Behind the Lens: Erik Boomer

Adventurer/photographer braves extreme conditions to create a bold portrait series

Adventurer/photographer Erik Boomer braves extreme conditions in Chile to create a bold portrait series of the Whitewater Grand Prix athletes and female kayakers.

Erik Boomer

End product, front page of Evan Garcia. Photo: Erik Boomer

Behind the Lens: Erik Boomer

Erik Boomer made this portrait of kayaker Evan Garcia on location during the 2012 Whitewater Grand Prix in Chile. Shot at night in a driving rain, with more than a dozen subjects, the shoot seemed to mirror the Grand Prix itself—a happy confluence of talent, innovation and luck, spiced with danger. To view the rest of Boomer’s ‘Faces of Whitewater’ portrait series, check out the C&K July issue, on newsstands now.

The Shot:
Canon 5D MKIII with a Canon ESM 24-105mm f/4L
1/125 sec at f/14 – ISO 400
3 Einstein 640 watt flashes with a battery pack

What was your approach to making this portrait series a reality?
For paddlers it was the first shoot of this type. With this stripped down approach you can really see everyone’s individual attitudes; their personalities come though. I like to have as much trust and the subject to be involved in the procedure as possible. It helps to describe your thoughts and bring the subjects on board with the creative process. I told the guys I wanna do some more shots, and I want them to have their shirts off. To ask your subjects to do that, well, it’s a bit different. It was a step out of my comfort zone, but that’s something I liked about it. Eventually they all came around to it.

What were some of the challenges you faced?
The weather was just terrible, with torrential downpours all over southern Patagonia for almost two weeks straight. I found this old barn on the banks of the Rio Futaleufu where we were staying. It had open sides so the wind was blowing through, and it was raining so hard that there was a stream of muddy water running through the barn. Even with the shin deep mud and complete darkness I knew this was my window. I simply didn’t have any other time to do it.

Some of other photographers were really helpful in helping with lights and using headlamps to help me focus. We even had Evan’s girlfriend fix some hair. It was a real social atmosphere. Katrina, Nouria and the whole girl crew were cheering each other on. My approach is always to keep everything positive, to not say anything negative—even if the shot was missed, or something technical like a light didn’t go off, just say lets take some more and give everyone their due 15 minutes.

What did you do to keep the portraits consistent in this kind of shooting environment?
The main key light was a beauty dish. I made two strip boxes out of bed sheets, duct tape and cardboard and elevated my battery packs to keep them out of the water. Later I got an email from the manufacturer saying not even to use them in humid conditions—battery fires are known to happen if they get damp. I guess we lucked out on that one.

Erik Boomer

The women of whitewater at the Whitewater Grand Prix. Photo: Erik Boomer

Erik Boomer is currently launching his latest expedition, using traditional kayaks to cross Baffin Island. GO HERE to read more about this journey.

CLICK HERE to view more of Erik’s photography.

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  • Loganpopp

    These women are gorgeous . Stupid people making sexists comments or just rude ones most likely have tiny gentiles and hate them self for some reason thus for feeling the need to judge others . Shame shame guys its called being an adult doesn’t seem very adult to me .

    • lunchwasready30minutesago

      ‘most likely have tiny gentiles’ what??? tiny non-jewish people?

    • logician

      “stupid people making sexist comments ….” and “feeling the need to judge others”… you mean like you did when you called them gorgeous? Is it only ok to judge someone when you’re going to compliment them?

      • Brian P. Martin

        Yeah…logician…it’s okay to say “These women are gorgeous” without it being sexist. Above and beyond the FACT that they’re GORGEOUS….I’m saying they’re SEXY AS HELL because I know what they’ve contributed to the Sport — by pushing the boundaries — by exploring beyond conventional tradition !!! I am Facebook friends with them — I follow them — I share in their same interests, and….I’m a member of THEIR Group: “TiTS DEEP,” is that sexist on their part? These Women are World Renowned Athletes from all corners of the World, and have contributed to the Sport of Kayaking for BOTH F/ing genders !!! They run a 50 foot Waterfall like it’s a stroll in the Park….I’ve been running Whitewater for 45 years and I’m barely a Class -V Boatman. These Athletes are pushing into Class -VI which means “UN-(F/ing)-RUNNABLE !!!” ….discuss….

    • NakedTruth

      Loganpopp, You just said that he has tiny non-Jewish people LOL. Did you mean genitals and if you did mean genitals then what is the difference between saying someone has small breasts or someone has small genitals when used in a derogatory statement? Each one implies having tiny breasts or tiny genitals is a bad thing. Your just as guilty as he is.

    • Loganpopp

      Ok ok first off will admit to my misspell it happens I by chance love and respect the Jewish people very much so fuck you for that one . And I didn’t mean for it to be a derogatory statement just statistically indivuals who make a comment about women have small breast or a certain body type and go about it a negative manner may possibly feel bad because there “manhood” is less then they would like it to be . We all struggle with inner self confidence in certain areas because we don’t match up to what we would like to be or look like if you deny that you are lying to yourself because it is part of the conditioning of the human brain these days due to media and so on.
      And when I said these women are gorgeous it wasn’t judgmental or atleast I didn’t mean it to be it was suppose to be a compliment what makes a woman gorgeous is who she is on the inside and you can tell these are gorgeous women inside and out.


        What you say is a good rationalization, though that level of banter on a professional publication is a concern… just coming from studies of societal trends geared towards crafting our subculture. “Decency Police!” Why not look at legitamate reasoning, because I have had this problem, constantly, dealing with “macho-men raft guides” and “outdoors avid CMC students” that coming from an upbringing in Salida and a mother with 20+ years at the college, I seen retarded & stunted by… why, because I have vulnerabilities, am easy pray?
        Beyond shot down connections ravaging opportunities with ruined references, I was raised doing most of these things, have a stack of core skills and progress, accomplishments, and ambtion that is simply what ought to be way more advanced… stifled by corruption…except the sabotage that has so discriminated and demeaned abilities!!! I can’t vent enough when the degradation of what you mention, when brought upon talented women thus degraded by sexism by people that really simply shouldn’t be a problem, and really, I’m not kidding when I say I am so much better than this… oh the sexist social construct of degradation and opperessed talents…

  • janet

    Ask them how they seal up a hole at the bottom of the kayak.

  • brian

    I wanna see the kayaks.

    • Brian P. Martin

      Is it that you don’t believe they are kayakers, brian?

  • sp10869

    I think most of them are hot. they look like they have some nice bodies

    • Brian P. Martin

      If you don’t know these “Athletes” and don’t follow what they’ve contributed for both genders in the World of Kayaking — don’t say they’re “hot” or “they look like they have some nice bodies.” THAT IS SEXIST, sp10869. They happen to be standing in shin deep mud during a rain storm on the banks of the Rio Futaleufú !!!

      • gufukyrslf

        pretty sure all these comments are directed at Evan.

      • Spixii

        Your responses are somewhat irritating. What? We can’t call them hot? Your definition of sexist is skewed. A sexist remark would be me telling them that they don’t belong in the sport, and that they should get back in the kitchen. They are very attractive women, and they do have great bodies. There is nothing wrong with commenting on the obvious.

        And what does being aware of their contributions to the sport have to do with commenting on their attractiveness? Does knowing them as athletes make you any more qualified to comment on that? They are sexy. Get over it.

        • Brian P. Martin

          Spixii —

          First — I didn’t reply to your first post, because I didn’t have a problem with it…but since you don’t understand my reply’s to the other folks, I’ll back-up and begin by saying the Rio Futaleufú is NOT refered to as the “Futa” it’s simply nicknamed the “Fu.” ….But, that’s okay…you can call it the “Fuka” for all I care. Sorry you missed out on the WWGP, I wasn’t there either…we both lose.

          Second — I don’t care weather you find me iritating or not! ….And, you are correct there is nothing wrong with commenting on the obvious…you’re just being a SHALLOW man…reacting to a Photograph designed to make guys drool. Erik Boomer is a great photographer and he even titled it: “boomer_girls_mantle-1″
          These Athletes know Erik Boomer, and probably find it complmentary because they know him and respect him, as he does them….Viewing a photograph in “Canoe & Kayak” as a casual reader and viewer of articles and photos is fine. I have a problem with Comments that speak only about their “looks” and suggest that “it doesn’t look like they need to wear tops,” and that “it looks like lesbian row from the late late night show.” This is what has been stated above and I feel it is extremely sexist…I’m only sending out a warning to these people that these Athletes probably won’t have anything to do with you if you react only to their LOOKS.

          As I said to “logician,”: “it’s okay to say “These women are gorgeous” without it being sexist.” ….But that’s as far as a stranger should go…unless you know them — are friends — or have communicated with them by first recognizing that they belong to an ELITE GROUP in their profession and that they are AMAZING ATHLETES first and foremost.

          Third — Yes, it would be sexist of you to: “tell them that they don’t belong in the sport, and that they should get back in the kitchen.” Congratulations Spixii, THAT’S GENDER STEREOTYPING!!!

          Fourth — Spixii, you should get over being a P I G !!!

          • Spixii

            Haha, you’re an idiot. Considering that I was taught by paddlers such as Phil Boyer and Diego Valsecchi (who I might mention makes the “Futa” his home), and have spent quite a bit of time at the Bio Bio camp on the river, I am well aware that many paddlers nickname it the “Futa”. You don’t know what you are talking about.

            And I am aware of what these women have contributed to the sport. They are some of the best paddlers in the world, especially when they are so accomplished in a sport that is dominated by men. I respect them, and they inspire me to a huge degree. However, that does NOT make me any more qualified to say that they are attractive than any other person who views these photos. Physical attractiveness has nothing to do with how skilled they are at kayaking (although according to you, since I HAVE acknowledged them as premier athletes, I should be able to say what I want about them). As you yourself said, these photos were taken to elicit reactions like that. As such, you should expect it. Getting butt-hurt over it implies immaturity on your part.

            Now I will admit that certain comments on here were distasteful, but sp10869 saying “I think most of them are hot. They look like they have some nice bodies,” is not sexist. And that is what annoyed me about your comments. You have completely skewed the definition of sexist. My “gender stereotyping” comment was to make a point. It was to show you what real sexism is. But I don’t believe that, and I certainly don’t appreciate you calling me a pig. They posed for the photo, and it was posted willingly on a public site. Hell, they would probably be insulted if they didn’t get some comments on how hot they are.

            On top of that, making comments such as “What The F*** are you trying to say….First you say, “i think they need no top” and then in the same unstructured sentence you say, “they are ok like this” — what are you bumping your gums about, johnbulus???” is also immature. The person who commented was talking about them not having shirts on. Learn to interpret better. On top of that, did you see me use a single curse word in any of my comments? Of course not, because I am a mature adult. Are you?

            And why do you feel the need to respond to every comment that rankles your pride? Are you the comment police? That is what moderators/administrators are for, of which you are not one.

            Best regards,

          • Guest

            CLICK ON THIS LINK AND READ THE HISTORY OF : “Spixii.” spam the man

          • Guest

            What I post on sites other than this one do not concern you. Once again, you are an idiot. What? Can’t make a proper response? You are a pathetic person.

          • http://www.bird.bird/ Spixii

            What I post on sites other than this one do not concern you.

          • Brian P. Martin

            Hey Guest ~ “Spixii” changed his name to: Hime 姫


        Great recogition of their talent and the level they have taken the sport to! I still have my concerns about corruption when it comes to open access and involvement as an oppressed woman lacking support and opportunity to be active kayaking… coming from all I have going for me? Something has to change!

        • Brian P. Martin

          If you need assistance to see if you can qualify for $ponsorship…contact me at:

  • johnbulus

    i think they need no top, they are ok like this.

    • Brian P. Martin

      What The F*** are you trying to say….First you say, “i think they need no top” and then in the same unstructured sentence you say, “they are ok like this” — what are you bumping your gums about, johnbulus???

  • Good Lookin’

    I don’t think a compliment is the same thing as a negative slur! These women have gorgeous faces and bodies. I bet they worked very hard for those bodies, too.

    • Brian P. Martin

      Hey — Good Lookin’ re-read Martina Naplawa’s Reply: “i dnt think they worked hard to get “their bodies” they worked hard at “their sport” and as a result they look like that” — DOH !!!

      • Guest

        Yeah, I agree, women appreciate being appreciated though. Sexuality is at the basis of human nature. Being talented and attractive is nice. Empowerment for both to thrive is the best.

        • Brian P. Martin

          Hey Guest ~ if you’re a Women Athlete…I commend you.


      Let’s just look at it as hats off with respect for the ladies.

      • Brian P. Martin

        Hats off to you too, mountainlove270.

  • Good Lookin’

    I don’t think a compliment is the same thing as a negative slur. All these women have beautiful faces and bodies. I’ll bet they worked hard for those bodies, too.

    • Martina Naplawa

      i dnt think they worked hard to get “their bodies” they worked hard at “their sport” and as a result they look like that


        It’s probably both… to take on an intellectual perspective of women’s roles, I have taken 3 women’s studies courses… one Women of European history. The feminisation of lady-like talent is convoluted and quite a story I am eager to become a relevant expert of.

  • watchtheduck

    And I think you’re all a bunch of perverts. If a woman can’t even engage in a sport without men leering and commenting over their bodies and giving the thumbs up or the thumbs down about breast size, that’s jut disgusting.


      This was, properly, a “sexy shoot”, and it’s true, there’s some moderation needed when it comes to tolerance and composure surrounding sexiness. Brazil has practically no harassment issues because people always dress sexy. New Orleans, it’s just like you say, every step forward on the street women are harassed, usually by men who want them, their number, a sexy caress, or sabotage them. From a Women of Color course… Yes, women can appreciate that their femininity is respected, granted human nature is to appreciate physique, though thank heavens for establishing the greater depth of admiration at the core of women’s upheld talent and intelligence! I agree there is more to be done to sculpt the exceptional character of our sexy, magical, mysterious, enchanting sport… waterfalls deep in the forest, appreciated sexuality and holistic perspectives of the talented, athletic people involved.

  • Brian P. Martin

    What The F*** does, “^^^ good call” even mean, a lika???

  • Sara

    I am definitely inspired by these women, not only by what they achieve on the water, but also their ability to have fun and even look hot whilst they do it!
    You guys rock.

    P.S Can i have your abs? just one..? pretty please?


      Great recognition of the overall feminine mystique so admirabel and respectable by talented, accomplished women of the outdoors, kayaking, action sports culture!

  • Spixii

    These photos are awesome, and I sorely wish that I had been there to see that competition. It would have been STOUT!!! I was down on the Futa earlier in the year, and was very sad that I was going to miss the WWGP.


      Definately a great event bringing a lot to the sport, though seriously a concern when some incomensurate hinderances have grossly reduced my personal level KNOWING I CAN DO SO MUCH BETTER!!!?!!! Seriously, we need to improve what these women say they promote, active involvement, promotion, and inclusion of women in kayaking and action sports. I have felt “disposed” of, decrepid in a ditch dying for the past several years way side lined from my talent, rightful role, and potential. I say so, because this can’t go on, though there is SOO MUCH MORE I WOULD RATHER SAY & STAND FOR!

    • I <3 Kuntz

      Matoi Ryuuko you are as plastic as a kayak!


    I honestly am offended by the stupidity here, have concerns about when this thinking crosses my mind, and am thanking heaven I am generally involved in more intellectual thought processes from studying feminism & the history of Women’s rights. The jokes, sure, freedom of speech, but when some things become degrading to actual authenitcity, it’s sad. I have been through some shit. I am someone. I should be someone, and every time I make an effort to cross the line of upholding my identity, I seem severly sabotaged. There is a serious problem. I have done so much to live a better life, be integrity based, appreciate the original intellectuals and explorers whom brought that cool aesthetic, spiritual promise to the outdoords… why is this the way it has to be, why do I have to be disusting, perverted, and succumb to violent distasteful tactics for dealing with mundane, sick humor to rise to the level of prowess and dignity I have in my sport, in my community?

    • Brian P. Martin

      Again…thank you mountainlove270.


    Why am I concerned?

    I grew up in a town, the world’s most commercially rafted river. I was in a World Championship in Austria at age 15. I am a 4th Gen. Coloradan, 6th or 7th to the Rocky Mountains if you include an old family ranch in WY. I believe in myself, my morals, values, and authenticity beyond corruption. I have a father whom was in the first Surf Expos and Action Sports Retailers in Long Beach and understand the “underground” of out subculture… but I will not stand for what I have been through. For being destitute, ostracized, and seeing this when I have studied Throeau, read Blackadar, identified with Muir, similarly those writings of the true heroines whom accomplished tremendous reform for women and humanity… to lack support after 8 years sober, to be blown away rather than nurtured, welcomed, respected, appreciated, and given the sancity to heal… Feminists? Promoting women in sports? Really?

    I entered kindergarten when the UN mandated to end sabotage limiting opportunity – violence against women. I was in first grade when the US responded with VAWA, Violence Against Wome Act of 1994

    May 2003, I was in Austria at a freestyle Kayaking World Championship… I had previously won an essay contest put on by the VFW, Is Freedom Really Free.

    June 2003, the Feds authorized PROTECT to prevent child exploitation, abolish child prostitution… and nourish adolesence through healthful development beyond obscenity.

    2005 – age 17, I was a teenage crackwhore… nearly overdosed, thought I was dying, told I had to prostitute myself for a pick me up while the man who took me with him was shooting up. Granted, my bad for being on drugs, dealing with creepy men over 13 years older than me, and going n drug runs… seriously, though!?! It’s gone to the FBI. Not Okay. I don’t care about FIBArk jokes. What’s really happened and is not okay is reported… and it happened in South Park… I decided the South Park police are probably not capable of handling this.

    Granted, perhaps after 20 years, which presently we are at, things will be better assimilated for society to transform and handle these societal changes than 10 years ago when I was deemed a child requiring the wisdom and intelligence to be properly respected….

    And when I make an effort to regain standing, uphold authentic identity… severe sabotage seems to result…. Meanwhile, my community, past sponsors, deserve to know the corruption I was dealt… yet when I attempt to form a newsletter, I have a breakdown & lose control… an attack? I am usually better! Yeah, I have something to say. I want my story to come out. Yes, I see integrity and authenticity, valued intimate real passionate, loved cared for personal connections beyond the damage… beyond the corruption, and I pray all remain well while awareness is raised against these wrongs.

    Now, that is why I write this on the spur of the moment… why I went to security and lost my job at Copper because I pushed past concerns about child prostitution that have kept me from surviving because I had no where to go except moving into the Edge… bunk beds in tiny rooms, after all these years and all I have worked towards? Because some disfunct causes self-desctruction, upheaval, and damage when I ought be applying myself, highly valued, well-tended, respected… too experienced with being buried when awareness is not risen, action not taken… yet I appreciate the police say, you don’t have to press charges, you don’t have to report… possibly acceptable, if degradation is haulted, proper integrity and support in place, opportunities granted as the VAWA was put into place to ensure, and further sabotage from others capitalizing on this damage firmly, with bullet-proof legions kept from being the source of gain in the kayak community.

    • Brian P. Martin

      Thank you for your support for these “bad ass” gals…and for sharing your personal background story…my Hat’s off to you mountainlove270.


    I’m sorry not to talk the perverted lingo, get the jokes, and sort it out. Sometimes I have, I prefer to be tolerant & instill a greater composure of dignity beyond the “small talk”, greater wisdom beyond trivial corruption that exists from some components of modern day… there has been a lot of that lately in the kayaking world. I have not seen so much intellect, passion, real messages, respect, dignity… yeah, are we being adult here. I am sorry. I have a skater punk background and like to prevent the mentioned problems. The two main influences from my skate punk role are in grad school. The man that petitioned for the Salida Skate Park to be built, second concrete park in CO I was raised knowing only to Crested Butte, is in DU International Affairs after a stint as a monk in India… the other at a United Nations Peace College, a young woman pretty known for her punk rock role. The one is whom I grew up kayaking with. The other attended the community college where my mom worked for over 20 years & I received credentials that, on top of my heritage & accomplishments, should be respected in the outdoors. I am a mid-twenties adult and want to take seriously kayaking, women in action sports, enjoy it as a passion, cool subculture and find intellectual outdoorspeople whom do the same. Yeah, I have a personal story to tell that should have a lot of interest, be respected, and similarly, I have something to say about the credibility, community, and involvement of individuals with their own liberties involved in our sport. I vent so I don’t become corruptly held hostage under perversity stripped of my integrity and authenticity for another 10 years.

  • Daniel James Riley

    looks like you all need to live a little! i didn’t read anything worth reading in any of the comments! you are all either over-opinionated or over-sensitive…

  • jono

    where did EG get
    his necklace from?

  • Phil Mccraccin

    Personnally I think Evans got a hot body, i don’t know what all the fuss is about these lades, i mean they are hot and all but really Evans the clear winner here, just saying

  • I <3 Kuntz


    • Hayduke

      CORRECTION: I <3 Kuntz !!! The FULL reply was: "I <3 (love) C Kuntz too !!! I wish she would send me a FB “friend” request…C Kuntz PLEASE “friend” me….I <3 (love) A B, too C….

  • C

    Usually with a plastic welder.

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