February temperatures, typically the coldest in the year for us in Portland, Maine, start to give way to warming omens of spring. As the image by Mike Schirf above demonstrates, you’ve just got to hang in there! And what better way to warm you up than looking at beautiful new images?! We’ve got both kids and adults enjoying snow days, how to make friends during exotic travel, and some pretty intense workouts. There’s seaweed farmers, a farming family and the family that camps together, staying together. Perhaps you prefer climbing, high line, acrobatics or running? Or maybe it’s finding new places? There’s exploration by: foot, old-timey bicycle, beat-up truck, sailboat, raft, SUP, and skateboard.
However you choose to explore the great outdoors and the world around you, make sure you enjoy it to the fullest! See what brings our photographers joy with this curated gallery of lifestyle and the outdoors: http://www.auroraphotos.com/result?webseries_id=14734
Joel Addams is an adventure photographer who doesn’t shoot hardcore action, a travel photographer who gets up close and personal to his subjects. He’s an editorial and commercial photographer, a professor and a student, a curator and an artist. He is a multi-talented creator of imagery that uses emotion and mood to focus on details, like stones on a cairn, or on a more grand scale, like the magnitude of a mountain. His dream-like photos are imbued with a sense of calm and stillness, the moments influenced by his cinematography sentiments.
You can see more of his outdoor, lifestyle and travel images here.
Aurora Photos: Can you speak to the premise behind your course at the University of Utah, “Photography as Communication, Art and Catalyst”, and the fascination with the art of observing vs. seeing?
Joel Addams: I was given a unique opportunity to teach in the Honors College at the University of Utah. I taught in a fashion course that looked at photography in the 20th century as much more than pictures: as a method for social and political change, and a mode of fashion styling and propagation, as a personal expression. We looked at war photography, fashion photography, art photography, commercial photography, and everything in between. It was interesting for me to delve deeper into those areas. I probably learned more than the students, to be honest. It’s amazing how photography is such a part of the historical record, but more than that, is a mode of change as well.
[Au]: In 2014 you released the “Before I Burn” documentary about cornea extraction in Nepal. What brought you to this subject matter? How has being a still photographer informed your abilities as a filmmaker?
JA: I was in Nepal in 2006 when I was doing ophthalmology research at the Tilganga Eye Institute in graduate school. I was taken to the Pashupatinath Temple across the road to see the cremations and how the technicians worked. For “developed” countries, we are not used to the processes around death, but in Nepal and many other countries, the families prepare their relatives after they die, transport them to the temple for cremation, and perform most of the rites around the funeral. I was fascinated by the process around this, the visually interesting process and closeness of the family to their deceased loved ones. Then of course, following the corneas (just the thin clear outer portion of the eye) into surgeries and seeing the positive results was fascinating. I shot around this subject matter with the access of the hospital, and then wanted to film the process later on, starting a documentary in 2010 and finishing in 2013. Still photography was an excellent way to learn techniques of cinematography and the difficult process of learning how to tell a story visually. Filmmaking involves so much more to think about for documentary work with each portion of filmmaking its own world. Now I try to involve as many professionals as possible in my filmmaking.
[Au]: It appears you have a deep respect and appreciation for all concentrations of art, even curating your own personal collection. What do you look for when purchasing a new piece? How do these pieces mesh with your own work?
JA: I’ve met a lot of photographers and filmmakers who look to other media for inspiration. Writing, music, film, painting, sculpture are very inspirational to me. Several good friends of mine, Zachary Proctor, Lane Bennion, CJ Hales, are all professional painters and have really been inspirational in terms of career, artistic understanding, and new ways of seeing. I would say their friendships have been invaluable to photography and filmmaking for me. I collect paintings for so many reasons. Maybe I love it because it has a quality that is so different from a photograph. I don’t choose paintings: they choose me! I don’t have specific things I look for. I’m not sure I know how my tastes in paintings mesh with my own work, though I think over the years, we have sometimes influenced each other.
[Au]: What ignited your passion for the outdoors, and how has it broadened your creative perspective?
JA: My dad was brought up fishing the rivers around Pinedale, Wyoming and then he started backpacking the Wind Rivers – something that became rather sacred for my father. He never wanted to backpack anywhere else, actually. He started inviting me along around the age of ten, before we had any fancy outdoor clothing. We backpacked in jeans and t-shirts and external frame backpacks. I think we all enter photography from a love of something, and for so many of us, landscape photography is a beautiful entrance. Over the years, I have loved the exploration into other areas of photography, but will never pass up a good landscape. There is something really calm and fulfilling about being alone in the outdoors in good light. Don McCullin seems to have found a space in the landscape again after his many years of photographing war. It seems like a place we can all go to return to something.
[Au]: Given your experience in both photography and educating others through workshops, what are some life lessons that you want to share with budding photographers?
JA: People starting to photograph seriously should look at as many photographs and photographers as possible early on. It seems important to explore all the avenues of photography; they’re so different. In addition, I worry sometimes when photographers seem guided by the concept of “what sells”. They may move away from images they really enjoy, but may take longer to establish a clientele from that particular style. The happiest and most successful photographers seem to be true to themselves and eventually find markets for their photography. I remember that I was scoffed at very early on for exhibiting a large portrait of a man in Nepal, being told by another photographer “that will never sell.” I’m glad I didn’t listen to him.
We’re also glad Joel didn’t listen! Otherwise, we wouldn’t have his fantastic outdoor, lifestyle and travel images on our site
Aurora’s contributors are a rare breed, always willing to go the extra mile to capture an amazing image. They thrive in the winter, a season during which many give up on the outdoors and stay inside, sipping hot cocoa and catching up on TV. We wanted to get to the heart of why Aurora photographers connect so profoundly with the harsh conditions and stark beauty of the coldest of seasons. So we asked our photographers to choose their favorite winter image and tell us why — here’s what they said:
“I’ve skied Mt. Adams in Washington 50+ times, and there’s always a risk, either from chance or the failure to recognize dangers. And on this day, I almost got wiped off the North Face by an avalanche. I had climbed the North face North West ridge and halfway up decided to turn around because it was getting too warm. Suddenly, a wet slide was triggered a few thousand feet above me (on a route we had just skied the day before) and came down, missing me by inches. It was only about 20 feet wide, but it was heavy snow and was going very, very fast on a very steep slope. It was a scary moment.” – Jason Hummel
“Mont Blanc is the most famous peak to ascend in the Alps. For me, this image shows how the mountaineers put their lives in the service of the mountain.” – David Santiago Garcia
“I’ve spent years photographing glaciers and ice on six continents, but this is one of my favorite images. It’s shot from a small zodiac inflatable boat in Antarctica, and captures so much of the graceful lines and cold beauty of the massive icebergs there.” – Paul Souders
“This unique frozen waterfall, in a remote area of Utah , rarely forms ice solid enough to climb. You have to hike in a ways to find the frozen falls, which keeps the crowds away. “ – Whit Richardson
“The combination of people enjoying adventure sport in a spectacular landscape is what photography is all about for me.” – Andrew Peacock
“I’ve been snowboarding most of my life and this image always reminds me of the freedom you feel when you launch into the air on a perfect powder day in the backcountry.” – Rachid Dahnoun
“It had snowed all day at Lake O’Hara in Yoho National Park, a beautiful park in the Canadian Rockies. After the sun set, it cleared and I went outside. A full moon had risen, and because of the icy particles in the air, a moondog or paraselene was visible. I had often seen a sundog, but I had never seen the moon variety before. It lasted for several minutes before more clouds appeared.” – Peter Essick
“I went into Cradle Mountain National Park, in Tasmania, with this specific idea: to shoot a pandani plant lit with warm light against the blue cold snowy scene.” – Heath Holden
“I love the vertical symmetry of lights and darks. I love the shadows on the left that mimic mountains, pointing towards the skier. I love the fly-on-wall perspective, along with the speed evoked by the flying snow left by the skier’s wake. And the skier… that’s Seth Morrison, far and away one of skiing’s bigger-than-life legends for the past 2 decades. It was shot in Haines, AK, via helicopter access. It just feels as thought the stars aligned on this one.” – Gabe Rogel
“This picture taken in Mammoth Lakes, California, is of my brother from Texas, snowshoeing for the first time. It’s my favorite because it captures the wonder and majesty of being out in a snowstorm, when the snow muffles all sound except the crunch of your steps and the quiet patter of snowflakes on your jacket. .” – Dana Felthauser
“This image of the Tetons was a look at an old friend in a new way, a position a bit more north than I had seen before. The breaking storm gave the black and white image an even more commanding sense of the balance of the mountain.” – Joel Addams
See more of our photographer’s favorite winter images here: http://www.auroraphotos.com/index.php?module=result&webseries_id=17499