Based out of Whistler, British Columbia, Reuben Krabbe is a man to watch in the world of action sports photography. With a many awards (Whistler’s Deep Summer Photo Challenge 2012; International Freeski Film Festival’s Best Up and Coming Photographer of 2013; RedBull Illume Image Question 2013 Finalist), Reuben’s stunning images have been published in magazines like Powder Magazine, SBC Skier, ESPN Freeskie, Switchback, Decline, and so many more.
Mr. Krabbe clearly knows a thing or two about photography.
As such, he is our choice to help you in your quest for the perfect Christmas gift for the photographer on your list. Read on to see what products Reuben can’t live without.
Magee Walker: Reuben, it’s your lucky Christmas. Santa will be bringing you the camera of your choice this year. What will you be asking him for?
Reuben Krabbe: I just bought a new Nikon D4 this summer, so I don’t think I need to upgrade that. I’d love to get a retro style, single fixed lens, retro style camera. Something to keep on your hip and doesn’t scream ‘pro photographer’. Nikon just came out with the Df. One of those would make me giggle and scream.
Let’s say I’m looking to buy a camera for someone who is just getting started in the world of photography—a hobby photographer, if you will. What would be a good camera to get them as a Christmas gift?
RK: That one is legitimately tough. I have a bad habit of only looking at cameras more expensive than my own. So, I really don’t know what is happening in the amateur pro-amateur world right now.
I do have some advice, though: Stick with a brand you recognize— among them (Pentax, Nikon, Sony, Canon) there isn’t too much difference. I could use any of those cameras to make amazing images. However, you are buying into a brand for a lifetime, so Nikon and Canon are good SLR families to buy into.
What are your favorite camera brands to work with?
RK: Nikon for cameras, lenses and small strobes. Pocket Wizard for wireless flash triggers. Elinchrom for large studio strobes. F-stop camera bags are ergonomic, functional, and my back hasn’t been thrown out.
What is the best case you’ve come across for carrying your gear through the great outdoors? What makes for a good case/bag?
RK: F-stop makes great camera bags for the outdoor photographer. They are modular, letting you carry the volume of gear you want. And, they keep the ski/mountain bike photographer in mind: rugged build, water proofing, and avalanche shovel pouch. Pelican cases are perfect for longer expeditions with tons of gear and requiring international travel.
When you head out to shoot on the mountain, what do you take with you?
RK: Let’s say I’m heading up Whistler mountain to go skiing. Here is my list:
• Nikon D4
• 50mm 1.4
• Circular polarizer (the best filter you can buy) – a GREAT gift!
• F-Stop Loka bag
In terms of ski gear:
• Avalanche probe, and shovel and beacon – all Black Diamond
• Smith goggles and sun glasses
• Surface Skis
• Dynafit Bindings
• Merino wool layering
• Arc’teryx Gore Tex outer shells
And, of course, water, food, snacks, sunscreen, cell phone, and a spot device.
Editing is a pretty significant part of the process. What are your picks for computers and software programs?
RK: I use Apple computers, because the experience is aesthetic, otherwise there isn’t a major difference. Adobe Lightroom is great; I rarely need Photoshop for action sport photography. Fotoquote is a great gift price program to help you price your imagery.
An action sports photographer like yourself spends a fair bit of time standing still in some pretty cold conditions. What would be a good gift for someone looking to stay warm while out in the field?
RK: I always have a pair of toe warmers in case the worst comes to worst. The Arc’teryx Atom jacket is toasty warm.
For gloves I have a pair of thin leather Black Diamond gloves. They aren’t too warm but keep wind off and some heat in. Most importantly, I can still use my camera while wearing them.
I also have a large down filled mitt that Black Diamond makes for very cold conditions. It’s great for heating up cold hands.
Photography equipment can be expensive. What are the items you should spare no expense on, and conversely, are there items where you can go more budget without having the quality suffer?
RK: Buy things to buy them once and buy them right. You’re better off waiting than buying something in between quality. So don’t scrimp on the camera, lens, flash etc.
You can save money by buying used, but you are playing some risk. Don’t buy a medium quality lens.
Save money by eating cheap, drinking and traveling cheap. My career started living in a minivan eating peanut butter sandwiches for 3 meals a day, skiing on almost broken equipment. But, I was shooting with top quality gear. The photos from that time in my career are still useful because of it.
What is an overrated photography-type gift that you would be less-than-stoked to receive?
RK: Hmm, I hate lens baby images. So I wouldn’t be happy receiving that. I find the custom camera strap type of things a little silly too. But then again, no one has ever complimented me on my fashion choices.
Quality photo books are also a great idea. Not the ‘How to Shoot a Sunset’, but something by Joe McNally or similar — books that talk about trying to develop style, think differently, and shoot valuable work.
Check out Reuben’s work. He’s currently offering some MAJOR sales on select pieces—perhaps a little inspiration for your favorite photographer friend? —Magee Walker