The Best Adventure Photography: Exposure 2016
Last January, Judge spent ten days in Sedona, Arizona, with her husband, Outside contributing editor Aaron Gulley, who helped test dozens of mountain and road bikes for the summer Buyer’s Guide (on newsstands now.) “Sedona sees snow only once or twice a year, and to have the light come out at the golden hour was really rare,” says the photographer, who lives in Santa Fe. “We started running uphill as soon as we got there. I knew it was going to be the most phenomenal shot ever, and it was.”
THE TOOLS: Canon EOS 5DS, 24-70mm f/2.8L lens, ISO 400, f/4.5, 1/320 second
During a weeklong trip to Mexico last March, Thymann, who lives in London, drove half an hour north of Tulum to explore a few of the water-filled sinkholes—called denotes–that dot the Yucatán Peninsula. “This one was really beautiful, and since it’s so difficult to find, few people make the effort to visit it,” Thymann says, describing the subterranean water where he captured freediver Jorge Robles Brain. “That stark curtain of light ends and makes it look like he’s reaching bottom. But really his journey has just started.”
THE TOOLS: Canon Mark III, 17-4006 f/4 lens, ISO 800, f/5, 1/50 second
"Surrounded by thousand-foot peaks on both sides, you feel like you're at the gates of some unearthly place," says photographer Chris Burkard.
Though he'd planned to spend only two nights at a hut in southeast Denali National Park last October, bad weather forced him to extend his stay to four. "These were gnarly storms," says Burkard, of San Luis Obispo, California, who was in Denali to explore the Ruth Glacier on skis and snowshoes. Then the skies cleared, offering a view by bush plane of black granite moraines forming streaks along the glacier's tongue.
THE TOOLS: Sony Alpha a7R II, 24-70mm f/4 lens, ISO 200, f/5, 1/1,250 second
"We realized we could have a crazy adventure in our own backyard and see pristine wilderness that very few people have seen in the wintertime," says Jackson, Wyoming, photograhper Taylor Glenn. After Glenn and wildlife biologist Taylor Phillips brainstormed travel ideas, the two decided to try a 32-mile cross-country ski tour from Old Faithful to Yellowstone's Bechler Ranger Station last February. In addition to crossings like the Ferris Fork, the six-day journey involved dragging a sled through deep, unpacked snow, fully loaded. "It was a battle," Glenn says, "but it was worth it."
THE TOOLS: Nikon D750, 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/3,200 second
Marcus Caston was almost certainly the first person of the season to ski the fjords in Nordurfjördur, Iceland, where he and Schirf traveled last April. “The roads were just being cleared up,” says Schirf. “Marcus spotted this line and said, ‘I want to jump off that corner.’” Schirf, who lives in Salt Lake City, followed Caston to the top of a 1,500-foot run, wearing crampons on the climb to keep his footing in the icy spring conditions. “I was a little nervous, but Marcus hit it like a true pro. It’s definitely my favorite shot of the trip.”
THE TOOLS: Canon 1D X, 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/1,250 second
Six months out of the year, 24-year-old Lempe lives in Yosemite Valley, California, where he was eager to take a group of friends to a favorite spot behind Middle Cathedral Rock. There he captured Colin Harkins slack lining above a pool along Bridalveil Creek. “It’s one of Yosemite’s hidden gems,” says Lempe, who pulled himself across a rope he’d tied to two giant pine trees, 50 feet above the pool, after leading the group on a three-hour hike. “They’d started wondering aloud if it was worth it, but as soon as we got there they were totally stoked.”
THE TOOLS: Sony A7, Voigtländer 15mm f/4.5 lens, ISO 500, f/8, 1/400 second
Last September, Medhurst visited Kazakhstan’s remote Charyn National Park, near the border with China and Kyrgyzstan, with writer Tristan Kennedy. Over three days mountain-biking along the park’s 700-foot cliffs, they saw almost no one, apart from the driver of the 4×4 that took them to the top of Charyn Canyon, where the photographer captured Kennedy and his brother, Rowan. “It was important to show how massive and empty the place was,” says Medhurst, who lives in London. “There was nobody there but us.”
THE TOOLS: Canon 1D X, 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 500, f/5.6, 1/2,000 second