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Scott Rinckenberger is a Seattle based fine art landscape and adventure photographer specializing in capturing the most pristine and wild places his legs, skis and bikes will carry him. After training under one of the most high profile photographers in the industry, Scott seamlessly segued a professional ski career into a successful photography business built on sharing images and stories accessed through a love of adventure and exploration. Scott's work has been featured in art exhibitions worldwide, and Scott has appeared widely in the North American media both as a photographer and as an outdoor athlete. Scott's commercial clients include REI, Patagonia, Red Bull and Intel. You can follow Scott's beautiful work on his Website, Facebook and Instagram.
What inspired you for photography? Ans- Is there a theme that you prefer in your photography?To be honest, my love for nature and adventure came long before my love for photography, but as I learned to shoot and to make a career with the craft, photography became my passport to creating a lifelong adventure. I am most engaged as an artist when photographing beautiful, fleeting moments in the natural world. This can be a simple as the right light on freshly fallen snow, or as complex as shooting a climber high on a peak deep in the Alaskan wilderness. But the thing that rings true in all of my best work, is that the environment always steals the show.
Locations and weather are crucial factors for a successful picture. How do you handle these unpredictable situations? Ans- Weather and location are absolutely critical in all of my work, but depending on the project, I utilize very different approaches in dealing with these variables. When I am shooting a commercial project, I work very closely with the client and talent in order to develop as complete a picture as possible of the location and weather conditions we are likely to encounter. Many hours are spent researching, scouting, discussing and planning so that there are as few variables as possible once we are on location. On the other hand, when I am shooting a personal project, I am very content leaving a lot of things to chance. I still do the homework and chat with a lot of people about my projects, but I'm also very happy to point my compass in any given direction and go exploring. Much of my best work is created when I just give myself time to chase whims and take things as they come.
How do you educate yourself to take better pictures? Ans- It's hard to pin down the exact elements that help an artist to grow and evolve, but it's equal parts sourced from within and from without. It is important to pay attention to what is happening in the world of photography and art; this includes everything from staying current on technology and tools, to keeping current on styles and trends within the medium. But fundamentally, it's more important to create time and direct effort toward things that are inspiring to me as an individual. I can stay relevant by keeping up with what everyone else does and knows, but I can only truly grow by chasing my very personal dreams and goals. This is how better pictures are made.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos? Ans- I wish I knew I could make a life and a living with photography when I first started. I probably would have blazed a more direct path to where I am now. That said, life is a beautiful evolution, each step building on the last, so I don't feel that anything has been wasted. Each mistake, success, or detour has created the world as I know it, which is one that I find very fulfilling both personally and professionally. I guess I don't want to know the secrets or the shortcuts, it's more fun to find things out as I go.
When you go in one of your travels, what all you take with you? Why? Ans- My traveling kit varies greatly depending on the nature of the mission at hand. I often require a lot of specialized equipment for specific outdoor adventures such as backcountry ski gear, or mountaineering and climbing equipment. With regard to my photography gear, I tailor my equipment to match the project. The bigger commercial jobs require more gear, and generally this creates some limits on the areas we can access. In these cases, I bring a full Nikon SLR kit including a D4s, a D810, 14-24, 24-70 and 70-200 lenses and whatever other specialized equipment is required. For scenarios that are more adventurous in nature, I often rely on an Olympus EM1 Micro 4/3 camera, a backup body, and the 9-18, 12-40 and 35-100 lenses. With this kit, I am able to travel far and fast in extremely challenging environments.
Among your works, which ones are your favorite? Why? Ans- There is a vein in my work that is very, very simple. A stand of trees against undulating snow or morning light striking the sensual contours of a winter landscape. When I am able to capture one of these moments, which are extremely graphic, I feel a sense of joy that I have found a moment and a place within a naturally chaotic and dynamic environment which feels clean, simple and somehow permanent. These images are all black and white, and generally only found in winter when the blanket of snow erases so many of the distracting elements within a landscape and creates a canvas upon which light and lines can play.
In the field, what are your settings for Camera? Ans- My specific camera settings are completely dependent on the specific situation, but I generally manually select my shutter speed, aperture and ISO, and leave the white balance on auto in order to be shooting as quickly as possible whenever I pull out my camera. My focusing depends on the scenario and the camera/lens combination, but as a general rule, I run my Nikon gear in Continuous Auto Focus because they are so good at tracking focus, while my smaller cameras sometimes require a bit more finesse with Single AF or Manual focus. I always shoot in RAW format so that I have the most latitude to make adjustments after capture.
What challenges do you face as a photographer? Ans- Photography is one of the most challenging career paths out there. It is a crazy combination of art, craft and business. On one hand there are all of the physical, mental and logistical challenges that go into getting out and creating the images; I find that I have to work very hard to be strong and mentally tough enough to shoot the people and places that I find most interesting. On the other hand there are the challenges of staying competitive in business, which means being very proactive with marketing, sales and communication. It's quite a challenge to keep all of the balls in the air.
How has photography impacted your life? Any positive changes in your life since you started photography ? Ans- There is no question that photography has had a positive impact on my life. In fact, I count my blessings every day that I have found this way of life. I find photography endlessly inspiring and truly believe that I get back far more than I put in as long as I am relentlessly committed to my efforts and openly share my work and my ideas. Thank you all for the opportunity to continue to do so.