For Corey Rich, photography and adventuring are kind of like the chicken and the egg analogy. Which came first? Not even he can say for sure.
"When I was 13 years old, we had a pullup contest at our junior high school," recalls Corey, who grew up in the Mojave Desert and now lives in South Lake Tahoe, CA. "I did 35 pullups and shattered the school pullup record. One of the teachers noticed me and invited me on a rock-climbing weekend. I went and absolutely fell in love with rock climbing, the mental and physical challenge, as well as the aesthetics and the camaraderie of being with adults.
"I loved coming back on Monday morning and being able to tell all my friends about it. I quickly realized that to tell a compelling story you needed images. I needed more than words. I needed visual proof. So I borrowed my dad's 35mm SLR camera. But, I also realized quickly that just because you had a nice camera did not equate with taking great pictures."
Ever since then—more than 20 years now—Corey has pursued both of his loves: adventuring and photography. "I've been whole-heartedly invested in being involved in many cool adventures with great people and recording those people, both in the form of still photography as well as moving pictures, or video," he says.
His work can been seen in publications such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, National Geographic Traveler, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Men's Journal and Outside. His list of commercial clients is equally impressive: Apple, Ford Motor Co., The North Face, Gore-Tex, Red Bull and Heavenly ski resort, to name a few.
Wherever in the world he's working, and whomever he's working for, Corey is still trying to tell stories. "I'm a photographer but my primary mission is, I'm a storyteller," he says. "I love sharing and communicating, sharing the adventures."
And what adventures. In 2009 he traveled to Switzerland to photograph athlete Dean Potter's world wing-suiting record—"flying" nearly 3 ½ miles over 9,000 vertical feet in a special jumpsuit.
Corey's repertoire includes "anything that's outside, and occasionally inside," he says. "I photograph anything from rock climbing to skiing to snowboarding, base jumping, scuba diving, wing-suiting, mountain biking, hiking and trail running."
To get those pictures sometimes means he's working at, oh, 2,500 feet off the ground and suspended by ropes. That tends to increase the number of things you have to consider while getting the picture you want.
"You're working with two or three other people, working at the outer limits of what you're capable of. You're trying to manage the risk of weather, falling rocks, and other dangers and risks, and you're trying to be there at the right time of day as far as light is involved. Then you have to be creative. You have to start thinking about making interesting pictures."
These days Corey's interesting pictures might include video as well as still photography. But multimedia isn't anything new to him. "I found myself early on taking my camera and my dad's Dictaphone, and syncing sounds to slides," he says.
"In the last few years all the things I wanted to do have been handed to me on a silver platter. You can now buy a single camera that shoots high-def video, takes high-res pictures, with sound, and interchangeable lenses for less than $2,000."
Still Corey insists he's not a gear guy. Instead, "I love having tools that make my job easy for me. I'm always looking at what is the latest and greatest tool that can make my job easier."
His "go-to" cameras are the Nikon D700 and the Nikon D3S. "I use the D3S when I need speed or when I need to shoot video. When I don't need to shoot video, then I rely on the D700. The D700 is my lightweight camera. It's a full-frame camera that allows me to move quickly.
"The D3S is the fastest, most robust camera that Nikon has on the market today. It's great for shooting sports when you need motor-driven sequences with fast auto-focuses. It's reliable and it shoots video, which is really for me the second biggest reason I'm using the D3S."
At home Corey says one of his professional cameras is always nearby, usually with a 14-24mm lens on it. But he also has a point-and-shoot camera ready, too. "I usually carry the Nikon P6000," he says. "It may be my favorite camera. What's cool about that camera is it shoots raw files, and it's a relatively wide lens. But I think the real beauty of this camera is that it can always be with you. That's key for the photographer. You can be the greatest photographer on the planet, but if you don't have the camera with you, it doesn't matter."
|Corey Rich has been an NPS member since 2008.|