me for 10 days.