Winter Perspective: The Pacific Northwest’s Mark McInnis

Mark McInnis first came on our radar when we stumbled upon a pretty cool video profile on the Pacific Northwest photographer earlier this month. After doing some additional scouting on his Insta + website—which feature a titanic amount of cold water work in one of North America’s last unspoiled territories—we knew we had to yank him out of the emerald blue water for a second and get his two cents for our Winter Perspective series. Might want to put your base layers on for this one.

What’s your personal definition of winter?

My personal definition of winter is no tourists, solo sessions, base layers, beanies, crisp air, snow, rain, big tubes, all day coffee benders and the house windows pulsing with the wind.

Favorite photograph you’ve ever taken during this time of year?

I have a few photos that I really love, but they were both on the cusp of winter. I’d say my favorite during the heart of my favorite season would have to be the shot of Josh Mulcoy back-dooring that long-walled, green tube (pictured in gallery above).

What would you say the coldest season of the year taught you about life?

The coldest season of the year has simply taught me to enjoy being out in the cold. I always tell people that I love the cold, but I can’t stand being cold. There’s a big difference. And, like I eluded to earlier, there’s hardly anybody around and it’s nice to find that solace in nature.

Can you recall the coldest you’ve ever been?

Oh yeah. Easy. Last year I was tag-teaming a photoshoot for prAna with Burky [Chris Burkard]. We were shooting inside all day long so it was the only day I didn’t wear any base layers because I knew we were going to be sheltered. Well, we wrapped up early and the team wanted to get some surfing shots of their ambassadors.

So here I am, in Iceland, wind howling, shooting an evening session near dark in jeans, no beanie and a synthetic down jacket with only a t-shirt underneath. I was miserable. It was hands down the coldest I have ever been in my life. Simply because I wasn’t prepared.

One piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to take on the elements and shoot this time of year?

If you want to get outside and shoot in the dead of winter, I can’t stress enough the importance of base layers and outerwear that will protect from the elements, mainly wind. People don’t factor wind into the equation enough when it comes to being cold. It is a full-blown game changer.

Stay tuned for more profiles of our Winter Perspective series, dropping weekly through February and March. See more of Marks’s work on Instagram, @markomcinnis. If you dug this feature, you may also like: