Climber Photographer Explains on Instagram How to Photograph The Extreme Outdoors

For photographers who can survive the extreme outdoors, Earth’s rugged landscape offers ample opportunities to capture jaw-dropping, heart-racing shots. But how do photographers succeed in shooting snowy mountain cliffs, deep ravines, and raging rivers and waterfalls? Professional climber, photographer and cinematographer Jimmy Chin explains to Instagram users how he does it.

Based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Chin was a serious climber and skier before he became a photographer, and it was through these sports that he grew interested in capturing images of his fellow athletes and the beauty of his natural playground. With his newfound passion for photographing the extreme outdoors, he quickly landed gigs with such companies and periodicals as GoPro, The North Face, and National Geographic.

I find I get a lot of my inspiration from the core community of athletes I spend time with, and I have been able to make a career shooting amazing athletes doing amazing things in amazing landscapes.

On Instagram, Chin shares inspiration, stories, and photos he captures on assignment with his followers.

At the heart of my work, I am always looking to share stories about the human spirit or the never ending instinct to push human potential and progression.

Chin uses several cameras for his work including a Canon SD and a GoPro, but also surprisingly an iPhone 5s camera. Only by staying active and getting dirty can he achieve the vantage points and angels you see in his work. But that’s not Chin’s only strategy: Chin also uses his human subjects to convey the scale of the landscape.

I try to shoot anything but your medium frame at eye level, because that’s the perspective from which people normally see the world—and why show them what they already see?

Chin’s final advice concerns photo editing and how to choose what mood to evoke in an image. To Chin, editing is a significant part of the creative process, so he uses Snapseed or VSCO Cam, both available for iOS and Android. In addition to those apps, he uses Instagram’s editing tools to subtly adjust a photo’s sharpness, contrast, saturation and vignette.

Are you ready to go out and shoot your first extreme outdoors photograph?

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