Behind the Lens: Krystle Wright
Aussie photographer pulls off a balancing act to capture this striking portrait of a paddler in action
Krystle Wright paddles the Onon River’s lower section. This was the final day on the Onon River before her team took out just 20km from the Russian border. Their next step was to rejoin the river in Russia, as it became the Amur River.
Canon EOS-1D X with a Canon 24mm f/1.4 II
1/125 sec at f/8 – ISO 100
This is a self-portrait, right? How did you set up your camera to make this image? Was it difficult to pull off?
Yes it’s a self-portrait. I was basically using myself as a guinea pig trying to figure out some new angles to try with the other girls. Funny though, I never got around to trying this same angle on them. It was a little nerve wracking setting this shot up as it was a complete balancing act. In front of me, I had a Watershed dry bag tied down to the kayak and I balanced my Canon 1Dx inside. It was tricky to set up as the day before when I had tried it; the focus wasn’t in the correct place. Thankfully this day I was able to get the right focus and I knew the 24mm would be wide enough. Between every few strokes I would lean forward and press the shutter that I had set on a short self-timer. With no water housing for that camera, I kept thinking that if I tipped the kayak, there goes $10000 …
What kinds of things do you do to keep the creativity fresh while in the field?
A lot of the time the location really inspires me to be creative. Especially when I get remote, I feel like I can focus on photography/adventure and forget about everything else that tends to bog us down each day (bills, emails, etc.) Plus I love the challenge of trying to capture something unique, and I feel like my mind continually ticks over on new ideas to try. If I play it too safe, then I tend to be disappointed with myself and just know I need to push myself and take chances. There’s nothing worse then wondering ‘what if?’
What are some of the biggest challenges you face while shooting longer expeditions such as this?
No doubt there are always challenges such as team dynamics, logistics, safety, keeping the gear protected, etc. Though perhaps one of the biggest creative challenges I faced was the routine aspect of it. Most days were the same routine … Wake up, boil water, breakfast, and break down camp, kayak, lunch, kayak, setup camp, dinner, and sleep. When you’re doing the same thing almost every day, it’s hard to keep the creative juices flowing. You need a lot of patience as it only takes a split moment in those two months to capture the fleeting unique moments.
What’s next on your list of photographic adventures?
The next expedition I have lined up will be documenting Sheldon Kerr and Lindsay Mann for an all female ski expedition to Alaska. We have some big plans lined up to showcase that ladies still know how to throw down big lines. I hope to return to Asia for a paragliding bivouac expedition though the logistics are still in the work. Finally I also have an Alpine Highlining expedition in the Sierras later this year.
—Krystle Wright is an Australian based adventure photographer. visit www.wrightfoto.com.au to see more of her work.