Introducing: Wij Travers
It’s not everyday we can get out on the mountain, but with the right picture you can almost feel the fresh alpine air rushing back into your lungs. For those in need of their photographic-fix, we caught up with friend and photographer - Wij Travers - to chat all things skiing, snow and shooting on the slopes.
Name: Wij Travers
Job: Currently looking for my next employer...know anyone?
Snowboard or ski: Ski
Favourite place to ski/snowboard: Verbier is my 'home' resort, but so far Japan has been the best place I've skied. I was there for six weeks and it's a totally different experience out there.
Dream destination: Kamchatka in Russia.
Favourite kit for the mountain: My fleece balaclava to go under my helmet keeps things nice a warm and my Saga bib pants - those pockets have been a game changer.
Most likely to find you carving up the piste or knee deep in powder?: Powder every time if there's some to be found.
What camera/kit do you use: I'm a Nikon man. Until Christmas I shot on a D7200 but I've just upgraded to a Nikon D850 which is epic. For some of my more everyday stuff I love shooting on 35mm film where I can. The experience is totally different and requires patience - there's no instant review and sometimes you only get one shot to get it right!
Favourite place to shoot: Japan was amazing. In a couple of hours on a bullet train you can be whisked away from all the bright lights and crowded streets of Tokyo to complete isolation in the mountains. The difference is stark - piles of soft, fluffy snow and an amazing almost crystal shimmer in the freezing cold air when the sun comes out. You have to pinch yourself as a reminder of just how lucky you are to be there. That said, the power, scale and angles of the rocks in the Swiss Alps never fails to impress me.
Where are you shooting next: I'm actually trading in for some warm weather, so next up is Mexico, travelling along the Yucatan Peninsula and then it'll be Revelstoke in B.C. in Canada. Might be a bit of a climate shock!
Where or what the dream location/person to shoot: I would love to get across to Alaska to shoot more of the scale I mentioned - there's a reason they spend a lot of time there in ski movies. Some more obscure locations where there is a thriving local community would be cool - Gulmarg in Kashmir is high up my bucket list, as is Bakhmaro in Georgia. And if I can't decide between snow and sea, the Lofoten Islands in Northern Norway when you can pretty much ski down to the ocean would tick the box!
How would you describe your photography style: In a word, random. I've never really tried to curate a particular style or aesthetic as I like to shoot very different subject matter. I end up snapping away at a lot of buildings as architecture and form really intrigue me, perhaps because I've never been very good with shapes. When it comes to skiing, I like landscapes. Ultimately, however, my favourite thing to photograph is people - it probably sounds quite cliche but when the focus falls on a pair of eyes, you really see into someone's soul and connect with an image in a totally different way. It makes you ask a million questions, find common ground with the emotions on display and can be a very powerful way of communicating. Perhaps there's something stylistic in that? For me photography isn't 'high art' where you often need heaps of context to understand a piece. It's far more inclusive and allows everyone to find meaning in a visual reference.
When did you take up photography: I started towards the end of University when I headed off on some travels, so it's been a quite a quick learning curve over the past couple of years. I always enjoyed looking at photos but never really acted on taking my own and it was always a running family joke that when it comes to traditional art like drawing or painting, I don't have a creative bone in my body! However, what started as a hobby has become a medium for me to story tell and find my own view of the world and the people or places that I feel a connection with. Hopefully I'll be able to take things a stage further and incorporate my photography into my career.
What’s the most challenging aspect of shooting in the mountains: Apart from getting cold hands, I think the two things are composition and light. When it's overcast, it's next to impossible to get any contrast and when the sun is out and bouncing off the snow, there are so many natural shadows and highlights, it's all too easy to overexpose your images. Oh and of course keeping your kit safe... condensation getting into your lens or stacking it skiing to your location can scupper the whole shoot!
What advice would you give to those wanting to take up photography: Get out there and take photos! Invest in and learn about your kit, experiment with different styles and techniques and ultimately make sure you're having fun with it.
Where can we see more?
On my Instagram page: @wijtravers