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Photographer Traveled 1,300 Miles, Camped At -22º F To Get This Shot

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Reuben Krabbe is one dedicated action sports photographer.

Based out of Whistler, British Columbia, Krabbe traveled 1,300 miles to Tombstone Territorial Park in the far north of Canada’s Yukon Territory to capture this epic photo of the Aurora Borealis with skier Tobin Segel.

The duo camped out at -22º Farhenheit during the project. No wonder Krabbe’s earned so 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), and been published in magazines like Powder, SBC Skier, ESPN Freeski, Switchback, Decline, and so many more.

We caught up with Krabbe to learn more about the image above. Here’s what he had to say. —Sean McCoy

Gear Junkie: What challenges did capturing the photo present?
Reuben Krabbe: A lot of things were difficult, for Tobin, skiing without a light is obviously very hard. For me, aligning and balancing flash vs. aurora was very hard. Also, the aurora likes to move and dance… cat and mouse games at 2am.

What inspired you to create this image? Was it planned in advance?
A shot like this has been in my head for many years. I wasn’t sure what it would finally look like, however I’m stoked with what we ended up capturing. Grant Gunderson’s star trail shot was an inspiration, too.

What did you use to light the skier and how did you keep batteries alive in the cold?
A single sb800 (flash unit) is the only artificial light. Since we had to carry a ton of gear into the park, I didn’t want anything more. Some good quality batteries… I don’t know what kind. Maybe I should have got an Energizer sponsorship?

What camera, lens, shutter speed, iso, f-stop was this shot at?
D700, 17-200mm, 15 seconds, f5.6, iso 3200

Did this take many attempts?
Yeah, there are about 4 or 5 other frames which didn’t work out.

I don’t see much ambient light. How did Tobin ski at night?
Tobin has worked with a bunch of photographers who ask him to do silly stuff like this. We memorized the gradient of the slope and the agreed target of the turn. After that, it’s a little bit of guess work, and a little bit of skiing by braille.

Where was the photo shot?
Yukon’s Tombstone Territorial Park. It’s one of the most remarkable and unknown landscapes in North America, though surprisingly accessible in summer. Google some images, it’s worth a trip!

Any cool upcoming projects you’d like to mention?
Hmm, I end up having a fair number of ideas that it’s beneficial to keep under wraps. I’m hopefully heading to Alaska in April for a crazy mission that I’m a little scared of… but that’ll have to wait a year.

—Follow Reuben Krabbe on Twitter: @ReubenKrabbe

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