A bear mauled its way into a 2002 Toyota Prius late last month in Homewood, California, trashed the car's interior, then crashed it into a neighboring yard. Brian McCarthy, vacationing with his family at a cabin near Lake Tahoe, awoke at 3:30 A.M. on August 28 as the bear shredded the car's upholstery. It was not even recognizable as a vehicle,” he said. As McCarthy's son watched, the bear damaged the Prius's gear shift and sent the car rolling down McCarthy's driveway, where it hit an outcrop of boulders in a neighbor's yard and came to a stop. Soon after, the bear freed itself and escaped into the woods. It is relatively common for bears to break into cars: Earlier this summer a black bear in Colorado became trapped in a car, moved the gear shift, and sent it car rolling. Authorities eventually responded when neighbors complained of a honking horn.
The only thing more varied than photographer Michael Muller's portfolio—portraits of superstars from Kelly Slater to Lebron James, movie posters for blockbusters like Captain America and Spiderman 3, expedition coverage from the Galapagos to Tanzania—is his career path. Muller’s father, Thomas, a project manager who helped build and plan the city of Jubail in Saudi Arabia, used his vacations to take the family globetrotting and practice photography. By high school, the young Muller had traveled to roughly 50 countries and become a whiz with a camera. At 15, he had his first photo published in a snowboarding magazine. At the same time he was calling record labels and pretending to be a photographer for the Contra Costa Times, and shooting the world’s biggest bands as they performed around California. He spent those same high school years training for triathlons. After graduation, he moved to San Diego, climbed into the world top ten, and raced against the likes of Lance Armstrong. Then he did an about face and moved to Boulder to photograph snowboarders, going out 120 straight days to shoot a calendar before passing the reins to his best friend.
In the interest of time, we'll stop the chronology as Muller hits his early 20s, moves to L.A., and builds that portfolio. With so many famous faces and remote places in his quiver, you might think it would be hard to pick a gallery that stands out. It is, so we went with his latest groundbreaking project, photos of the world’s biggest sharks. Turns out, that many-toothed monstrosity of a project grew out of a simple and innocent childhood prank. --Joe Spring @joespring
What was your first photo? Actually, the first photo that I took where I saw the power of photography was a shark. When I was in fourth grade, I took a picture of a shark in a National Geographic. So I had a photo of a photo and I was showing all of my little buddies. And they were like, Oh, no way. You saw a shark. I lied to them for like 20 minutes, until the guilt just ate me up. Then I was like, Nah, I’m just kidding. I took a picture of a picture of a shark. But I saw how excited they were and it always left an impact on me.
This one’s going to be brief because we're on our way out of town to raft the San Juan River for the second, and last, time this season. The preparations seem less daunting now, maybe because our June trip is still fresh in minds or because, at four days and 27 river miles, this expedition is shorter and a smidge less remote than the lower section. The water’s lower and slower, too, flowing at 600 cubic-feet-per-second instead of 6,000. And, there are more of us: 5 families total, with 11 kids (baby to teenager), and 10 adults.
On the other hand, we have a different set of challenges now: Since we last went rafting, our one-year-old has started walking, enthusiastically if not very adeptly, judging from her skinned nose and bruised forehead. How to keep a rogue toddler from lurching into the river or pitching into a cactus? I ruled out a kiddy leash, not for ethical reasons but strictly for safety’s sake, after my boating and Wilderness First Responder friend, Whitney, pointed out that a leash could easily snag on a rock or branch and drag a small child underwater. Scary.
I'm bringing my indispensable, hands-free Ergo carrier and the Go-Pod, an ingenious piece of baby gear from Kid Co. that was the MVP of our last river trip, when the baby was 11 months old. A lightweight, pared-down version of a busy parent’s best friend—the burly, plastic Exersaucer—the Go-Pod is a nylon seat-cum-activity station that folds small and pops up to contain and entertain babies in practically any setting. It’s advertised for use on the sidelines of soccer fields and at Grandma’s house, but this thing is so handy and stashable, it’d be the perfect contraption at the local crag or fly-fishing hole. You could park a baby in the Go-Pod between laps at 24 Hours of Moab or in the ski lodge while you trade off on powder runs. I’d pack all seven pounds of it up Everest if I had to.
Funky Monkey. Sweati Yeti. Ball Shrinker. Death March. The only thing more impressive than the names of the obstacles in the Tough Mudder racing series are the number of athletes willing to subject themselves to their torture: 180,000 this year alone. “We bill ourselves as Ironman meets Burning Man,” says Tough Mudder founder Will Dean, a former counterterrorism officer in the UK. “Endurance sports don’t have to be boring.” Indeed, in the past five years, adventure races and their old-school endurance cousins, marathons and triathlons, have morphed into amenity-laced parties. There are pre-race meals at Tavern on the Green (New York City Marathon), in-race live music (Austin Triathlon), and post-race parties with barbecue feasts and knife-throwing contests (Warrior Dash). And the best reason to sign up? They’ll break you out of your fitness rut in a way that Crossfit, P90X, and Zumba never will. Just take our crash course in each discipline, then select an event from our list of favorites. Suffering shouldn’t be this much fun.