[Photo Feature] 8 Wilderness Photographers You Should Know

Featured Photo: Donal Boyd

Has anyone on the Whalebone Magazine team spent days in less than ideal weather conditions to capture the perfect moment in nature? No. Has anyone on the team ever hiked hundreds of miles for the same intent? Not 100% sure, but likely a negative. Has a team member ever written books on the subject matter of nature conservation and spent decades protecting wildlife and natural resources that are largely vulnerable? Going to check on that one, but initial thinking would be a “maybe…but most likely a no.”

Thankfully, the collective group of guests you’ll meet below has checked the box on many of these accomplishments and more. We had the privilege of connecting with each of these inspiring individuals to uncover how their time in nature and how the photos they’ve taken have shaped their perspective on life. To do this, we asked each of them the following question: “What is one lesson nature/wilderness has taught you that you often apply to your daily life?”

1. Jimmy Chin

Photo: Jimmy Chin

“The greatest lesson I’ve learned and relearn all the time in the wilderness and wild landscapes is to be present, in the moment and to connect at a human level with the people around you. It’s a good reminder that it’s even possible in these days of digital connections, overload and endless streams of distraction.”

Check out: Jimmy’s website + Instagram (@jimmy_chin)

2. Donal Boyd

Photo: Donal Boyd

“Nature has taught me to take on each day with one assumption… that I know nothing because as soon as I think I know anything, that’s precisely when I miss learning something new.”

Check out: Donal’s website + Instagram (@donalboyd)

3. Paul Nicklen

Photo: Paul Nickelen

“In the wild, we feel insignificant. In a strange way, this allows us to feel integral to the ecosystem. It’s one of the reasons I love being alone in the wilderness. But when we are removed from nature and in our “regular” lives—surrounded by millions of others like us—we exercise great impact on the world with our choices. What we eat, the products we purchase, even how we treat others; it all adds up. I strive to make daily choices that make the world better. Not worse.”

Check out: Paul’s website + Instagram (@paulnicklen)

4. Carrot Quinn

Photo: Carrot Quinn

“Wilderness teaches me that there is something larger than us, much stronger than us, something that will endure long after we’re gone. Wilderness teaches me that we’re neither as terrible or important as we think we are. Wilderness places the suffering and drama of my own embodiment into a much larger context, it fixes me in the fabric of this reality, it holds me. We come from the wilderness, and we will return to wilderness. Wilderness loves us. And no matter what we do or do not do, as humans at this moment in human history, wilderness will go on. And that soothes me more than anything.”

Check out: Carrot’s website + Instagram (@carrotquinn)

5. Jeremy Koreski

Photo: Jeremy Koreski

“Being in nature/wilderness has taught me to always live in the present, whether I am swimming in the waves with my camera or circumnavigating an island in the middle of winter in my boat.”

Check out: Jeremey’s website + Instagram (@jeremeykoreski)

6. Cristina Mittermeier

Photo: Christina Mittermeier

“To roam the last corners of Earth where wild creatures still thrive is a privilege reserved for an adventurous handful. But even though we may never feel the chill of Arctic air through the frozen flap of an icy tent or wish that we were somewhere cool instead of chasing storms in the desert, through images, we can all understand where the passion of photographers comes from. Love of nature and kinship with wildness is the fire that fuels the urgency so many of us feel to make sure that wild landscapes, and indeed all wild creatures, have a place to be wild. In an ideal world, there would be species and places that would be held sacred, kept untouched, where wild things would be allowed to be wild and where humans only go to feed their spirit. These untouched, sacred places would become our biological capital to help sustain life on Earth. We are photographers and with our cameras, we roam some of the most remote areas of Earth, to places where wildness lives. The job is not glamorous; quite the opposite. We live on the edge of danger and discomfort, away from family and comfort, all in the hope that our photographic pursuits may gift others with a larger, more compassionate view of our planet.”

Check out: Cristina’s website + Instagram (@cristinamittermeier)

7. Art Wolfe

Photo: Art Wolfe

“Through my travels, I have learned that we humans have a primal need for soul-calming wild places; I am an avid gardener—working nearly every day in my yard in the rare event when I am home in Seattle—and I have surrounded myself with a landscape that not only reminds me of nature, but connects me to what I am, and inspires me to create even more.”

Check out: Art’s website + Instagram (@artwolfe)

8. Forest Woodward

Photo: Forest Woodward

“Wilderness has taught me the importance of listening; to attune myself with a more natural order of being. To listen to the whisper of the wind in the grass and distant thunder, to listen to those who came before, and to listen to the wisdom of the wilderness, both within and without, that binds each of us to our past, present, and future. When I take time to listen, whether high on a ridge line or deep in the thick of city life, I find it easier to remember that we are all connected, that we are all in this together.”

Check out: Forest’s website + Instagram (@forestwoodward)

As featured in the 2017 Wilderness Issue of Whalebone Magazine, presented by Go RVing and guest-edited by Chris Burkard and Charles Post. Get your hands on a copy over here.