Chasing Adventure with fellow Photographers – and Why You Should Do It Too!

Chasing-Adventure-with-fellow-Photographers

Photo by Christian Simmerl

Simon Markhof, Photographer & Vallerret Team Shooter is based in Bavaria, Germany. What this formal description doesn’t reveal is that he is also a Master of making Photography Adventures come to live and embraces every mission with great dedication to his shots.

This Winter, Simon and two other friends took a road trip around Norway indulging in the amazing scenery, bags fully packed with camera gear and the chat set on “Shutter speed” and “ISO”. Check out the nectar video by Simon’s fellow photog friend and travel buddy Christian Simmerl, which captures perfectly what a photo adventure is all about…

If you are interested, check out Norway’s best locations for photography, some of which are featured in the above video.

But Norway is not the only place these guys have gone together.

I was immediately intrigued when I learned that Simon & the guys only know each other through photography and that they continuously plan trips together with one focus in mind: Chasing the grand photo opportunity. I wanted to know more as I instantly saw the attraction of traveling with other photographers. But how would he explain the benefits in his own words and how do they plan their trips, when and where?

I hit Simon up to elaborate a bit on these awesome photography adventures and how he goes about making ideas and dream destinations become reality:

What are the main benefits of traveling with fellow photographers?

The best thing about travelling with photographers is obviously that photography is the main reason for visiting all kinds of places. Going on a photo journey is always dedicated to one goal… getting good shots! When you travel with people who are not interested in photography it can be hard to convince them to go on a 10km hike early morning, midnight or what time ever is good for the shot you have in mind…to be honest with most people it is impossible to make plans like that. I started photography a while ago and a bit later I started exploring the world. I never saw myself as a classic tourist who can stay in a hotel complex doing nothing all day long or things like that. I have to explore and I prefer doing it visually with my camera.

When you travel with you photography buddies or like-minded people it is not even a question that getting the best shot possible is always on top of the list. I like that! And I like that you always see new perspectives. I’ve learned so much from the guys I travelled with or met on my journeys. They showed me that my approach to photography is not the only one and it is always a good thing to broaden your horizon.

“With people who are not interested in photography it can be hard to convince them to go on a 10 km hike early morning, midnight or what time ever is good for the shot you have in mind… To be honest with most people it is impossible to make plans like that.”

Photo Simon Markhof

Photo by Simon Markhof

When did you start going on missions dedicated to Photography?

It was my girlfriend who introduced me to traveling and once I got the “travel bug” I wanted to explore more and more places with my camera. By that time I was already into photography and from that point onwards I made every holiday a “photography mission”. Thankfully she is supporting me 100% in what I do.

I started checking the destinations we were going to for photo opportunities and wrote to local photographers on social media before going to different places to get all the insider information and stuff like that.

I guess traveling and photography for me always were things that worked perfectly together and I could not imagine one without the other. I love the idea of capturing the essence of every journey with my photography. When I met Chris and Andi we planned some trips together mostly because we wanted to spend some good times together doing what we love and learning from each other to get better. I think this is the main reason why we go on photography trips. We enjoy escaping the everyday life and go out to shoot…so we just kept doing so from time to time.

“(..) getting the best shot possible is always on top of the list. I like that!”

Photo Chris Simmerl

Photo by Christian Simmerl

“I think this is the main reason why we go on photography trips. We enjoy escaping the everyday life and go out to shoot…so we just kept doing so from time to time.”

Photo Simon Markhof

Photo by Simon Markhof

How did you meet your “photog friends”?

It was Winter and I was shooting snowboarding at the local hills. I guess Chris must have heard about it, because he just wrote a message via Facebook asking me if it was possible to just come along for a shoot and maybe get a bit of film material. So we made a concept and just went on the slopes the weekend after. The shot with the melon through the trees was actually captured the first time we met! We did not know each other before but we knew from the beginning that our interests where the same and so we just met from time to time and became real good friends… just based on a random message via Facebook.

Chris and Andi know each other from their childhood and we met at another project Chris had in mind. It was some documentation for Motocross and somehow it just went from there. Andi and I are pretty much the landscape guys. Chris is not the biggest fan of landscape photography but he is awesome at capturing lifestyle and video. I can say that through our hobbies and professions we became real close friends.

Photo Simon Markhof

Photo by Simon Markhof

“The main thing is to go out there and shoot instead of waiting for that perfect moment to come to you. Just go and chase it.”

Photo Chris Simmerl

Photo by Simon Markhof

Photography Gloves review

Photo by Simon Markhof

Where have you guys been so far?

With my girlfriend I have explored a bit of Europe and the major part of New Zealand, Australia and a bit of South East Asia. I’m just about to publish a book about our travels to South East Asia and hope to be finished by the end of the year. With Chris and Andi I have been to parts of Germany, Switzerland and Norway so far but there are heaps of spots on the “TO DO LIST”.

I must admit I loved all the places I have been to so far. They are all different and unique and I feel very blessed that I have been able to see such beautiful places. The thing is that the beauty of nature is all around us. We only have to open our eyes or look just a little bit closer from time to time to find the perfect photo opportunity. The main thing is to go out there and shoot instead of waiting for that perfect moment to come to you. Just go and chase it.

How do you plan your photo adventures?

There is not one way to plan a photo adventure. We have a personal Google Map with photo locations we stumbled upon on 500px.com or Facebook or wherever. The first bigger trip was to Saxony Switzerland (Germany). Andi, Chris and I had a Facebook chat and I saw a photo of a bridge and googled its location. When I found out it was only 500km away from home I asked the guys and we quickly rented a camper and went of into the unknown. We had heaps of fun.

 

It was clear when Vallerret called for Shutter Showdown in Norway that this was a perfect opportunity for us to extend the stay and go exploring. So we booked flights, packed the tents and did not know much about what we would find or where we would go. We had Trolltunga in mind but found out that it was way too difficult to go there by that time of the year due to snow. So we changed plans and went somewhere else.

 

We had a fantastic little roundtrip with fjords, waterfalls and the aurora borealis. It could not have been better… It could have been warmer, but not better, haha! So to sum it up, most of the time we go on trips spontaneously and just see what we find. In my experience plans often fail anyways so we do not much planning and just go out and see.

Photo Chris Simmerl

Photo by Christian Simmerl

“…It has happened that I got up at 4am, went out because I expected morning fog and good light and it never happened. Landscape photography is full of these stories but as long as you had a good time, everything is fine.”

Aurland lookout. Photo Simon Markhof

Photo by Simon Markhof

Do you have any dream destinations or travel plans in the pipeline?

Oh yes…heaps. We have a Google Map full of photo destinations to explore around Germany, Austria and Italy. Other than that I have a few places on my bucket list. There is Iceland, the Faroer Islands, Northern Norway, Myanmar, USA and lots more. I want to see the whole world! But you can find good photo opportunities everywhere. Sometimes we just meet somewhere close to home and take some photos. Even if you do not get the best shots it is always fun.

Photo Simon Markhof

Photo by Simon Markhof

Has any of your photo adventures been a flop?

Nahhh…not yet. Even if you do not get the perfect shot you always have a good time or at least a good story to tell. I cannot remember coming home from a trip with no shots at all. Sometimes you have to be more patient than other times or you get different shots than you expected but if you are willing to take the best out of what is there you will always come home with a good feeling. But yes…it happened that I got up at 4am, went out because I expected morning fog and good light and it never happened. Landscape photography is full of these stories but as long as you had a good time, everything is fine.

Photo Chris Simmerl

Photo by Christian Simmerl

Do you have any tips on how to meet fellow photographers to mission with?

Sure! There are many things you can do. Don’t be shy. Try to find people to talk to about your photography. Online or in local communities you will find someone. Then share your skills with people interested in photography or try to get out shooting with people better than you. Just being open-minded and talking to people helps a lot. Otherwise I can recommend visiting workshops. Even if you do not learn much you will have great photo opportunities and meet like-minded people.

Photo Simon Markhof

Photo by Simon Markhof

Photo Simon Markhof

Photo by Simon Markhof

Your best advice to fellow photographers wanting to make the adventure happen?

Don’t get lost in too much planning or searching for reasons why you cannot go! In the end not going out there is worse than everything that can happen on a journey. Take you friends, a bit of money, search for a good destination and just go. The rest of the adventure will happen without doing anything. Staying positive is also a good thing! Negativity can become a curse in a group and a positive attitude helps a lot. Think about the story you will be able to tell in the end.

“Stop searching for reasons why you cannot go! In the end not going out there is worse than anything that can happen on a journey.”

Well put, Simon. Let’s stop talking about it and just get out there!

 

If you have any questions about photo adventures or just want to have a chat with Simon, feel free to contact him through his channels where you will also find a bunch of his amazing shots:

instagram.com/simonmarkhof

facebook.com/simonmarkhofphotography

simonmarkhof.de

 

Capture later,

Stine

Team Vallerret

INTERESTED IN DOING YOUR OWN NORWEGIAN ADVENTURE?

Check out Norway’s best photo locations, pinpointed on a google map

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