in, doors open, feet dangling out. “That’s pretty much the best scenario ever for the photographer,” he says. “Earth from above is always pretty fascinating.” Blotto knows how to respond to “sluffs,” aka small avalanches. “You learn to not let them intimidate you,” he says. “If you get scared, they will sweep you down the mountain.” But, he emphasizes, the Burton team takes care to avoid dangerous situations. Nearly everyone knows someone who’s died in an avalanche.
Courtesy of ©Ember Photography
Extreme Exposure « p.33
Brian Mohr, Maiana Snow and Emily Johnson
Earth from above
is always pretty fascinating.
D ean “ Bl ot t o” Gr ay, Bu rton
Blotto gets frequent emails from aspiring snowboard photographers. His advice? “You need to be around your subject matter,” he says. “You need to go live on a mountain where there’s snowboarding.”
Ken Lucas skiing the Breakfast Couloir in northwest Iceland’s Hornstrandir Peninsula
After returning to Vermont, the selftaught photographer landed a job shooting on Saturdays for the Times Argus and tended bar on the side. Now a veteran photojournalist, the 49-year-old spends his spare time applying news principles to the slopes. He avoids using models whenever possible, preferring to catch spontaneous moments. And he prefers off-the-beaten-path photos, which often require skinning up mountains before anyone else has disturbed Courtesy of Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
Mad River Glen free skiing team member Alonso Darias cresting a powdery feature
If you read the news, you’ve probably seen Jeb Wallace-Brodeur’s work. The BarreMontpelier Times Argus photographer also freelances for a number of out-of-state and local publications, including Seven Days. On his days off, he pursues his “true love” — backcountry adventure. Whether biking, hiking or skiing, there’s a camera in his backpack. The Montpelier native grew up skiing, first cross-country, then Alpine. When he graduated from Middlebury College, his parents gave him a Pentax K1000, which he took with him when he went to work as a forest ranger in Colorado.
the snow, and then “smashing around in the woods next to the good skiing line.” Sometimes it means standing still for hours on end, in temperatures as cold as 30 below. Luckily, Wallace-Brodeur rarely gets cold. “I’ve got a really hot internal engine,” he explains. Wallace-Brodeur sells photos to Powder and Outside magazines and the Vermont Ski Areas Association, among others. He barters, too, trading photos for season passes. Now and then, the guy does take a break for pure fun: “If it’s a powder day,” he says, “I’ll put the camera away.”
Brian Mohr and Emily Johnson
Brian Mohr, who started backcountry skiing in the White Mountains as a teenager, met his future wife and fellow skier on the way to a music festival in Colorado. Emily Johnson was studying photography at the time, and Mohr quickly picked up a camera, too. “There’s really nothing that we don’t document,” says Mohr. As proprietors of EmberPhoto, the Moretown couple will shoot weddings and take family portraits, but they carve out plenty of outdoor time, too. “When we’ve got one of the heaviest storms of the year bearing down, it would be a shame if we weren’t able to get out and immerse ourselves in that event,” Mohr explains. “We’re pretty darn good at being really, really comfortable, no matter what’s going on weather-wise.” Often the pair will throw camping gear and skis into bike trailers and pedal from mountain to mountain, shooting one another on the way down.
Mohr and Johnson have sold images to companies such as Patagonia, Backcountry magazine and Sugarbush Resort. (They’ve also contributed images to Seven Days and its tourist publication, BTV.) Mohr estimates that about half their income comes from outdoor adventure photography. On one trip, Mohr and Johnson spent several months sailing around Iceland, anchoring in fjords, climbing up mountains and skiing down. Whenever possible, they prefer using what Mohr calls “peoplepowered transportation,” but, he admits, they did turn on the boat’s motor after a storm deposited nearly a foot of snow on the deck and produced 15-foot swells. Mohr lists some of the typical challenges that accompany ski photography: frostbite, fogged-up camera lenses, camera buttons jammed with wet snow, frozen batteries. “We beat the living heck out of our equipment,” he notes. “The flip side is, we get the shots.” Having two young daughters hasn’t changed that, or the couple’s outdoor lifestyle. Johnson skied while pregnant and, when their first daughter was 9 days old, Mohr started Nordic skiing with her on his back and his camera on his chest. He and Johnson also use their work to support conservation efforts, donating photos to organizations that are working to preserve land in the Patagonia region of Chile and other locales. Their latest project is closer to home: Mohr and Johnson are using their photos to help the Catamount Trail Association get its new Vermont Backcountry Alliance program off the ground. m Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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