today is Nov 28, 2021

‘What do I want to be when I grow up’?

I was a teenager the first time that ‘Photographer’ was the answer to that question. Between high school and a photography career I grew my craft at photography school, gained some business education, lived in a van, worked bad jobs, and now find myself in Squamish, British Columbia.

I want to keep asking that question; there is always time to choose new paths, grow, form new ideas, and cast off old ones.

I still find my answer is ‘I want to be a photographer’. But, the specific dreams continue to change, be it co-directing motion projects, producing film, or dreaming of new and absurd sport equipment. I’m endlessly chasing the elusive rabbits; inspiration and creativity.

It feels ironic that my most memorable photographic creations are all highly orchestrated, like a theatre production or ballet. The images, in a way, don’t have much connecting them to any ‘natural’ skiing. It’s ironic because for myself, and many others, we’re trying to spend less time striving and orchestrating, and more time in rest, recreation, or community.

At least, that’s what we like to tell ourselves. — Reuben Krabbe

Tobin Seagel. Tombstone Mountains, Yukon

Photo Credit: Reuben Krabbe

Tobin Seagel. Tombstone Mountains, Yukon

The Trilogy: Aurora Eclipse and Nebula

A rare blend of ignorance and ambition is a formidable blend. Prior to this February arctic trip, I had only one night of winter camping under my belt. I simply accepted the lost sleep, frost nipped toes, complete exhaustion and background terror of spooky avalanche conditions, since I lacked a calibrated suffer-o-meter.

We left the mountain range having achieved several lines, and glad to have no accidents. But my head hung low thinking this shot wasn’t good enough. Minutes after uploading the images at home, a bit of brightening and corrected white balance elevated the image from delirious memory to a career launching success.

Cody Townsend, Brody Leven, and Chris Reubens. Svalbard, Norway

Photo Credit: Reuben Krabbe

Cody Townsend, Brody Leven, and Chris Reubens. Svalbard, Norway

When Mike Douglas told me that Solomon was interested in pursuing this project, my first instinct was to talk them out of it. There was in my mind, no reasonable business person in the world who should gamble so much on a project that if executed perfectly, still had a 60% chance of failure. But skiers aren’t known for their rationale.

Beyond the event and the movie’s success, this trip and the experiences connected to it proved to be watershed moments for many on the team. Cody Townsend started going up things. Filmer, Bjarne Salen's methodical return to snow after tragedy solidified, and the two of them would later go on to create The Fifty project. Anthony Bonello (Director) and Chris Rubens would return to the arctic the following year on a climate quest that would lead to transformative conversations and changes in many of our lives.

Considering the way celestial events mark pivotal moments in old myths or Shakespearean tales, why should I be so surprised?

Nick McNutt. Pemberton, British Columbia

Photo Credit: Reuben Krabbe

Nick McNutt. Pemberton, British Columbia

Years after Eclipse I picked at the scab and started the process again; Inventing a photographic trap in which I would become entangled for more than a year. The concept was born from the same seed, but centered around a hilarious question: could I commandeer a mountaintop telescope, and shoot sport photos with it? Strangely enough, no one answered the emails I sent to Hawaii, Chile, and other observatories.

The Orion Nebula featured in the image is, in fact, in the sky many nights of the year, but our eyes aren’t quite powerful enough to see it. Maybe an owl with superior night vision can look to the sky on a moonless night, and see this magnificent sight that appears as big as the moon itself. Though repeatable, this image was undoubtedly the most difficult of my career. It required houdini-like trick photography and expensive boutique gear that counter-spins against the rotation of the earth.

Nebula Trailer + Film can be viewed here: https://reubenkrabbe.com/nebula-film http://geni.us/Nebula_Film  

contact for model information

Photo Credit: Reuben Krabbe

contact for model information

This photo too, evaded my efforts to create it for many years. There’s a surprising number of people who will help with a creative vision. But even more won’t. The trick, then, is finding them.

Dave Treadway. Pemberton, British Columbia

Photo Credit: Reuben Krabbe

Dave Treadway. Pemberton, British Columbia

I’ll end with something less orchestrated. More real life. With a good friend who seemed extremely talented at living. Instead of aligning the universe with a powder turn, I turned my camera towards the slope below Dave and shot him doing his thing.

Simplicity is a funny word when related to skiing. Skiing is far from simple; it’s dangerous, it uses an entire suit of complex expensive technology that blends high performance fabrics plastics and composites. It relies on weather forecasting created by a network of satellites. Nothing about it is simple. But, when you drop in, that complexity melts away, and for a while, it’s all incredibly simple.

Powder Newsletter

Subscribe to Powder’s Newsletter to receive stories like this straight to your inbox.

Success!

Thank you for signing up. Your information has been successfully processed!

By signing up you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

In Case You Missed It