For those of you who want to reminisce and get excited about future adventure photography trips, the amazingly talented Sony photographer Stevin Tuchiwsky recently took some time to do a phone interview with us! Stevin has been an outdoor lifestyle photographer for almost a decade and has lived for adventure his whole life. Read on for an inside look at what goes into being an adventure photographer!
To start off our interview I asked the most basic question I could, what got you into adventure photography?
“I’m pretty outdoorsy to begin with. I love being outside and was always wanting to pick up a camera. I used to ride mountain bikes professionally, so I was used to being around cameras, and from there it just sort of evolved from being in front of the camera to being behind one. I think it all compliments each other. I have an eye for photography and, with my athletic background, it has let me create the amazing adventure photography I love so much.”
When you are getting ready for an adventure, what kind of prep work do you do?
“I start by checking Google Maps, doing research on, and about, the different locations I am hoping to go explore. Depending on where it is I’m going, I’ll also check park guidelines and restrictions. Then I’ll check the weather so I know how to prep my pack for the trip. I find prepping for a trip kind of fun actually, it’s another piece of the puzzle. Especially when I’m trying to look for a new, unique spot to create something different.”
What gear do you normally pack for an adventure?
“This definitely depends on the trip and the purpose of the trip. If I’m going out to do strictly photography, then I have a pretty basic kit. I’ll pack my Sony A7R III and usually three lenses; 16-35mm f4, 24-70mm f2.8, and 70-200mm f4. I like the Sony f4 for a few reasons, but mainly because they are light and don’t take up much room in my pack. They’re also quite flexible lenses. I don’t need a fast lens, I just push the ISO and adjust to my surroundings. The new battery in the R III also makes a huge difference, it’s like night and day. All of the new Sony gear helps me save gear space, which is always a bonus.”
Living in Alberta, where weather changes in the blink of an eye, do you have any backup plans in case things aren’t working out?
“I don’t really have a back-up plan, it just is what it is. I do my best to research, check the weather, and be prepared, but at the same time, a lot of the excitement comes from the uncertainty. Sometimes you get somewhere and the weather isn’t good, but you went all that way so might as well roll with it. Some of my best images come from little breaks in the worst weather. That’s what makes it fun and sometimes you just have to wait for some luck to come.”
How does your Sony gear hold up when the weather is questionable?
“I’ve never had an issue, knock on wood. But you still have to be diligent with your gear. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve put my gear through some abuse, but I also wipe [my camera and lens] if it gets wet, I don’t let my stuff sit in the bag, I air everything out, I take the extra time and it really helps.”
The next question I asked was a bit hard because there is no one answer. But, Stevin rolled with it and gave me a great answer. How would you set up for an epic shot like this?
“I make sure I prepped to be where I want to be for the best light, which is usually morning or evening light. I wake up early, make sure I’m all packed so I know I’ll get there in time to set myself up. Once I’m there it’s usually a wide-angle or mid zoom lens on my R III (I also have my Sony A7 II as a backup) and then I’ll adjust for the lighting and other factors, and it’s shooting time.”
What is your editing process like?
“Pretty average I think. I’ll put on a Spotify playlist, dump my cards, then make selects. Sometimes I’ll make some selects in the field, and edit from there. I don’t edit my photos much, I keep it pretty simple. One thing for sure is I can’t edit if I’m tired. If I’m too exhausted when I come home from a shoot, I’ll wait until the next day to start any editing.”
What are some of your favourite locations?
“Living in Alberta we have loads of amazing places to explore right here in our back yard, and many of them are up there as some of my favourites. But moving beyond Alberta, I think my most favourite places to photograph would be out on the East Coast of Canada, and Iceland. I was in Quebec and Nova Scotia during autumn and the colours are just so beautiful and vibrate out there. Then Iceland was just amazing all around, just such a cool and unique place to be.”
What are some of your own favourite images?
“Overall, my favourite images are super colourful and vibrant with a unique landscape or perspective. These are usually during early morning or evening hikes, or when I’m camping up on a summit and I capture these truly awe-inspiring moments. My very favourite would be of an ice cave I took in the Jasper Park area about 3-4 years ago. That photo is a staple of what photography means to me.”
With everything going on right now, I asked Stevin a COVID question and to my surprise, had such an awesome answer! Do you have any adventures planned right now with COVID-19 and the restrictions?
“Right now, I have no plans to be going out. I’ve been staying at home, respecting the restrictions, and just waiting for things to get better before going back out. Instead, I’ve been doing indoor shoots, replicating and making mini-adventure scenes with these little action figures I’ve found. I’ve been having a lot of fun with it! Between that and work, I’ve been keeping myself fairly busy which is good.”
Originals on left. Mini-adventure scenes on right.
When things go back to normal, where are the first place and the dream place you’ll want to go shoot?
“Right now I just want to get back out and not take things for granted, so the first would probably be our Rocky Mountains. As I said before, we’re lucky here in Alberta that we have all this beauty so close to home. But I want to go all over. I’d love to go back and explore Hawaii and Iceland again, but the number one place I want to go is the Dolomites in Italy.”
Let’s just say, I really want to go on an adventure right about now, but at least we got to get a glimpse into adventure photography through Stevin Tuchiwsky. Thank you so much, Stevin, for an amazing interview!
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