This week we sat down with Adventure Photographer and Friend Of OROS, Krystle Wright, to talk about her most recent adventures in storm chasing and her new Short Film: Chasing Monsters.
(Photo Credit, Nick Moir)
How do you push boundaries with your work?
I am constantly questioning myself in how can I evolve myself. It's difficult for me to be fully happy with my work as I can't help think of ways to keep improving. I've slowly learned to take time to enjoy my work more but ultimately I'll start to move on and evolve into the next project. I also believe in my personal ethos that I would rather fail at trying something new than succeed in playing it safe. It's not easy as I've suffered through the failures, some more than others but there is also this gratifying feeling knowing that I refused to be complacent.
Tell us about how a project like your Storm Chaser series comes together. What was the output?
Initially, my introduction to storm chasing happen through the reason of creating a short film about Australian photographer Nick Moir for Canon Australia. I wanted to create a film that would shift the focus to the process of photography rather than focussing on a singular shot concept as most photographer films typically focus on. I was given free creative reign from Canon which is a dream for any artist and it gave me the chance to design an amazing team who also believed in the concept as we removed the aspect of any voice over. Photographs are a story in a singular moment in time and rarely do we have the chance to be there with the viewer to explain what was going on. It's through that notion I wanted to extend on and allow the film to be an extension of Nick's work and allow the viewer to not be influenced by Nick and celebrate the subjectivity of art.
Have you always been interested in how weather and environment play a role in photography
The adventure so often is defined by the weather. Perhaps it was always a natural progression that I've ended up storm chasing as an extension to the adventure work I've pursued for so many years. My goal in life is to be educated and I chase this through experience. The World Health Organisation has just listed Climate Change as a health concern as natural disasters such as bushfires are becoming more frequent. Just recently, I became inducted with a course with the RFS (Rural Fire Service) introduction to bushfires here in Australia as its impossible to ignore the signs of the current direction we are heading. I won't ever leave adventure but I am enjoying the new challenges to extend my skill set but more importantly continue to educate myself with the world around me.
Tell us about your favorite shot from the project.
I don't have a particular favourite shot since each photo always has its own backstory. I never compare experiences. I'll admit however that when I capture a lightning bolt in its prime moment, there is a special excitement there as they can be bloody hard to capture. It's a mixture of persistence and luck as it's difficult to predict where exactly it'll touch let alone race across the sky. The anvil crawlers are some of the most spectacular things I've ever witnessed and the sound of electricity crackling across the sky is just utterly mesmerizing.
(Krsytle Wright, photo credit Nick Moir)
What’s the craziest storm you chased?
It's difficult to rate storms against each other as there are so many variable factors contributing. One particular stand out storm, however, happened this recent season. We began chasing a supercell system in Eastern Colorado that tracked its way into the Nebraskan panhandle. There was a lot of moisture present this year primarily thanks to the snowstorms in Colorado and it was extremely difficult to find a clear sight of tornadoes as they would become rain-wrapped and therefore camouflage. It is frightening as all hell as we experienced when we knew a multiple vorticity tornado had dropped and as I white-knuckled the wheel through 2 inch hail and icy sloshy roads, somewhere to our right was this raging monster. Nick made the call and we pulled the pin because, without clear sight, the gamble was far too high for the chase. As we detoured and re-entered the RFD (Rear Flank Downdraft), it's treacherous with violent winds, the continuation of hail downpour and the added unknown factor of other drivers. I've witnessed idiocracy on the roads in storms as people panic and forget all common sense or awareness of their surroundings. I became stubborn behind the wheel and pushed on through the storm. An immense wave of relief washed over us when we could spot the silver lining of the sky which dictated the edge of the supercell. As we traced the edge of the supercell, so much energy had exploded in the outflow boundary that it soon became apparent we had stumbled onto a formation called The Mothership and storm chasers were calling it one of the most beautiful storms captured in the past decade. All I can say, what a phenomenal fucking day.
What gear do you always have on hand when shooting outdoors or traveling?
One item, even though not necessarily crucial is having my headphones as I can't live without my music. Of course, I always have my camera gear but other items I sneak into my bag would include a jacket as I seem to always get cold and snacks. After breaking my left ankle and continuously fracturing my right foot, I've developed some issues with long haul travel and now wear compression socks which do make a huge difference for my health. One last trick up my sleeve is that I travel with this red pepper hot patches that I use on my lower back as sometimes the long haul flights take a toll on my body and the heat patches keep the back loose and prevent it from seizing up.
Can you give us a couple tips for shooting outside? For extreme weather conditions? Common mistakes to avoid?
Funnily enough, one common mistake I am guilty of is forgetting to last minute check-up with the weather. I've been complacent at times seeing a bluebird sky and suddenly I find myself trapped by a thunderstorm high up on granite rock. It's worth doing a last-minute check and carrying a few extra items that'll protect me in drastically changing weather. Always pack a headlamp! How many times have you found yourself trekking back in the dark with an iPhone torch? A few other tips would include always packing a jacket for warmth, snacks in case that delightful greasy burger is delayed, and spare batteries will never go astray for your camera.
OROS is all about ‘Finding Your Beyond’ — What does that idea mean to you?
'Finding Your Beyond' to me embodies the spirit that our only limitation is where we set our own boundaries. No one else can dictate that limit for you and having the courage to challenge yourself is by far one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Even if there is that 'limit,' personally I get excited to push beyond that and see what I am capable of.
Be sure to check out Chasing Monsters and follow Krystle below to discover more of her work!