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© Krystle Wright
BY Krystle Wright

Wilderness photography tips with Krystle Wright

From the white desert of Antarctica to swimming with whales in Tonga or paragliding in Pakistan, Frank Hurley Photography Awards judge Krystle Wright has made a name for herself as one of the world’s best extreme and wilderness photographers.

Since a young age, Krystle has pursued images that speak to the natural world and seek adventure in the most remote of places, taking out just about every accolade the photography community has to offer.

On a continual quest to challenge herself and others mentally and physically, Krystle consistently brings attention to the demanding adventures and landscapes that the public is rarely fortunate enough to be exposed to.

Here, Krystle shares some insights and tips for how you can find those rare moments when exploring with a camera.

© Krystle Wright

When it comes to photographing wildlife, the secret is time. Allowing the maximum amount of time so that you create more opportunities for your photography since the golden rule is to allow wildlife to choose if or when to interact with you. These moments are rare but when they happen, it can be life-changing as I experienced off the coast of the Azores when a pod of Sperm whales came by for a close encounter.

Any great photograph you see by nature and landscape photographers, behind that split-second moments is years of experience and patience and many failed adventures.

Any light can be great light to work with. Often we are encouraged to shoot in the golden hour of the day and forget how spectacular the light can be in the middle of the day. High noon can create opportunity to play with shadows and rich bold colors.

© Krystle Wright
© Krystle Wright

When it comes to capturing action, sometimes taking a step back allows you to see more. With adventure sports, its easy to get caught up in wanting to capture the peak moment. However, sometimes a stronger moment shines through in the quiet unsuspecting moments. During this ski expedition in Alaska, I was struggling to capture great action due to the harsh snow/ice conditions. I remember this afternoon where I encouraged the athletes to leave me behind at base camp and as they skied away for an afternoon exploration, this became one of my favorite captures of the trip.

Underwater photography is still one of my favorite playgrounds to photograph in. The ocean herself is a constantly changing environment and whilst it’s easy to get caught up in chasing images, it’s important to keep a check on the conditions and how they are changing. It’s also important to develop your skillset and fitness and making sure you manage your risk as best as possible.

© Krystle Wright
© Krystle Wright

Sometimes you just have to press the shutter and hope something works out. Digital photography has allowed us the ability to easily experiment and if it doesn’t work out, delete and try again. I wasn’t able to be submerged in the water but with a pole extension on my water housing, I dunked my camera and hoped that one image would turn out as I could see Crabeater seals play beneath the surface. Don’t overthink the image as it can stifle the spontaneity.

It’s a challenge to search out unique moments with wildlife but I try to encourage others to watch for the slightest of movements or anything that demonstrates the animal’s character. In this particular image, I was in awe of the subtle details often missed in the Chinstrap penguin’s feathers. The other key attribute is shooting on an overcast day as it allows for an incredible dynamic range that would otherwise be challenging on a bright sunny day.

© Krystle Wright
© Krystle Wright

Patience is key when it comes to capturing landscapes! At this moment, I remember seeing the full moon rise and this particular iceberg coming slowly into vision. It was 2 am and my body was begging for sleep. We were cruising ever so slowly and I think I waited close to an hour until the elements aligned. It’s important to continually be aware of your surroundings and seeing the potential as things change around you.

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