C&K Contributing Photographer Darin McQuoid explains the inspiration for his moody take on a recent descent down Upper Cherry Creek, the High Sierra wilderness classic marked by technical granite slides, a 12-mile hike in, and the very remote possibility of a rogue May blizzard. McQuoid could tell you more details about what happened, but sometimes, less is more.

“Well I’ve been shooting stills for over 10 years now,” McQuoid explains. “Shooting a kayak short in infrared was something I originally planned to do on the Kaweah (my home river), but with the drought this year it never came in. I did Upper Cherry a few weeks earlier and got more stills. This was my eighth journey to this amazing place and I decided that I had enough stills and it would make an interesting video in IR as it already looks other-worldly with the lack of trees.

“So much kayaking video is just GoPro and selfie interviews to explain things, and I don’t believe that’s real storytelling. I wanted to attempt to craft something; my intention was to tell the story of our trip with no interviews or commentary. It sure ended up a different trip than expected.”

McQuoid’s edit continues to point to a trend in paddling filmmakers presenting more reductive, artistic, and music-heavy, dialogue-light takes on their expeditions, with notable recent short films from Chris Korbulic’s travels in Russia’s Altai region, as well as Mike McKay’s Chaos Theory episodes which showcase Mexico’s Isidro Soberanes and Idaho’s Ryan Bailey.

— See more of McQuoid’s photo work in black and white, and paddling in Corsica with some of this same crew of paddlers including Rok Sribar.