Category Archives: Slices of Life

Instagram Tips

Instagram continues to grow as a marketing tool and a way to tell your brand’s story. It’s much easier to keep an up to date Instagram account than it is to update your website with new work, whether you’re a photographer or a brand. We asked some of our photographers who either have large followings or are being recognized as Instagrammers to watch for some tips:

Rachid Dahnoun, @rachidphoto

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Be Engaged. Most people who don’t do well on social networks forget that it isn’t all about you; you need to interact with other people on the network by liking, commenting and following other accounts.  Building relationships with other users will really help boost your own account’s engagement.

Be Consistent. Posting once a week isn’t going to cut it.  Nor is posting a beautiful landscape one day and a furry kitten the next.  Consistency across the board is key.  You want to be posting at least 5 days a week (7 is ideal).  That said, you don’t want to over-post either.  If you overload your followers with 4 posts in an hour they are likely to dump you.  For content, you want to stay true to yourself and your brand.  When someone looks at your feed the work should look and feel cohesive, just like a portfolio.

Jess McGlothin, @jess_mcglothlin_media 

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Look Outside Your Immediate Target Audience. I specialize in fly-fishing and outdoor adventure travel, but I’ve seen an increase in fitness and general travel followers when I tailor a post to less-technical viewers. A fun one-liner with a post about my favorite sandals for airplane rides? That’s guaranteed to land a few new followers outside my normal “dude with a beard and a fly rod” genre.

Tell Stories. An image is worth a thousand words, as they say. When someone is flipping through their feed, I want the image to make them stop and look deeper. It’s a tenet of strong photography, and it’s important here too. Instagram is a great tool of escapism… enable that a bit; let people into the story. They’ll respond.

Let People in to Your World. Adding a ten-second video into your feed once in a while allows viewers to feel like they’re behind the scenes. In the past few months I shot iPhone videos of helicopters landing on rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, people passing through the Lima airport at 1AM and a team bumping along a backcountry road in the Amazon jungle while dodging bamboo overgrowth. Video is a fantastic tool to relate to your audience… show that it’s not all fun and glory and good times! Sometimes the job is sleeping on airport floors, dealing with infected wounds and burning time on long car rides. Let’s not be afraid to talk about that!

Andrew Peacock, @footloosefotography

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Be True to Yourself. It’s important that I am excited about posting and it helps if I keep things fresh and post very recent work rather than spend time ‘mining’ my archive looking for something to post just because I feel pressure to do so! I think of my Instagram feed as a portfolio for my adventure travel photography, so I only post high quality images and I keep it ‘real’ in terms of any post processing, to ensure my feed is an accurate reflection of the style of work I deliver to clients.

Find Partners. I’m very lucky to be able to travel widely, so I make sure to post images across a range of subjects and locations to appeal to those looking for adventure travel inspiration on Instagram. Occasionally  I’ll also share my work on a feed with a larger audience. By establishing personal connections with relevant people at companies with huge Instagram followings – Lonely Planet, for instance – I’ve gained an avenue to share my work with a broader audience.

Paul Zizka, @paulzizkaphoto

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#Trending! Posting images relevant to current natural events seems to give my post an extra boost in interaction. Whether it’s season specific, ie. snowy scene during the Winter months, or an Aurora post during or after a solar storm, finding images that people can relate to as something they’re experiencing or thinking about is a strategy that pays off for me.

Sean Davey, @sean_davey

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Ask Questions. I post a a mix of images as they happen, along with classic surf images from my days as a magazine photographer, to keep the content interesting and different as much as I can. I try to engage my audience as much as possible. Ask them a question about the picture, or in my case, I ask them to name the photo and reward the winner with a few 8×10’s.  I see that as part of my advertising budget, so to speak.

David Hanson, @davidhanson3

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Share Personal Work. For over a dozen years I’ve collected portraits and interviews of people I meet, most complete strangers. With over 400, I turned to Instagram to post one per day for 2017. It’s a fun way to stay both consistent and unpredictable. I was a writer before I was a photographer so I like digging beyond the pic. And part of me hopes to learn some secret to life from the people.

Kay Vilchis Zapata, @kayuvilchis

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Join the Celebration. I like to upload photos on days that are celebrating something, like for example National Dolphin Day. I think that by celebrating something everyone talks about that topic and in the same way you can make your audience aware of conserving those important elements and taking more care of the planet.

The Symphony of Ice

Peter Doucette, Lucifer in Chains M9 Cathederal Ledge, North Conway, NH
Lucifer in Chains M9 Cathedral Ledge, North Conway, NH

Five a.m. is early for a weekend alarm, but winter’s back. There’s too little daylight to waste it. The ice is in, the days are short, and the mountains are calling. Roll out of bed, pull on long underwear and fleece. Fill a water bottle, grab the already packed backpack by the door and go.
The warm car is the final bastion of heat. Don’t waste it. Don’t open the door a moment too soon, even if it means tying your boots hunched over the steering wheel. Soak in the final few warm minutes. They are precious. Once in the landscape it’s the sounds you notice: the crunch of the snow underfoot, the wind as it whistles through the trees, the rustle of nylon rubbing nylon. The hike is the warm up stretch before the fight begins. It’s a moment to look at the mountains, the snow, the trees and wilderness before the landscape rears to blanket your view.
The final walk below the ice is always a nervous one. The columns have a way of dwarfing and dampening, reminding you of how small you are. But in that frozen space the sounds continue—the zip of extra layers, the clink of carabiners and ice screws, the hiss of rope running through gloves—and are amplified by the cold.
Then it’s time. Tink! Tink! Sink a tool. Tink! Tink! Sink the other. Thunk! A boot. Thunk! The other boot. Ice climbing, the frozen symphony, has begun. The whir of ice screws cutting into the depth, the tap of the belayer dancing to stay warm, the drumbeat of falling ice. The movement becomes its own language, emerges in the winter quiet, echos through the canyons and reverberates through the ice. It is a landscape without heat but full of songs. Climb higher, into the breeze and creek of swaying trees. The scrape of steel mingles with the sounds of the forest. The hush of the falling snow only leaves the chorus ringing louder. The noise of belayers, other climbers, the human race and the world as a whole fades. Only you are left. You and the mountain. And you hear each other.

For great ice climbing photography visit AuroraPhotos.com

She’s All That: 17 Photos that Celebrate Adventurous Women Around the World

Today is Women’s Equality Day! Designated as a national holiday in 1971, Women’s Equality Day marks the anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment which officially gave women the right to vote in 1920.

To honor this great day in history, we’re celebrating the adventurous women all across the globe that inspire us with 17 photos from our ‘She’s All That’ gallery, which capture the power, spirit and greatness that is woman in the outdoors!

Today, and every day, women everywhere should be treated as equals. Learn more about how you can support women’s equality here.

Strong, athletic female does an aerial on the trail at Wonderland Lake in Boulder, Colorado
Strong, athletic female does an aerial on the trail at Wonderland Lake in Boulder, Colorado. Photo by Alexandra Simone
A girl surfs a small wave on her longboard
A girl surfs a small wave on her longboard. Photo by Sergio Villalba
Sarah Felchlin smiles for a portrait while carrying her crash pad to go bouldering at the Buttermilk boulders just outside of Bishop California.
Sarah Felchlin smiles for a portrait while carrying her crash pad to go bouldering at the Buttermilk boulders just outside of Bishop California. Photo by Corey Rich
Artist's Point, Cascades, WA
Artist’s Point, Cascades, WA. Photo by Gabe Rogel
Woman holds out two fern fronds like wings in the Hoh Rainforest, WA.
Woman holds out two fern fronds like wings in the Hoh Rainforest, WA. Photo by Hannah Dewey
A woman hooked up to a bluefish. Cape Cod, MA.
A woman hooked up to a bluefish. Cape Cod, MA. Photo by Jess McGlothlin Media
Portrait of an Appalachian Trail hiker taken at Trail Days in Damascus, VA. Trail Days is a festival that Attracts thousands of hikers past and present.
Portrait of an Appalachian Trail hiker taken at Trail Days in Damascus, VA. Trail Days is a festival that Attracts thousands of hikers past and present. Photo by Michael D. Wilson
Girl doing yoga and laughing on the top of a volcano in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
Girl doing yoga and laughing on the top of a volcano in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands. Photo by Mauro Ladu
Amy Rasic and Janine Patitucci climbing the Aiguille d'Entreves on a sunny day in the French Alps
Amy Rasic and Janine Patitucci climbing the Aiguille d’Entreves on a sunny day in the French Alps. Photo by PatitucciPhoto
A young woman holds her paddle above her head while canoeing across Lanezi Lake during a multi-day canoe trip through Bowron Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.
A young woman holds her paddle above her head while canoeing across Lanezi Lake during a multi-day canoe trip through Bowron Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada. Photo by Christopher Kimmel
Mountain biking on a wet day along the Oregon Coast. Nehalem, OR
Mountain biking on a wet day along the Oregon Coast. Nehalem, OR. Photo by Justin Bailie
A woman hanging upside down as she is lowered from a rock climb.
A woman hanging upside down as she is lowered from a rock climb. Photo by Mike Schirf
Female slackliner walks a highline at Longue-Rive with the St. Lawrence River in the background
Female slackliner walks a highline at Longue-Rive with the St. Lawrence River in the background. Photo by Jared Alden
A female climber boulders a series of huecos on an overhanging roof at sunrise. A band of striated sandstone is in the distance.
A female climber boulders a series of huecos on an overhanging roof at sunrise. A band of striated sandstone is in the distance. Photo by Kiliii Fish
Happy woman paddling a kayak in a wave
Happy woman paddling a kayak in a wave. Photo by Leslie Parrott
floorball players
Floorball players stand against a setting sun. Photo by Adam Kokot
Garni Canyon, Armenia
Garni Canyon, Armenia. Photo by Gabe Rogel

Check out more images from our She’s All That gallery here.

Celebrating Acadia National Park’s 100th Birthday

On July 8th, 2016 Acadia National Park celebrated a gigantic milestone — its 100th birthday!  As the oldest national park east of the Mississippi, and with the nickname “Jewel of the Maine Coast,” Acadia is a beloved park for locals and visitors alike.  In fact, Acadia is the fifth smallest national park in the country but one of the top ten visited. Just in 2014 alone, more than 2.5 million visitors flocked to the park to enjoy the breathtaking vistas along the Atlantic coastline, the variety of lakes and ponds, the more than 150 miles of hiking trails, 45 miles of carriage roads and 26 mountains that the park offers!

Established originally in 1916 as SIur de Monts National Monument and later renamed (twice), Acadia is not only the oldest eastern national park but the first created from private lands gifted to the public through the efforts of conservation-minded citizens.

Supporters and friends of Acadia will be collaborating throughout the rest of the year to continue the community-based celebration in which hundreds of partners will honor Acadia by expressing their bond with the park — whether it be through events, programs, products, or works of art.

Since the Aurora family is based in Maine and Acadia truly is our little jewel of the coast, we thought it would be great to help celebrate the centennial by asking some of our photographers what Acadia has meant for them. Check out their responses below!

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Centennial celebration. Photo by Winky Lewis

What does Acadia National Park mean to you?

Chris Bennett, outdoor photographer, http://www.cbennettphoto.com : When I’m out west and tell people I’m from Maine, I often hear people say that they loved Acadia, that it was one of their favorite parks. They see grand mountains all the time; it’s great to have a park in my back yard that is a little different. It may not offer expansive wilderness or huge mountains, but you really get a sense of the raw ocean and the simplicity of life as a fisherman from the smell of the salt air. It’s a completely alien experience for someone in a landlocked state like Wyoming or Colorado.

Jake Wyman, commercial and outdoor photographer, http://www.jakewyman.com: It’s one of my favorite places in the world, for the natural beauty, dramatic coastlines and the places where I can find serenity and quiet.

What is your favorite season / month to visit Acadia, and why?

Jerry Monkman, documentarian, outdoor / conservation photographer, author of The Photographer’s Guide to Acadia National Parkhttp://archive.ecophotography.com: All of them. Winter for the cross country skiing. Spring for the quiet beauty without the crowds. Summer for the spectacular weather and insane energy. And fall for classic New England foliage.

Wyman: Fall and Winter, for different reasons; The Fall for the clear air, brilliant colors, and fewer people.

A woman runs at sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, Maine.
A woman runs at sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, Maine.

What is your favorite trail / hike in Acadia, and why?

Bennett: The short, easy trail to Ship Harbor on the western side of the island is a favorite. Excellent views for a small effort. Anytime I get a chance to get to the western side I do, there are always less crowds. Some of the western carriage roads offer the same solitude, such as the one up and over Parkman Mountain, or the one to the top of Day Mountain. Both are quite a climb by bike but worth the effort. Any trail on Isle Au Haut is worth the effort, you can only get there by ferry or personal watercraft, and there is a sense of raw and wild island life that you don’t get on the big island. Duck Harbor is also the only place to primitive camp in the park.

Monkman: I love doing a loop hike up and over Sargent and Penobscot Mountains near Jordan Pond. Amazing views and lots of blueberries in July.

Winky Lewis, children / lifestyle photographer, http://winkylewisphoto.com: My very favorite trail there is the one up Duck Mountain. It is quick and easy. It was a great trail for my kids when they were younger and now when we hike it my dogs cover the distance about 10 times over because they circle from my kids up ahead and then back to me about a hundred times before I reach the top. There is a wonderful view from the top! So beautiful.

What is something rare you have seen at Acadia?

Monkman: Watching Peregrine falcons dive bombing from Eagle Cliff while I was photographing Somes Sound. They go frighteningly fast.

Bennett: Taking a late evening spring walk along the Jesup Path, I watched an owl feed for several minutes, swooping down into the tall grass from its perches in the trees.

Sunrise, Acadia National Park, Maine.
Sunrise, Acadia National Park, Maine.

What is your favorite memory in Acadia?

Monkman: Hiking the Bubbles with my kids, eating wild blueberries the entire time, and following it up with tea and popovers at The Jordan Pond House. We’ve done it every year since they were born and even as teenagers it’s what they look forward to most on our trips to the park.

Wyman: Being alone on the top of deserted Cadillac Mountain before sunrise in the middle of February or January.

Lewis: I am lucky enough to have grown up spending time on Mt. Desert Island in the summer, so many of those trails in the park on MDI are full of wonderful memories for me. My friends and I would take off and go on some fun adventures, often ending up at Jordan Pond for popovers. Now, with my own family, I spend time in the summers on Isle Au Haut, of which about half is Acadia.

What keeps you coming back, year after year?

Wyman: Every time that I visit Acadia, I find someplace new.

Monkman: My wife and I have visited every year since 1989 and we just love the combination of dramatic ocean scenery with great hiking up granite domes, paddling in Frenchman Bay, and the ability to choose between dozens of restaurants at dinner.

A clearing storm near Otter Cliffs in Acadia National Park.
A clearing storm near Otter Cliffs in Acadia National Park.

Do you have any tips for amateur / young photographers on how to get the most out of Acadia?

Bennett: Get up early, go on the shoulder seasons, find someplace off the beaten path to make a compelling picture.

Wyman: Don’t be overwhelmed by the landscapes; there are plenty of beautiful details to be found. Be sure to visit Schoodic and Isle Au Haut. Try to “see” with your own eyes; there are millions of beautiful images which have been made in ANP, but search for your own original vision.

Monkman: Get up early to beat the crowds to the photo hot spots and to take advantage of that sweet Maine coast sunrise light.

 

To learn more about Acadia National Park and the 2016 Centennial, please visit the Acadia 2016 Centennial website.

Remote Rivers and Treacherous Terrain: Taylor Reilly’s ‘Escaping Desolation’

Our photographers have a reputation for being adventurous. In order to produce such dynamic imagery, they need to be in the heart of nature, continuously seeking out new and thrilling experiences. And although we get to see the fruits of their labor from the powerful photographs they create, sometimes there’s more to the photograph than meets the eye – an untold story waiting for anyone who asks.

Taylor Reilly recently embarked on one such adventure, which he writes about in a new essay titled, Escaping Desolation.

Escaping Desolation is the story of 3 friends on 1 raft taking a 90-mile 7-day trip down the Green River through Desolation and Gray Canyons in Utah. The trip runs smoothly until the second to last day when disaster strikes and their boat is sunk in an unexpected way. The decisions made after would determine their chances of survival and their escaping desolation.

Rafters tackling a rapid in Desolation Canyon along the Green River in Utah.
Rafters tackling a rapid in Desolation Canyon along the Green River in Utah.

Taylor writes,

There we were, laughing at the top of our lungs about everything, and enjoying every second of rafting 91 miles on one of the most remote stretches of river in the country, the Green River through Desolation and Gray Canyons in Utah. Then it struck us and the laughing came to a halt. We were out of beer! It was day six of our seven-day voyage and our three man crew only had one six pack of pumpkin beer left in the cooler. Obviously times were desperate, we were floating through an expansive desert canyon in the middle of nowhere, and all we had was a flavor of beer that made unfiltered river water seem appealing. The mission was clear; we needed to find more beer. Somehow.

Just three weeks ago my good friend Tres called me excited that he had just picked up a last minute permit for a rafting trip through Utah. He had just spent most of the summer rafting rivers all over the west and was trying to find friends to join him on one last trip before ski season began. It didn’t take long before Tres had convinced myself, and our long time friend Bobby to join him for a mid-October Green River trip.

Rafter accompanying a standup paddleboarder through Desolation Canyon along the Green River, Utah. ©Taylor Reilly
Rafter accompanying a standup paddleboarder through Desolation Canyon along the Green River, Utah.

Our 3-man crew has all been friends for many years. Bobby and Tres had grown up together and I had met them both in college. Since then, we have taken many trips together and we had all gained a substantial amount of outdoor skills and experience. On top of skiing, climbing and backcountry hiking, Tres, our captain, has been piloting his raft on multiple big rivers across the country, for several years. Bobby grew up hunting and backpacking but now he spends most of his weekend’s mountain biking and climbing. He has worked in the outdoor and action sports industries for years and he is extremely organized and motivated when it comes to any outdoor adventure. I myself have ample experience recreationally and professionally in the outdoors. I have been a climber for just about 20 years, I guided for 6, and I have been around water, rivers, and boats my entire life having grown up in Texas. While we all had various and ample outdoor experience, this would be the first big multi-day rafting trip for Bobby and I.

Setting up camp in Desolation Canyon, Utah. ©Taylor Reilly
Setting up camp in Desolation Canyon, Utah.

Our vessel was a 14ft raft with a 4 bay oar frame, and a pile of gear in the back so big that we could have been mistaken for a floating version of the Beverly Hillbillies. For a bit of relevant rafting knowledge: Rafts used for overnight trips use an aluminum frame that holds dry boxes, an ice chest and oar mounts/oars on either side. The captain rows the raft using two 10 foot oars while two passengers can either relax and drink or pitch in as “paddle assist” to help keep momentum through pushy rapids. This is how our 3-man 1-raft team was set up. We had just paddled out of Desolation Canyon the night before and into Gray Canyon earlier that morning, and the “take-out” for our trip was only 12 or more miles, or 1 day, downstream. The plan for this last night of our adventure was to camp just after “Rattle Snake” rapid (2+). First, though, we had to get some beer.

It was around noon and we hadn’t seen anyone on the river since the previous night, and being that it was off-season, we didn’t expect to see anyone from here on out. So imagine our surprise when we came around a large bend and found a group of people spread out over 5 rafts and some paddleboards. They seemed to be having as much fun as we were, and the rules of the river dictate that we had to strike up a conversation in search of a trade. When we found out they needed ice, we gave them two of our solid 5-10lb blocks for an 18 pack of Tecate. Success! They invited us to do a short day hike on the west side of the river just before Rattlesnake Rapid, but we decided to keep paddling and get to our camp, so we said our goodbyes and parted ways.

Standup paddleboarder during sunset in Desolation Canyon along the Green River, Utah. ©Taylor Reilly
Standup paddleboarder during sunset in Desolation Canyon along the Green River, Utah

Heading downstream with a full case of Tecate to get us to the end of our trip, we started into Rattlesnake rapid. Leading into the rapid Tres suggested that Bobby should row this one. This was Bobby’s first big rafting trip and Tres thought it was his right of passage to captain the boat down a “named” rapid. After all, Bobby had put in his time working hard rowing miles of flat-water into headwinds in the days before, now it was his turn to try something a little more rewarding. I looked over and told Bobby to zip up his life jacket, all the way up to the top. He smiled, laughed, and thanked me. It would be his first Class 2+ rapid to paddle. This stretch of the Green River is in general very mild when it comes to rapid strength, especially during the fall. If anything, the river was shallow and slow most of the way. At this point we were all confident that the end of our trip was just around the bend.

©Taylor Reilly

As we entered the rapid, Bobby was on the oars, while Tres and I were relaxing in the front. The rapid formed a wave train down the middle of the river, however the raft spun to the right of the ideal line, and started heading straight towards the 40’ cliff that walled in the right hand side of the river. The raft was now being pushed hard by lateral waves and the three of us realized simultaneously that things were about to get ugly.

As we neared the sandstone cliff jetting out at the apex of the river bend, Tres started yelling, ”Back row right! Back row Right!” Tres started to move towards Bobby to help him slide the right oar into the raft and away from the cliff to keep it from catching and swinging. But it was too late for that.

Continue reading the full story on Taylor’s blog.

See more of Taylor’s work here.