9 Intrepid Photographers Who Go to the Extreme for the Perfect Shot
Close-ups of dangerous animals, incredible shots of dangerous landscapes, images of remote, lonely locales – these are the sorts of photographs that we see and think, “How did they get that shot?”
As it turns out, incredible pictures often require photographers to take incredible risks. For every nicely-posed portrait shot, there’s another photo for which a photographer had to get up close and personal in unexpected ways.
Often this risk comes from subjects in the animal kingdom, but they can also be due to bad weather, or precarious ground. Here are a few amazing stories from photographers about how they got the perfect shot in some very imperfect situations.
Octavio Aburto, environmental photographer
Octavio Aburto takes photos to promote ocean and water conservation, and he often has to swim with some testy underwater animals, most notably crocodiles and alligators.
Aburto has gotten some frighteningly close photos of both these reptiles, and he’s done so by following one rule: Be absolutely still. Apparently, that’s how you can get great pictures of a crocodile’s rows of teeth.
Christian Pondella, climber extraordinaire
Christian Pondella has gotten some truly breathtaking shots of icy wonders like a half-frozen waterfall in Canada and of climber Will Gadd’s ascent of Helmcken Falls in British Columbia.
The only way to do that, of course, is to follow the climbers. This often involves dangling perilously from frozen mountainsides, overlooking icy, cavernous ravines.
Chris McLennan and William Burrard-Lucas, wildlife photographers
Photographers Chris McLennan and William Burrard-Lucas have both taken some amazing photos of lions in the wild, but they’ve used some modern technology to do so. Both men attach cameras to remote-controlled motorized buggies that are built for off-road work and send them into the pride.
They’ve caught some incredible images, and on at least one occasion, McLennan’s camera was carried off by a hungry lion, only to be unceremoniously dropped when they realized it wasn’t edible.
Amos Nachoum, shark whisperer
Amos Nachoum patrols the seas taking pictures of Great White sharks with the intent of proving that they’re not dangerous to humans. But he’s very different from most wildlife photographers – when he’s taking pictures of these deadly predators, he doesn’t use a cage. In just a diving suit, he uses his 50mm lens to snap his striking photos.
Nachoum doesn’t stick to just sharks, either – he leads wildlife photography expeditions all over the world for those who want to get a totally unfiltered look at nature.
Clark Little, surf photo snapper
Surfer-turned-photographer Clark Little has captured breathtaking images of monumental waves, often simply jumping in the water and clicking away with little regard for waves that can be powerful enough to break a human’s back.
But the risk pays off when his photos reveal larger-than-life waves and the people who ride them.
Tom Ryaboi, rooftopper
There’s a name for photographers who climb to great heights on man-made structures like towers and skyscrapers: Rooftoppers. People like Toronto’s Tom Ryaboi, for example, who estimates that he’s climbed more than 100 buildings to capture dizzying shots from the very top of cities around the world.
Paul Bride, rock climber
Paul Bride, who calls himself the “Master Of Mountains,” has taken some amazing photos of rock-climbing while hanging on by only a few ropes and pulleys from some of the most gorgeous mountains in the world.
Bruce Omori and Tom Kuali’i, volcano viewers
Bruce Omori and Tom Kuali’i take some of the most dangerous photos on the planet: They capture pictures of hot lava inside and around active volcanoes, whether it’s from above in a helicopter or much closer to the source.
Predrag Vuckovic, thrill-seeker
And then there’s Predrag Vuckovic, an extreme photographer who gets incredible shots in multiple situations, mostly centered around extreme sports.
His shots of gliders, motorcycle racers and underwater adventures are breathtaking enough, but Vuckovic truly excels in photographing what’s called “extreme canyoning.”
Dangling by a rope into some of the most beautiful canyons, valleys and waterfalls on Earth, Vuckovic gets up close to some of the most breathtaking scenes in nature, using his keen eye and quick instincts to capture images that no one’s been able to before.
Not all of us are made for “extreme photography.” But thankfully, you can still capture beautiful photos without putting yourself in imminent danger – or even any danger at all. Get some pointers on nature and outdoor photography with our post “Expert Tips for Photographing Your Next Outdoor Adventure,” or read up on smartphone photography with “How to Make Your Smartphone Photographs Look (Almost) Professional.”