Life in Focus: Tim Kemple on Shooting in the Wildest Locations

The Phoblographer Tim Kemple Life in Focus F-Stop Gear images (5 of 5)ISO 2001-800 sec at f - 4.5

Tim Kemple is an adventure photographer who recently partnered with F-Stop gear to create a series called, “Life in Focus.” He has shot campaigns for North Face, Black Diamond, and loads of others. Tim’s work has also been featured many times by Phase One as he takes his gear out to capture vast landscapes and death-defying scenes.

In between hikes, we had some time to chat with Tim about his work and the spirit of adventure.

Phoblographer: How do you prep to go on journeys like this in terms of both gear and human needs?

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Tim Kemple: I try and divide my gear into categories. What do I need vs what do I want. Weight is a huge factor so picking lenses, cameras, food, etc are all important decisions. The important thing is that you get your bag to a weight that is manageable for several days and lets you keep up with the athletes (that are probably in better shape than you are!).

Phoblographer: Where do you get your inspiration from besides nature? Whose work do you really digg?

Tim Kemple: I’m not inspired by other photographers as much as I am by athletes. Seeing people devote their lives to sport is super inspirational for me. I know that they are the best at what they do, so I need to rise to the occasion and try and be the best at what I do. That inspires creativity and collaboration, which lead to new and special images.

Life in Focus E01 – Tim Kemple from f-stop || Gear on Vimeo.

Phoblographer: People love going out hiking and taking photos of great locations like this. But you combine environmental portraiture with landscape photography. How do you break into a gig like that?

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Tim Kemple: When you travel, climb, ski or whatever it is a multi sensory experience. When I photograph I try to bring home the sounds, the taste and the smell of a place… and in order to do that you need to see faces, textures, and details that compliment the landscape.

Phoblographer: Tell us about your gear and why you choose it?

Tim Kemple: This is a loaded question. I’ve shot with nearly every camera under the sun over the years. They are all tools and do different things really well. So I pick the best tool for the job. Right now I’m shooting a bunch with the Phase One iQ180 and Schneider Optics and the Nikon D800 with Zeiss Lenses. I’ve also been dabbling a bit with shooting stills on RED as we use that a bunch on my motion productions. I also love me some Nex-7 for an around town camera.

Phoblographer: When you go out shooting, how much time would you say is generally devoted to waiting for the right light, finding the right location, setting up, etc?

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Tim Kemple: Great question. The difference to me between a good shoot and a great shoot is in the prep. My team and I do a huge amount of research on locations, athletes, etc weeks before we shoot. We search Google, Flickr, buy local guidebooks, and talk to fixers to see what we can find that is unique or special. One advantage of hiking hut to hut is that you are always out for sunrise and sunset… so there is no excuse not to be shooting!

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The Phoblographer Tim Kemple Life in Focus F-Stop Gear images (4 of 5)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 4.5

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.