Australian photographer Krystle Wright has traveled the world shooting extreme sports. For her first So There I Was gallery, she shares the stories behind shoots on elephant polo, BASE jumping, climbing, and paragliding.
"I'd been dreaming up a specific shot of BASE jumpers in the Moab desert. A day before the shoot my paramotor pilot cancelled. I had only a few days before returning back to Australia. One of the local BASE jumpers recalled seeing a paramotor in town. We went in and found a two-seater flown by Rock Shop owner Lyn Ottinger. After some negotiation I had a replacement. The next day was marked by a nervous wait in the desert, but Ottinger arrived."
"We buzzed around as BASE jumpers leapt off Castletown Tower. Even though I didn't get the shot I imagined, I came away with some amazing pictures."
"On our rest day during a climbing trip to Yangshou, China, I decided to go mountain biking with a group through the countryside. I slowed down too much and lost my balance, and as a result fell into a six-foot deep ditch. The back of my head hit a rock and my bottom teeth came up and smashed my front teeth."
"After a quick trip to the hospital where they numbed my mouth and shoved some cotton over my teeth, I decided to finish the trip. I drank liquid through straws to avoid making any contact with the teeth, which were extremely sensitive. I couldn't let an injury stop me from shooting in such an incredible location."
"I turned up for an assignment to shoot the World Elephant Polo championships in Nepal not knowing that I would become a competitor. There were 11 teams, but another team was needed to even the draw. A group of us volunteered. I created a series of portraits of all the teams, including our team. (I’m on the far right.)"
"The next thing I knew, I found myself on top of an elephant with a 10-foot mallot in hand trying to whack a small ball. It turned out to be one of the most unusual, and fun, weeks of my life."
"In this photo, Argentinian Red Bull pilot Hernan Pitocco is performing a wing over high above the Karakoram Range. I took the picture from a dual paraglider. We flew consistently at roughly 18,000 feet, and had to watch our oxygen supply to avoid the threat of hypoxia. My hands often lost feeling in the cold, so I put them inside my shirt. An overwhelming pain surfaced as they warmed and the blood-rushed back. It gave me the screaming barfies."
A few days later, I was involved in a bad takeoff with my tandem pilot. We hit boulders on the steep hillside, and I blacked out. The team had to carry me down 600 feet of Sherpa trails before organizing a jeep to drive me roughly seven hours to the nearest military hospital. There was a slight hiccup at a river crossing which the first jeep couldn’t make it across.
"I was stretchered across a makeshift bridge, and another jeep arrived to finish the journey. I ended up with ten stitches in the forehead, a red eyeball for five weeks, internal bruising throughout my chest, bone bruising in my hip, and two fractures and a torn ligament in my foot. I plan on returning next year to continue the story."