On February 1st, my assistant and I packed up our gear and drove up I-5 to a familiar location. The Rogue River is an icon here in Southern Oregon and this Oregonian waterway is where we met up with native Oregonian Chris Korbulic. Being a kayaker and river runner myself, I had loosely followed Chris and his good friend Ben Stookesberry’s ridiculously courageous exploits, running not only some of the most difficult rivers in the world but running them in such out of the way and logistically challenging areas of the planet.
1859 Oregon’s Magazine hired us to spotlight a local athlete and we knew just the person to call for the shoot. Chris is from Rogue River, OR and grew up kayaking with his parents. Since his first trip down the Rogue he has been around the world on kayaking expeditions. The 1859 article highlights the local explorer and his incredible experiences from Africa to the Himalayas and back to the Rogue and High Sierra rivers. His African expedition with Ben Stookesberry and Hendri Coetzee was captured in the documentary film, Kadoma. A present-day expedition of a river in Africa that had never been kayaked before these three men took to the water. It’s an incredible story of an unknown experience and tragedy. Check out Chris’ blog for more first-hand experiences from his expeditions.
We spent 2 hours shooting on the bank of the Rogue. Chris told us about all the time he’s spent on the water and how the Rogue would always be special to him. He said after that first Class III experience he was hooked and wanted to run rivers as often as he could. I’ve been lucky to shoot quite a few athletes that I would call world class. Chris definitely fits this category, but he really fits the category of world class inspiration. He’s a perfect blend of humility, focus, skill, and big dreams. It was a blast being able to shoot Chris back in the place where it all started for him. Thanks to 1859 Magazine, our photo editor Aimee and Chris for an awesome story!
Shoot breakdown: We shot this on a cloudy day and wanted to take advantage of the natural “softbox” that was happening for us. However, I wanted to just ever so slightly give Chris a little definition and pop. We shot this with the canon 5dmkiii and the 70-200 IS II, with an 5′ diffused octa on a boom off to camera right . It was pretty wet and the rocks were quite slippery so keeping it simple was part of the plan. Shooting in this environment is about keeping it as simple as you can. I go by the quote of “the most dangerous place on the river is getting in or out of your boat.” Moss, water, sharp, big rocks, sand and a moving river all add up to a good way to take a big digger or break some perfectly good gear.