The Drama of Ironman in Kona
Growing up in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Cohn says the Ironman World Championship has been an inescapable yearly event for as long as he can remember. But he had a new appreciation for the scale of the race after being invited to photograph the course from a helicopter in October. “From the air is the only way you can appreciate how vast it really is,” says Cohn, who took this shot, of a group of amateur competitors heading back from the halfway point on the Queen Kaahumanu Highway, before landing in Kona to watch the run. “Once you’ve seen the race that way,” he says, “it completely changes your perspective.”
THE TOOLS: Sony a7R, Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA lens, ISO 250, f/11, 1/400 second
A Perfect Powder Day in Washington
Last winter was unusually dry in Bellingham, Washington, where Gunderson lives. But in late February, ten inches of new snow blanketed the North Cascades, and in the first week of March, the 35-year-old photographer headed into the backcountry with professional skier Adam Ü and Ü’s girlfriend, Tess Golling, captured here carving a spine on Mount Shuksan. “It was a bluebird day, the kind you wait all year for,” Gunderson says. “Clear skies, fresh powder, and Tess skied it beautifully.”
THE TOOLS: Canon 1DX, 70-200 f/2.8 LIS lens, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/1,000 second
Ambition in the North Cascades
During a three-month climbing trip last summer, Woodward, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, made a stop in the North Cascades to shoot photos for a climbing guidebook. At Washington’s Colchuck Balanced Rock, he caught Jenny Abegg leading a route called West Face, 600 feet above the ground. “We’d just made it to the top when I found out she’d only been climbing for two years,” says Woodward. “I was blown away.”
THE TOOLS: Canon 5D Mark III, 14mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 320, f/5, 1/500 second
Parting Shot: Big Sky Montana
Thrill-Seeking in British Columbia
Last March, Jorgenson and pro skier James Heim spent three days scouting on Ipsoot Mountain, near Whistler, British Columbia, while filming their latest project, Days of My Youth. “James kept looking for something at his limit,” Jorgenson says, referring to the 400-foot pitch Heim chose. “I couldn’t see the outrun, and it looked really scary from my angle, but he made it look easy.”
THE TOOLS: Nikon D4, 80-200mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 125, f/6.3, 1/2,000 second
Oregon’s Icy Spectacle
After seeing a photograph of the frozen spray around Abiqua Falls five years ago, Meador was determined to visit the icy cascade, located two hours south of Portland, Oregon, where he lives. On a freezing morning last December, when he knew the icicles would be spectacular, the photographer hiked in alone to get this shot of the dramatic 90-foot cliffs. “I was the only person out there, which I was definitely aware of,” Meador says. “Once it warmed up, I had to dodge some icicles as they came crashing down.”
THE TOOLS: Canon 5D Mark III, 35mm f/1.4 lens, ISO 100, f/3.2, 1/125 second
Off-Line in Washington
To get this shot of pro slackliner Ben Plotkin-Swing traversing a 181-foot rope strung between two spires at Washington Pass in North Cascades National Park last September, Wright hiked for two hours and set up an anchor while Plotkin-Swing and a friend rappelled into the gully and climbed the opposite spire. “While I was waiting for them to cross the wire, I scrambled up some boulders. By then the view was phenomenal,” says the Australian photographer. “I love places like this where your mobile phone doesn’t work and you have the mountains to yourself.”
THE TOOLS: Canon EOS-1D C, 24mm f/1.4 II USM lens, ISO 200, f/7.1, 1/640 second
A Bird’s-Eye View of Pain at Leadville
At this year’s Leadville Trail 100 mountain-bike race, McBride wanted to shoot the course from a new perspective—above. “I competed in 2011 but spent a good 30 minutes lying on the side of the trail with miserable cramps,” says the Basalt, Colorado, photographer. “Riding in a helicopter was the antithesis of racing. I got to watch lines of people, all fighting their own personal battles, without any of the suffering.”
THE TOOLS: Nikon D800, 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 800, f/13, 1/800 second
Parting Shot: Bend/Oregon
Floating on Ice in Duluth, Minnesota
While fat biking in Duluth, Minnesota, last winter, Johnson stood on the edge of an ice shelf above the 33-degree waters of Lake Superior to shoot his friend Casey Krueger riding the floes along the shore. The city had endured the longest string of below-zero days in its history, and the photographer, who lives nearby, wanted to capture the icebergs and gargoyles that had formed along the beaches at Park Point. “It looks like we could have been in the Arctic,” Johnson says, “but we were so close to Canal Park that even if I’d fallen in, I could have gotten out and walked to a coffee shop three blocks away.”
THE TOOLS: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24–105mm f/4 lens, ISO 320, f/8, 1/125 second
A River Ride in Missoula, Montana
To shoot Missoula, Montana, river surfer Ian Stokes carving this icy wave last June, Marchesi, who lives in Bozeman, traveled to northern Idaho’s Lochsa River. Stokes grew up riding ocean breaks near Tamarindo, Costa Rica, but four years ago he discovered river surfing. “Once you adjust to the fast-moving water, it’s phenomenal,” he says. “It’s like an endless wave. As long as you stay on your feet, you can keep making turns forever.”
THE TOOLS: Canon Mark III, 70–200mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 200, f/10, 1/20 second.
Climbing a Waterfall in British Columbia
Last February, Skupinski photographed British alpinist Tim Emmett and Slovenian Klemen Premrl on the final pitch of a climb leading out of the Helmcken Falls spray cave in British Columbia’s Wells Gray Provincial Park. The photographer, who lives in Calgary, rappelled down the side of the waterfall until he found an angle where he could capture the scale of the 460-foot plunge. “The falls are so powerful they never really freeze, even when everything around them is coated in ice,” he says. “My camera was getting sprayed the whole time.”
THE TOOLS: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 17–35mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 200, f/4, 1/320 second
High Above Telluride, Colorado
In May, Sohner and his girlfriend, Janelle Huelsman, traveled from their Denver home to traverse the Via Ferrata, a horizontal climbing route in Telluride, Colorado, consisting of a series of step-like iron rungs embedded in the rock face. As she made her way across, Huelsman, who was new to climbing, found her stride. “I don’t think she looked back once,” says Sohner, who shot her with the 365-foot Bridal Veil Falls visible in the distance.
THE TOOLS: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24–70mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 200, f/7.1, 1/60 second
Parting Shot: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
A Surreal View Above Namibia
During a trip to Namibia’s NamibRand Nature Reserve in March, Allofs was hoping to take a few bird’s-eye shots of the area’s wildlife from a powered paraglider, 600 feet above the ground, when he noticed these fairy circles. While some scientists believe they’re etched into the landscape by desert termites, the photographer’s vantage gave them an expressionistic appeal. “The patterns were so otherworldly,” says Allofs, who lives in Santa Fe. “I felt like I was shooting a 15-mile abstract painting.”
THE TOOLS: Nikon Coolpix P7000, 28–200mm f/2.8–5.6 lens, ISO 200, f/6.3, 1/250 second
Parting Shot: Western Colorado
Buckle Up on Oregon’s North Umpqua River
Photographer Charlie Munsey knew he’d snagged a classic shot when he captured Canadian kayaker Katrina Van Wijk dropping over 80-foot Toketee Falls on Oregon’s North Umpqua River last March. “The falls are runnable only a few weeks out of the year because of hydro-project diversion,” says the White Salmon, Washington, photographer. “Katrina was the first woman to ever tackle it.” Van Wijk’s line was clean, but the entry was harder than she expected. “She broke her nose on the deck of her boat when she hit the water,” says Munsey. “She’s one tough woman.”
THE TOOLS: Nikon D700, 70–200mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 800, f/5, 1/640 second
Looking Down on Tofino, B.C.
Despite freezing December temperatures, photographer Jeremy Koreski couldn’t miss the opportunity to scramble an open-air floatplane and shoot aerials of longboarders waiting for a swell off the coast of Tofino, in British Columbia. “This is one of my favorite stretches of water, and I had this image in my head before we took off,” says the photographer, who lives nearby. “Still, after only 15 minutes in the air, we were completely frozen. The first thing we did when we landed was grab a hot drink.”
THE TOOLS: Canon EOS-ID X, 70–200mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/1,250 second
Exploring the Depths of Guangxi Province, China
During a nine-day caving expedition in China’s Guangxi province last January, photographer Francois-Xavier De Ruydts captured Belgian caver Nicolas Borchers as they were both about to enter the Jiangzhou system at a confluence of three giant passages. “From there we surveyed 35 pitches on rappel and five pitches of climbing, opening up six miles of new passages,” says the Vancouver, British Columbia, photographer. “But the best surprise was the subterranean river we discovered on the second day. It reinforced my reasons for getting into caving. The days are dark, wet, and cold, but the challenge is incredibly rewarding.”
THE TOOLS: Nikon D800, 24–70mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 1,250, f/2.8, 1/50 second
Parting Shot: West Maui, Hawaii
A Backyard Playground in Sandpoint, Idaho
Woods Wheatcroft didn’t have to travel far to get this shot of his friend Andy Feuling paddling under the Long Bridge, on Lake Pend Oreille, during low water last fall. “This spot is almost in my backyard,” says the photographer, who has lived on the banks of the 43-mile-long lake for the past 13 years. “It’s like a big playground. I’m not sure I’d live here if it weren’t for the lake.”
THE TOOLS: Canon 5D Mark II, 135mm f/2 lens, ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/250 second
Getting Lost on Caddo Lake, Texas
While paddling a rented canoe on Caddo Lake, near the Texas-Louisiana state line, Hanson came across these two men creeping through a corridor of cypress trees as the sun started to rise. “You can get lost so quickly in the maze of those trees,” says Hanson, who grew up in Atlanta and now lives in Seattle. “The South has always been my favorite place to take pictures. It’s layered with history and characters.”
THE TOOLS: Canon 5D Mark II, 70–200mm f/4 lens, ISO 400, 6/6.3, 1/80 second
Spirals in Great Salt Lake, Utah.
Since 2011, Tom Fowlks has been photographing land-art installations around the Southwest. Last spring he captured his father, Bob, in front of Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, built in the 1970s on the north end of the Great Salt Lake. “I’d been doing research on these sorts of art projects and wanted to convey the idea of open-space viewing, in contrast to what you might experience in a museum,” says the Los Angeles photographer. “We’d get to those places and often spend the night. The whole thing was like a visual expedition.”
THE TOOLS: Horseman 4x5, 150mm f/5.6 lens, ISO 100, f/32.3, 1/2 second
Parting Shot: Santa Barbara, California
Above the Wave in Maui, Hawaii
When setting up this shot of Kai Lenny at Jaws on Maui’s north shore last April, Berthuot knew he wanted a different perspective than the other photographers would get. “Most people shoot from the cliff in front of the wave,” says Berthuot, of Maui. “Instead, I ran as fast as I could out to the left side of the wave to be parallel to Kai. It was worth the extra work. This ended up being my favorite shot of the day.” Exposure, June 2014.
THE TOOLS: Canon 1D Mark IV, 600mm f/4 lens, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/1,250 second
Getting Big Air in Virgin, Utah
At the 2013 Red Bull Rampage mountain-bike competition in Virgin, Utah, last October, Gore got this shot of Brendan Fairclough gapping a canyon by pointing his camera up from a ravine 30 feet below. “Brendan built the same feature the previous year but never attempted it because he crashed higher up,” says the Bellingham, Washington, photographer. “This time there was a crash pad set up at the bottom, and we photographers were all waiting to see what happened. He got his redemption with a clean landing.” Exposure, June 2014.
THE TOOLS: Nikon D4, 16mm 2.8 fish-eye lens, ISO 800, f/11, 1/4,000 second
Parting Shot: Yosemite National Park, California
Rolling the Seymour River, B.C.
Last June, to photograph John Irvine in the middle of a kayak roll on British Columbia’s Seymour River, Manley set his camera to time-lapse mode and fastened the 20-pound underwater housing to Irvine’s boat—a risky enterprise, considering that the housing doesn’t float. “It’s part of my never-ending book project shooting various sports from point-of-view angles,” says Manley, of Vancouver. “Lucky that John is as strong as he is. I had him do about 70 rolls that day.” Exposure, May 2014.
THE TOOLS: Nikon D600, 17–35mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 3,200, f/2.8, 1/1,000 second
Navigating the Arctic Circle
Last August, while documenting glaciers in the Arctic Circle for Project Pressure, a photo-archiving organization, Thymann discovered this tunnel cut by hot air from the ground below, rising and melting the ice. “The striations in the walls are almost like rings on a tree, indicating thaw and freeze over time,” says the London photographer, who had to navigate a stream of glacial melt to set up the shot. “But what really struck me was the color of the ice. It’s extraordinary.” Exposure, May 2014.
THE TOOLS: Canon 5D Mark III, 24–70mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 250, f/2.8, 1/60 second
Parting Shot: Anchorage, Alaska
Gliding Through Moab, Utah
To get this shot of Kevin Chirico BASE jumping from the top of Looking Glass Rock in Moab, Utah, last July, Rogers stashed his camera at the bottom of the rocks, made the first jump, and rushed to capture Chirico from inside a nearby sandstone arch. “At just 127 feet, this is one of the lowest BASE jumps in the area, which makes for a very technical and immediate deployment,” says the photographer, who lives in Moab. “A lot of people climb and rappel here, but I find that a parachute descent is much faster.” Exposure, April 2014.
THE TOOLS: Nikon D800, 2470mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 200, f/8, 1/320 second
Drenched in Forks, Washington
Last December, when Anderson and Montana fly-fishing guide Jenny Grossenbacher headed for the Olympic Peninsula, near the town of Forks, Washington (of Twilight series fame), hoping for a week of perfect steelhead fishing, they never expected the weather to get the better of them. “It was nasty the whole time, and the fishing was completely miserable,” says the Mountain Home, Idaho, photographer, who spent five days shooting with a vintage camera in the pouring rain. “On the bright side, the conditions made for great lighting.” Exposure, April 2014.
THE TOOLS: Graflex R.B. Series D 4x5, Pentac
Parting Shot: Squamish, B.C.
Capturing Carbondale, Colorado
If Carbondale, Colorado, photographer David Clifford had to name the one place he’s photographed more than any other, it would be Aspen’s Highland Bowl, the hike-to terrain off the top of 12,329-foot Highland Peak. “The bowl contains some of the best in-bounds skiing in Colorado,” says Clifford. “I’ve spent countless hours there studying and photographing it. It’s a love affair for the ages.” Exposure, March 2014.
THE TOOLS: Nikon D600, 50mm Zeiss f/1.4 lens, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/4,000 second
Perfect Timing in Squamish, B.C.
When a cold spell rolled through the Sea-to-Sky Corridor near Squamish, British Columbia, last December, Martinello didn’t pass on the opportunity to shoot Tim Emmett climbing this three-pitch feature, formed from frozen spray ice. “Tim had been working on it for two days when it disappeared as a result of warmer weather,” says the Squamish photographer. “Now we’ll have to wait for the next freeze.” Exposure, March 2014.
THE TOOLS: Canon 7D, 24–105mm f/4 lens, ISO 320, f/5.6, 1/500 second
Parting Shot: Prague, Czech Republic
Parting Shot: Amur River, Mongolia
Straight Down on Mount Baker, Washington
Last March, after a blizzard dropped nearly ten feet of snow on Washington’s Mount Baker, Gunderson and ski partner Josh Daiek headed into the backcountry and discovered a series of short cliffs near the resort. To get this shot of Daiek dropping off the rocks, the Bellingham, Washington, photographer positioned himself high on a ridge 400 feet away. Between him and Daiek: an avalanche path. “I was a little nervous to finish the line in the danger zone,” says Daiek, of South Lake Tahoe, California. “But I stayed on my feet and blasted right through to the safety of the trees.” Exposure, January 2014.
THE TOOLS: Canon 1D X, 70–200mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 320, f/5, 1/1,000 second
Flash Frozen in Eidfjord, Norway
To shoot climber Stephan Siegrist scaling a frozen waterfall near Eidfjord, Norway, last February, Senf set up three pocket flashes, triggered them by remote control, and captured this single image before the lights burned out a few seconds later. “We’d planned on installing a whole lighting system around the falls, which would have given us more time to work, but the conditions were too dangerous,” says the Interlaken, Switzerland, photographer. “By the time we packed up 30 minutes later, the flashes were covered in ice.” Exposure, January 2014.
THE TOOLS: Nikon D3, 24–70mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 1,250, f/5.6, 1/2 second
Parting Shot: Mammoth Mountain, California
Next Up: Top 13 Exposure Shots of 2013