What turns you on creatively?
Being part of the adventure, not just documenting from the sidelines. I’m in my comfort zone when I’m one of the team members on an expedition, exposed to the elements and the risk, my heart pounding at 140 beats per minute, and sweat running down my head and into my eyes.
What turns you off creatively?
When I’m just another photographer at an event or a game trying to make different pictures.
What’s your dream photo assignment?
I get to do my dream photo assignment on a monthly and sometimes even weekly basis. It’s working with great people, interesting subjects, concepts or stories and being in a wonderful place on the planet—and paying well (but that’s negotiable if the above criteria are met).
If you could have dinner with an artist from any era, who would it be?
Willie Nelson. I’m not even a Country and Western music fan. He has been writing and performing for over 40 years, and it’s clear the guy absolutely loves every minute of it. When he was between songs at a small county fair in Lancaster, Calif., someone from the crowd yelled out, “When are you going to retire?” Nelson chuckled and responded, “Retire? Retire from what?” I feel the same way. I would like to be in the camp until the day I die.
What’s your favorite photograph not taken by you?
I don’t have a favorite image, but my favorite photographer is Tom Frost. He’s the unsung hero of adventure photography and one of the most naturally gifted photographers that I’ve ever met.
What profession other than photographer would you like to attempt?
Teaching. I owe much to some of the great teachers who opened my eyes to the world of photography and the outdoors.
What’s your favorite camera feature?
The D-Movie mode built into the Nikon D300S allows a visual storyteller (we’re no longer just photographers!) to shoot still photographs and HD video using the same camera. This mode has opened a whole new world for me. I’m finding that my time is now split between shooting stills and video. I was an early adopter of the Nikon D90 and its D-Movie mode, and now I’ve fallen in love with the D300S. I love the fact that it can shoot such fast still sequences; this is important when shooting the action images that I shoot so often—running, skiing, base-jumping, etc.
What’s your favorite Nikon product, and how does it help you create better pictures or help you compete as a professional photographer?
I haven’t had it for a long time, but already the D300S has become a top performer for me. It’s a professional, durable camera with a layout that’s almost identical to my D700. The AF system is fast and spot-on accurate, and having the D-Movie mode built in gives me a singe tool that can handle any multifaceted job.