Story and Photos by Leonard Maglalang
Adventure Photography has become one of the favourite forms of artistic expression for Filipinos. Coming from a tropical country, the first glimpse of snowfall feels like a magical experience.
Last year, a lot of Filipino-Canadians spent more time outdoors and enjoyed the beauty of the Canadian Rockies. A hobby for some, but a passion for many. Outdoor adventure became a vital aspect of the Filipino-Canadian community. From hiking a short route up to a big alpine peak, we now contribute to this arena.
K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta, a registered non-profit organization in Canada is the home of the Filipino Alpinists in Alberta. The organization continues to evolve with new members coming, honed by Founding and Senior members.
As every endeavour draws attention not every feat is for everyone. They would say, “that looks dangerous”, “It’s beautiful, but seems scary” or “take good care of yourself”. They are genuine concerns, especially from relatives and families.
Adventure Photographers knew that when photos are out and published, they draw different types of reactions and comments from the audience. As some of the photos look dangerous or even crazy, climbers didn’t go to these places with crossed fingers and hoped to make it to the top. They look upon danger as connected to what they do, and it has consequences.
Every time we step foot outside the door, it comes with a great risk of danger and uncertainty. Driving a car, commuting or even walking on a sidewalk can lead to danger as we cannot control the surroundings. We still do them and we are used to them on a day to day basis. The frequency provided by everyday routine makes the body and self-consciousness adapt to these situations.
When it comes toclimbing, climbers perform with a hundred percent appreciation of what they do, and they become used to it. They go with full safety equipment all the time. They are equipped with training, education, and years of experience in the mountains. Calculated risk becomes normal to them but extreme to others who don’t do it.
The real danger in life can be caused by doing things unprepared for the outcome and not to mention even illegal things or crimes that might hurt somebody.
Adventure Photographers manage risks and see them as a huge part of the job. Before they can shoot a subject, they need extensive knowledge of the subject. This is especially true for remote places, where they can expect physical risk or danger onsite. If they will attach an anchor, hang or rappel halfway the mountainside, they need to know all necessary information, equipments needed, and safety procedures before they can start shooting.
They spend enormous time climbing to be good enough at the activity so that it becomes familiar and even second nature to them. Once they become used to climbing, they can then perform a higher level of activity by adding photography. As they say, “the more time you spend doing something, the better you get at it”. Being proficient at this activity can give the photographers a better understanding and a broader picture of every risk so they can make the best decision even in a tight situation.
A vision for the shoot and a plan to execute it shall be considered with the same importance as having a backup plan in case the strategy didn’t work out on site. Before a climbing activity, they spend some time thinking of different ways to execute. Having a plan A, B, or C will help them to adapt and change to a different strategy if things will not work out with the original plan.
Don’t let the guard down though even if everything works well onsite. Take a moment to be in every angle and perspective as much as time and opportunity permit. A better framing can exist anywhere, especially in a good location of a spectacular Canadian Mountain Range.