Winner In The Spotlight

Shoot The Frame Winner in the Spotlight: Max Rive

By June 22, 2016 June 22nd, 2020 No Comments

There must be something about the name “Max” that makes for good photographers. Of course, most of the time (and by that I mean always), it’s not so much the name but the passion and determination to shoot and keep getting better that defines a person’s skill. Our second winner in the spotlight, Max Rive, proves this. Not only does he take breath-taking landscapes and sceneries, but the undeniable hard work and effort, not to mention the legit risk, he puts into capturing each frame is itself a laudable feat. We interviewed Max, hoping to get the details, the stories, and the thoughts behind the making of his awe inspiring photos, as well as the story of his very own evolution into the world of photography. If you think his think he’s pretty amazing for being able to take such shots, wait ‘til you find out about the man standing on those peaks. <strong>Tell us something about yourself. </strong> I’m just a lazy student from the Netherlands who has an obsession with taking photos from mountain tops. <strong>Can you elaborate for us on the story of how you discovered your interest for photography? Was there a eureka moment where you realised this is something you want to do?</strong> My parents took me to the Alps when I was a little kit and I was immediately amazed by it. There are no mountains anywhere near my hometown (the Hague) and after those visits as a kid I lost interest in landscapes and the mountains when I grew older. My passion returned when a friend came up with the idea to do a (bit too ambitious) hiking trip through the mountains. Although we had to give up after 3 days, I had the same feeling I had as a kid again. Since then I returned very often to the mountains in all seasons and always wanted to make the most ambitious, adventures and beautiful trip possible. Although I truly enjoyed every moment of it, I also wanted to come back with something more than just memories. I started to take photos with a small compact and even though I was just a beginner I already was looking for the most impressive photos possible. I was very ambitious. I always found my own locations and compositions. In fact, I was just shooting what came on my path during a hike or a climb. I’m sure this helped me a lot to develop myself as a photographer till the point where I am now. I am still learning a lot and this will probably never change. <strong>You mentioned starting out with compacts but you kept losing them. Any funny or interesting stories behind those events?</strong> For the first compact which I had to say goodbye to, I have to thank a friend who put my camera in his back pocket during a mountain trip in the Swiss Alps and then forgot it was there when he sat on the ground. Another time it was my own fault when I dropped one in the (French) Pyrenees 200meters above the valley. This was during a pretty steep climb and I could feel the pain when I saw the camera hitting the stones as it fell all the way down. Last time I lost my camera it fell out my pocket without me knowing it because there was a hole in my pocket. Of course it had to rain in the 30 minutes I searched for it so when I found it there was condensation inside the lens. After some days it stopped working. Oh… and one time I also forgot to take my camera with me. In all cases I was lucky I had a spare one or I could use som one else’s. <strong>How has changing gears affected your shooting style, and how does your shooting style continue to evolve now?</strong> My shooting style has changed very gradually together with upgrading gear. When you have a camera without viewfinder (like my compacts) you are more looking at the place than at the exact composition through your viewfinder. I now use a combination of both skills. I also only made an upgrade when I felt it would match my skill level. Another advantage of using a small camera is the amount of photos you take, which normally is a lot higher than using a bulky DSLR. When someone wants to start with photography I would always recommend to buy a small camera first. <strong>You mentioned before that as your interest grew and you became better, photography also became less fun. Can you elaborate on this? Is that still something you believe now? </strong> I started taking photos during mountain trips and summits in the Alps. Photography became more important to me till the point where I would wait for the light on that, sometimes, well known spot. During my recent trips from this year I experienced I get the best results when I only go out exploring again and find the locations myself. The most important thing is to go to the right location which suits your style best. This not only gives you the best results and makes you a unique photographer, it will also be the most fun. <strong>Your landscapes are stunning. Can you tell us more about your process of shooting? Do you plan locations for shooting or do you just go on hikes and hope for the best, etc?</strong> To compliment what I said before; I now do more exploration without preparing for some really specific locations. I always prepare a little though with Google Earth and online maps but most of the locations can only be found while exploring. During my last trip in Iceland I have only been to new locations. They often show up out of nowhere. I discovered an amazing snow cave while hiking to a waterfall I discovered the year before in Landmannalaugar, or seeing an unknown but unique looking waterfall (‘’The Lost World’’) in the distance while trying to find a place to cross a glacier river, and 100 meters further I find a pool with flowers in front of some great looking mountains. <strong>Your winning photo on Shoot the Land was a majestic landscape with a man standing on a precipice. This is also a recurring theme with your landscapes. It seems like there is a pretty epic story behind it. Can you tell us more? </strong> Haha, sorry to disappoint but it is not exactly epic. While 2 buddies and later on my girlfriend went by bus to a campsite in the middle of nowhere so they could lie in their tents all day while doing some lazy day hikes, I decided to hike all the way during both day and night time in the hopes of getting some keepers. It was also the moment I was not sure if I wanted to do photography professionally and I just bought my first DSLR in the hopes that it would help me make the next step. I started in Skogafoss (south of Iceland) in the morning that day and in the late afternoon I discovered this place when doing a little exploration off the trail. I really liked how both rivers in the valley (the right one isn’t visible because of the mist) came together in combination with the position of the setting sun. You can look for something like this for some time and find nothing or everything can just come together, which was the case here. It was a great photography day because on the next sunrise I took the ‘’First Contact’’ photo which is my most successful one to date. <strong>Also, who are those men and aren’t they scared? Haha</strong> Most of the men you see on my 500px page is a guy called Max Rive. When my girlfriend is with me I still take the photo and stand on that rock. This is because of safety reasons and, well, because I will always want to be the photographer. There are plenty of options to do this safely. You can use the self-timer, a remote control or the interval mode if there is any. I do take my time to see if everything is stable and if it can be done safely. There is always some adrenaline and often fear when going to these locations but it is most important that you can control it. This was the case last time in Iceland when I took a self-portrait in Thorsmork. I first made the climb without backpack (and camera gear) and when I arrived at the top I saw a rock similar to my ‘’Thorsmork’’ photo but this time the ridge looked pretty unstable with a 100 meter vertical drop on both sides. Later that evening when I was shooting, it was the photographer in me which decided to go stand there and certainly without my common sense. I must add that I do have a lot of experience in the mountains before I started with photography and it speaks for itself. You must never do something unless you are pretty sure YOU can do it safely. Always make sure you have the feeling you are in control of the situation. <strong>Apart from hiking and photography, what else keeps you occupied? Is your average day always filled with adventure and breath-taking sceneries?</strong> I wished it would be like that. My study keeps me busy (still). I also do a lot of different sports, which I’m addicted to really. I live in a city and there are no breath taking sceneries anywhere near but I often go to the nearest mountains in Germany and Belgium with my racing and mountain bike. Another big passion of mine is auto racing. I had my own racing car and went to various circuits in Europe but the financial costs became too high for a student like me and I had to sell my car. There was a time I wanted to do that passion professionally but fortunately I can still make that dream come true with photography in the future. <strong>What’s in the future for Max Rive?</strong> After finishing my studies I will travel the world and go to locations like the Himalayas, Greenland, Russia, the Andes, and the US and well – just everywhere you can find mountains. I always need to go do something new and I don’t like to do the same thing over again. I will however start giving workshops/tours in the areas I know well and I really love which are Iceland, the Dolomites, and Norway. These tours will be adventurous yet will have a certain comfort and are accessible for most people with a descent condition. <strong>Seeing how much your photos have circulated online, it can be said that you have a pretty strong following. Are there any tips or words of advice you’d like to impart on your followers who aspire to be like you one day?</strong> If you do like nature and the wild so much you could live there for some weeks and do everything on foot, go out and prepare a hike in an area you really like and feel connected to. Just see what (photography) locations you will find and what weather you will encounter. After some experience you will notice it becomes easier to recognise something good and unique. If you choose this style you have to invest some time and also have to accept you will not always get that stunner you might have had when going to Kirkjefell (Iceland) or Moraine Lake (Canada) but in the end it will be worth it. Getting inspiration from other photographers is always good so you can come with new ideas and input. At the same time I see a lot of beautiful photography but it also looks identical to me. Always keep faithful to your own style. <strong>Any last words?</strong> Thanks to everyone who inspired me with their photos and also thanks for all the great support I have received. I always appreciate that! Interview by Julia Escano – Shoot The Frame Max Rive: <a href=”” target=”_blank”></a>

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