Flip McCririck has worked with some of the biggest brands out there (Nike, Red Bull, Target) and has also had the good fortune of photographing some of the most well-known skiers of our generation.
While he freely admits some of his good fortune was pure luck, it was certainly just a part of it. Because Flip knew how to spot opportunities and follow them, enabling him to create a one-of-a-kind career filled with priceless experiences.
The industry has no doubt shifted since he got into the game some decades ago, but much of his advice has no expiration. In our conversation, we talk about:
- How to pivot into another industry
- How to target ideal clients
- How to make yourself more marketable to commercial clients
Can you give us a brief overview of your photography career?
I was in advertising and worked for a company called Garrison Lontine in Denver. I was working long days doing regional ads and schlocking stuff. It really wasn’t all that much fun. My internships in L.A. before I moved back were better.
A friend of mine from Western State College in Gunnison[, Colorado], where I went before ArtCenter in Pasadena, had invited me up to Vail to shoot a World Pro Mogul Tour comp in the early ‘90s and I was like, Yeah, that sounds fun. And I went up and did it. They liked some of my work and invited me to the next event, which was in Aspen. The tour photographer for that got caught selling his multi-day pass that had a few days left on it and got fired immediately and I got hired.
“Bad Rad Bumpin’” Brad Holmes competes at the Aspen stop of the World Pro Mogul Tour. I started as tour photographer and from then on I always built in a bit of event coverage. USFO, big mountain and X Games were all really good practice. —Flip McCririck
Next thing I know I’m on tour traveling with Shane McConkey, Kent Kreitler, Dean Cummings, Seth Morrison, Brad Holmes — we had events in the U.S., Europe and Japan and I became good friends with these guys.
We’d go up to Alaska with our Barbie backpacks not knowing a thing. Back then it was Black Chip dropped you off and picked you up for 60 bucks, Red Chip was just a drop off and that was 40 bucks and you had to get back to Thompson Pass and hitchhike back to the little airport. And so naturally we’re saving money buying red chips and doing these epic glacier missions not really knowing what we were doing.
All of us were really passionate about skiing and we’re like, We don’t have any magazines, they’re all about real estate, let’s make one about fun. Kent [Kreitler] and Shane [McConkey] were a big influence on that, Brad [Holmes] came up with the name Freeze. And then luckily [Mike] Jaquet lived with those guys and he was the one who was able to put a suit on and go sell this idea. So that was Freeze [Magazine]. It seemed like it was out of somebody’s garage, and the next thing you know it was Time Warner and we’re all like, Whoa, this is cool.
That was a great ride. I mean, it wasn’t necessarily a long ride. Probably about 2005 AOL [America Online] had come in — which was crazy, talk about overvalued — and a bean counter drew a line and they kept 83 titles — Cat Fancy [Magazine] made it, Freeze didn’t, and that was pretty much that.
Then I worked as a freelancer for Nike, Oakley, Target, Red Bull. I learned at Freeze who was running double-page spreads, who was non-endemic and had big profit margins. It wasn’t the ski companies, it wasn’t the clothing companies, it was sunglasses and sneakers. I realized that so I chased it.
When I went to ArtCenter I was in the advertising world for my internships and I was an art director so I bought photography. I learned the business kind of backwards. Everyone might have thought I was a ski bum with a camera but that wasn’t really the case. I came in and played ball with people. I asked for money. I asked for the value of photography. You couldn’t go off New York numbers, you were maybe asking for 1/4 of what the guys in New York shooting fashion were getting. But at the same time I wanted to ask for real money because other photographers were kind of giving it away for free — the lifestyle was enough for them, you know? But I was like, Whoa, wait a minute, it’s not enough, I need to make money, I’m married, I have a kid.
Some clients I had to walk away from. We couldn’t work it out. I was willing to walk, but that became really hard in action sports because the athlete is dependent upon you for some reason. And if you’re killing a deal, you may be killing their deal too.
Kent Kreitler skis a glacier tongue in Valdez, Alaska. Style-wise, I always considered myself more of a “place” person. Put people in an amazing place and you got it. Those were the types of photos I liked so I went with it. The athletes always liked the approach but I may have lost an ad sale or two. —Flip McCririck
I didn’t have day rates, I had what I called a “situation rate,” and that could vary greatly. If I wanted to work with the people, I worked with them, and if I didn’t, I probably didn’t. I didn’t want to be known as the cheap guy. Who wants to be known as the cheap guy? That’s ridiculous. So I was asking for good money and, in the ’90s and early 2000s, there was good money up about until ’08 when the bottom fell out with marketing departments and a lot of them didn’t come back. If they did come back, they came back differently and allotted their money in different places than they used to. Print advertising was essentially pretty dead by then and that was the big carrot, always.
For a lot of my trips I had to raise a tremendous amount of money to go hang out with TGR [Teton Gravity Research] for six weeks in Alaska, and I’d raise maybe 2/3 of it upfront. I just charged fees for “first look” — 5 or 10 thousand dollars — and then we would work on usage fees from there. I had such a good track record that a lot of people would take that gamble with me, so to speak, and help fund my trip. During the Freeze days I also had travel budgets. I would try to make my cake, which was paying for the trip, and then the icing was going to be the profit, you know?
I did pretty well and made a dang good living doubling it up as a photo editor with Freeze and Time Warner. I was also doing Warren Miller Entertainment’s magazine called Snow World and I was doing books for them — I did a Jackson book, a Stowe book, a Whistler book, a whole bunch of historical books for them. I was also photo editor at Skiing for three issues, after they fired a guy. Then I asked for a ridiculous amount of money because I knew I was going to be stuck in a cubicle and they laughed me out of the office and hired someone else.
And then did you go on to The Ski Journal?
I was working as a freelancer and had a really good run from about ’05, when the plug got pulled on Freeze, until 2010 when I shattered my knee cap and it stopped me in my tracks.
I gave away like eight jobs that year. Every photographer who got a call from me knew what was coming and they’re like, Yes, yes, yes. And I was leading my clients on to good people so I actually have never gotten some of those clients back. That’s how it goes, but that’s always how I want it to go. I worked with those clients a long time, they were very fair to me and I owed them that.
After I crushed myself I got a call from Jeff Galbraith at The Ski Journal and I was like, Yes, I can work with you, I’m hurtin’ right now but I can make this work. I’ve always loved the publication. At Freeze I was lucky to get eight pages on a feature, but at Ski Journal I’m getting 14 pages on a feature and I could just go so much deeper on a profile or a place. It was a really fun experience to do.
What was your role there?
I was photo editor. Did that for three years, but working from afar was sometimes a challenge and it was hard for both of us to stay on schedule. They’re in Bellingham, Washington, and I was here in Colorado. We got it done but then it was time to get somebody in-office and both Jeff and I agreed it was time to move on.
What are you working on now?
I’m kind of regrouping on a lot of my old snow imagery and trying to keep some of it alive because I was lucky with the group of athletes that I was privileged to work with who really changed our sport.
When I was at ArtCenter, to maintain my sanity earning my advertising degree, I hung out in the print shop — printing on cotton papers and doing copper plate printing, which is what Albrecht Dürer did in the 1400s. He was the Renaissance man. I would really love to get my film work transferred to copper plates and printed as fine art, do something completely out of the box with it.
I’m also reinventing myself chasing fish. I chased snow for 25 years and now I’m chasing fish, specifically in the fly fishing world. I’ve been working a lot on the rivers in the West building a body of work. I fished a lot of my life but trying to bring a camera into the game creates new challenges and there’s been a lot of figuring it out. I can’t release that work on social media because pretty much if you’re releasing online it’s dead. It will not sell in the ad world, it will not sell in the editorial world, they do not want it.
So I’ve kind of disappeared off of social media while I rebuild and restock. I made some investments in gear, sold some long lenses and got an underwater housing. I’ve gotten to go on maybe eight or ten trips during the last three years — to Mexico, the Bahamas, the Florida Keys. These places actually remind me of Alaska. They’re vast, only they’re flat. I just love being in these vast settings, that’s what turned me on about snow a lot too, frankly. And it might just work.
Are these primarily personal projects at this point?
Some personal and now I’m starting to get some commercial projects, but they’re very much situation rates. You get trips paid for and that’s pretty much it. There’s no way you can tag day rates onto these things.
The second part of the challenge is, kind of like snow, if you go to Alaska, six weeks sounds like this immense amount of time. But I can’t even tell you how many trips come down to just two days that are clutch, when the whole trip is made or broken.
So that was the other reason I started with these situation rates because nobody is going to pay a day rate for six weeks in Alaska when you’re sitting in the Captain’s Choice [Motel] in Haines watching it rain for a week straight. It’s unrealistic to even expect that to happen. You’re lucky to get your hotel room paid for, quite honestly.
In Valdez, Alaska, for The World Extreme Skiing Championships the defending champ Chris Davenport was edged out by Brant Moles and we all got to take bystander Jeremy Nobis on his first helicopter ride. —Flip McCririck
Is there a lot of negotiation back and forth on figuring out your situation rates?
Yes, definitely. And you’ve got to be pretty smart up front knowing what you have to cover and be able to predict that really strongly or you’ll lose money. You’re not going to go back and ask for more.
But you need something to get going. I didn’t like to do trips where the deal’s after the fact and I’ve got to pay for this huge chunk upfront. I did not like working that way and that would usually make me walk from a deal.
I think you’ve got to be real careful and do your homework to learn what the value is. And that’s the hardest part to learn in photography. Nobody is going to teach you numbers. I’m a member of ASMP, the American Society of Media Photographers, and they put out a lot of guides but that’s really all they are — guides. And I can tell you, action sports [people] laugh at those numbers. That was impossible in the ’90s and harder today.
So how do you come up with your rates then? Do you talk with other photographers?
That’s your best game to play, definitely, is other photographers. And different markets. Because there are a lot of different parts. If you look at action sports and the outdoor market in general, you’re going to get paid differently working for Airstream or Coleman than you are for the latest water bottle company.
But you’ve got to start somewhere. So if your good friends just started a water bottle company, by all means dive in and do it as special as you can. Put some energy into it and make that thing look good. That would be my advice to somebody trying to start out and get commercial clients.
The editorial thing, it’s so not fair that it’s gone and has sort of been replaced with social media. Because editorial was the greatest way to get your name out there. You could target specific industries and specific media and the magazines sat around for a month. People would look at them over and over and your work didn’t just flash by on Instagram, you know what I mean?
If you get a glance today you’re lucky. We’re bombarded by thousands of images per day and therefore imagery has been devalued. There’s no other way of looking at it. And that makes it even harder starting out. While you didn’t get paid that well on a page rate editorially you could make it work. It wasn’t going to get you out of your van and pay your rent necessarily, but you might be able to get part of a trip paid, especially if you’re using your truck and driving around the West or something like that.
The other key part was working with your friends. I mean, that life part, nobody could pay me what that was worth. And that’s where I’m a millionaire.
So those are all choices you have to make. I had to be photo editing on top of it to make my whole situation work. I was making magazines half the year and I was traveling half the year and stocking my shelves.
I looked at my photography as a product because it’s problem solving. That’s how it’s used, either editorially or for advertising. You can create the coolest image ever but if it doesn’t solve a specific problem, then it’s not going to be bought. A lot of times that’s hard when you’re sending in work to magazines over and over and it’s getting rejected. You’re kind of like, Why? I don’t get it, my work is really good, it looks as good as what’s running. But it just didn’t solve the particular problem that needed to be solved. I think that you’ve really got to do your homework today and figure out what you want to do, who you want to work for and the style you want to have.
In the beginning I had a website and I backed off of social media on purpose. I would be in the airport in London and see a shot of mine on the cover that was printed as a screen grab that I was never paid for. So I just pulled everything. I didn’t want to track that or police the internet. That’s not the fun part of what we do. I want to be out there making imageries. I’ve always felt that if you make top-notch imagery the rest will follow. I learned that in school and I still do believe that.
Today, at this point in my career, I don’t want to spend the time just casting a huge, wide net, I want to cast a very specific thing. I’m targeting who I specifically want to work with and who I want to travel with and I’m sending them imagery via email.
I would think you’d have a higher success rate too.
I think I do and I think it’s going to work. I think my persistence is gonna pay off.
Who are some of your clients that you’re working with right now?
I’ve been doing some work with Sage Fly Fishing. I’ve been doing some work with some smaller companies that are doing price-point stuff. I’m going to South Dakota with a company called Syndicate.
I’m getting a lot more of my work out editorially in a few spots. In fly fishing there’s still some magazines left, go figure.
What do you recommend as far as copyrighting your work?
Copyrighting. It’s a tough one. Because honestly, it would take a lot of work to truly copyright your work through the U.S. government and not many of us really do that. I’ve done it before with some of my more famous work but I still see it all over the internet anyway, there’s no way around it. Once it’s out there, it’s out there.
I had high-res work that you could get on the TGR forum. Somebody asked for it on the forum and some European guy who had published some of my most famous shots put it on there. I was floored. I asked him to please donate to the McConkey Foundation if he was going to take my work. I don’t want the money, but it’s not free.
The CASE Act is up in Congress. It’s an ASMP project and I hope it passes. Because what we would love to see is some sort of sidecar [file] attached to imagery on the internet. Something more like what music’s done so it can be tracked a little bit easier and be protected. I work too hard for my work just to let it go.
Stealing imagery irritates me. It’s so hard for me to put my work online that I’m pretty passionate about even though some of it is 20 years old. But I need to as a photographer. I could do so many “McConkey Mondays” and “Throwback Thursdays” but I’m not really on Instagram and anyone advising me today would probably tell me I’m absolutely nuts. But it’s still kind of working so I don’t know.
I was always about providing stoke and so I’d like to provide that stoke again. I do think it’s probably time to start letting some of that stuff out there as I build my new direction and use it to kind of bump that.
Do you have a game plan for that new direction at this point?
A website. Keeping persistent with who I want to work for. And fine art too, making some time to do that.
I’m traveling, I’m going to some neat places and I am still loving life. I want to keep a camera in my hand.
How are you keeping the lights on right now? How does it break down with what you’re selling to companies like Syndicate or through editorial outlets or any other revenue streams?
Honestly, that part has been a challenge. I was ahead a little bit and then income my last few years has been as low as it’s been in the last 20 years. To a degree I’m okay with that because I realize that’s what it’s going to take. We just cut back a lot on what we spend right now.
I don’t ever expect to make what I was making in the late ’90s. I don’t think that potential is honestly there. I don’t want to quite say it’s a broken business model because I’m seeing people who are still having some success with it, people may have a gallery or be trying to sell a lot of prints.
I’ve had pretty good success over the years selling prints and that’s another area that I should really punch through simply because a lot of my work is really identifiable and recognizable and memorable. I am well aware of what images really had impact and everyone remembers Shane McConkey’s naked spread eagle, you know?
I just need to take some of my savings right now and put it into creating fine art. That’s the problem with fine art. If you want to make it it’s going to cost you some money. There’s no other way around it, nobody’s going to fund that. So you take some risk there. I’ve done a couple of books lately. A couple of fishing books which have been small, limited releases but there’s a spark there.
Shane McConkey slides a runnel on water skis in Bella Coola, BC, Canada. I learned to remain invisible — staying out of the way mentally and physically paid off as I got to build my career with visionary athletes and film companies. —Flip McCririck
Those are self-published books?
Self-published, yes, exactly. I’ve had a tiny bit of success with that.
You need to be doing a lot of things at once, I feel like, to be a photographer. There’s a lot of ways to monetize it, but a lot of it you are taking risks to do that. And I think that that’s more true now than ever.
When all these cameras came out with video, all of a sudden all of our clients were going, You guys, you have to shoot video. I’m like, I’m with TGR and Level 1 and Matchstick [Productions] and Poor Boyz, they don’t want me shooting video and I’m not going to go around these guys and get you some little one-minute piece. The athlete also doesn’t want to give the fourth interview to my camera that he just did for TGR. That’s absurd. But people did it. I was floored. I was like, I’m a still guy, I don’t shoot video, I don’t care if the camera does it. And all the athletes were with me.
It’s amazing how all these companies have fully gotten away with that. If you’re a still photographer you’re shooting video too, whether you like it or not.
What I’m most interested in is getting some sort of a wireless system that comes through the water that I can control from the surface and then I might start shooting some video. That sounds a little interesting to me.
Doing what interests you is important.
It’s important, yeah.
So I have been figuring that out. The still photographer title might be dead. I don’t know. We’re all content providers now. I miss film when I was an “artiste.”
So are you working mainly with brands along with a small amount of editorial?
Yeah, I’m kind of starting all over again and going back to that system right now.
Here I am again giving away more of my time for free, but that’s the kind of thing that will help you get your career jumpstarted and will give your imagery some viewership, maybe further and wider than you’re capable of.
Yeah, we’ve seen that across the board. The media world has changed dramatically from the heyday until now. With all these changes that are taking place, what drives you the most with your work?
I like taking pictures. It’s who I am, it’s what I do. It’s an extension of my arm. I still like a DSLR in my hand. I love the feel of it, I like the sound of it, I feel like I’m actually taking a picture. While we all take many pictures on our iPhones and it is true that the best phone is the one in your pocket, god I hate that as a tool. There’s no tactile or feel to it.
As far as personal projects, I’ve been shooting a lot of wildlife stuff and I always have. Out there, magic can be created in the moment. So that’s something that I would like to start releasing. It’s not really what I do but it’s another part of it and I definitely have some imagery I’m proud of.
What’s your creative process like and has that morphed over time?
The creative process kind of always was the same. I come from advertising and to me, the creative process is problem solving. It’s not for you, you’re trying to solve a problem for your client. Therefore you’ve got to shoot that and then maybe add your twist to it, the reason they hired you.
It’s a very logical creative process. Every photographer today has studied Ansel Adams and the system of thirds and we all use it consciously or subconsciously. So that’s built into how I frame things up and I’m very quick to put things where I want. And I shoot all manual always, always, always. I might see some auto settings in the beginning just to start with, but then I’ll go right back to manual.
How about lenses, do you like primes or zooms?
I like both. As far as carrying around, I’m carrying more zooms obviously because they’re more bang for the buck and weight. And I mean, when I was a snow guy, I did not skimp on carrying around gear. My 300mm f/2.8 that I carried everywhere was my money lens, it was my point of difference. I was known as Mr. Clean and it was worth every second of carrying that thing around.
When I look back, I tend to like long lenses for wildlife and some action. And then I tend to like really wide lenses. Other than portraiture I don’t really mess with the middle all that much.
Now I’m using lighter lenses being around water more. I find I don’t want quite as heavy gear, I want it to be more compact and to be able to get it in waterproof situations a lot easier. I’ve been using the 300 F/4 a lot instead of the 300 f/2.8, although I still do have it. I’ve definitely liked some of the new Nikon glass in the f/4 range but I still shoot most f/2.8 stuff.
When you talked about your success earlier a lot of it you attributed to being in the right place at the right time, with the right people, especially on the ski side of things. Do you have a certain approach to networking?
Sheer luck. [Laughs]
What about now?
This has been part of the process. In the beginning I was working with my friends. As I fished with better people, I didn’t want to just come into it without knowing how it was going to work.
With snow I knew how it was gonna work and I was known as the fastest guy out there. I remember when you’d have a guy come to Alaska from Hollywood — I mean, talk about bogging a group down. There’s probably nothing you could do worse. I didn’t want to be that guy so I had to learn.
I’m definitely still looking for creative ways and I still find the best ways are going directly to who you want to work for. I can’t emphasize that enough.
If somebody does send you on a trip, they just paid for you to be in Austria or wherever and they’re stuck in a cubicle, so giving a lot of love to anyone that shows you a bit is important. Send them a post card. Things like that are important, you know?
And figuring out ways to cut through the clutter today is going to help what you’re trying to do.
Because it’s overwhelming.
It’s overwhelming. And so for photography, figure out what you want to do and narrow that down. Don’t cast a wide net and try to be everything to everyone. Be specific. That’s the way it has to go right now.
How does your negotiating process work with clients?
In the beginning it’s a phone conversation and I’m just ball-parking. Then I may send them some sort of an estimate. Usually a usage fee is something that’s worked out after the fact.
The usage fee is always going to be your most important part of the game. It’s the hardest part but it’s coming around finally with the internet. Because traditionally you would’ve gotten a very small percentage for a usage fee in print but now we’re able to start charging more for usage which is directly selling a product. I think there is some value in that.
A bunch of my imagery has been used by different companies on Instagram but I don’t get paid for that. I don’t know who gets paid on Instagram. I mean, what’s an “influencer?” Can you take an Influencer 101 class at any college in America? Most influencers I know are people who have done pretty well in their respective areas and then they use that to attain some numbers as an influencer.
Making money with these forms of social media— boy, that’s an interesting one. I’ll be using social media as a tool trying to drive people to a website but I don’t want to drive people to buy anything. I’m getting irritated by that really quickly. Some of the people that I follow are always trying to sell something. It changes your feed, it changes everything and I definitely don’t want to be that guy, even though some people have successfully sold prints that way.
So you’re planning on delving more into Instagram in the future?
Yes, it’s not really me but I have no choice.
I’ve been following Instagram and looking at it for a long time trying to figure out how I want to use it and how I fit into it. And that’s just providing stoke. That’s really all I want to do. I don’t think I want to directly try to drive people to a place where I’m going to sell them something. I just want them to explore and enjoy. That’s what I see that tool as being useful for. I think Adam [Clark] does a very good job with that. I think his feed is good and he gets it.
Yeah, there’s a lot of different ways to do it.
A lot of the athletes right now are the ones that are in really tough positions because contractually they have to sell me something. And some of them do it really well and some of them don’t.
You look at Sage [Cattabriga-Alosa] — my god, what a great, entertaining feed. I don’t ever feel like he’s trying to sell me on the North Face, ever. I’m sure it’s been in there over and over and I didn’t even notice it because he’s really good at it.
It’s really interesting right now because we’re seeing a big shift in companies hiring athletes who have a much lower skillset but are very good bloggers. It’s kind of a pity.
Sage Cattabriga-Alosa skis a crazy looking Alaskan line in Haines. I was a junkie for pulling the doors and shooting from the helicopter. We were the drone. Maybe someday I will own one. —Flip McCririck
Looking back at your career, what have been some of the greatest successes you’ve had over the years?
Just sheer luck. Being in the right place at the right time when the wave that came through snow sport rolled through snow sport. I was able to catch it and stand on it for quite a while.
And the people I got to work with. When I was at the last McConkey Foundation event I was talking with Mike Gutt about how we had it so great and we were all so young and it’s probably never going to be that good again. We didn’t realize how amazing it was. Now I look back through my work and the memories are incredible.
I don’t know if there was one breakthrough. The World Pro Mogul Tour was a huge one. By who I got to meet and become good friends with and then I’m traveling around the world, skiing with my friends, going to the most magical places on the inside track. And having a purpose there, you know?
Everywhere from Japan to Las Leñas [in Argentina] to Austria to New Zealand to the mountains of the world. Alaska I think I’ve been like 15 times. Many of them just repeat, repeat. I loved repeating locations. I loved getting to know a place. I don’t like doing a 3-day trip anywhere, that doesn’t interest me. You’re never going to be able to pull the character out of a place. You can try. I’ve had plenty of those situations. But boy do I love repeating and getting to know the character of a place and building a body of work from a place.
I always considered myself a place person. In the very beginning of my career I made this announcement to people, I’m a place guy, I’m not a product guy. I was trying to differentiate myself with what was being done at the time and who was doing it, but I cut my own throat — I mean, are you kidding me? The athletes loved it but I was wondering why I wasn’t selling that much work to all the sponsors. Well, it was because they want to read their name on the ski. So, okay, we needed to shoot that too, Flip. You can do both.
Ian McIntosh was a part of many long trips and repeat visits. That was our strategy in meccas like Haines, Alaska. Get to know the place, increase the odds. —Flip McCririck
How about any setbacks, failures or challenges that have really informed what you do now?
There’s always going to be some failures. I mean, a bad flash setting or something when you’re halfway through a shoot is like, You better fix this soon and Don’t. Say. A. Word. Look calm and finish it. I mean, there’s always going to be moments like that that happen and you just have to make it work.
Maybe you’re in the last week of a six-week trip and you know you don’t have the shot. It’s kind of sheer terror and everyone’s saying, Should we stay longer? But then maybe Mother Nature finally cooperates.
Mother Nature was always the biggest “what if.” It was the biggest thing that was completely out of your control and you had to give time for it otherwise you were going to set yourself up to fail. I tried not to set myself up to fail. I tried to always set myself up to succeed even if it was going to cost me a little money in order to do that. That’s rolling the dice and sometimes you take additional risk and extend the trip. You have to always make it work and be creative. I liked a lot of the crews and film companies I was privileged to work with because they were often very adaptable people who knew that they had to come away with something too.
You can’t come away failing. There’s no repeat, we’re not going to go redo this trip. Even a run you don’t get to redo. When Seth Morrison or Sage Cattabriga-Alosa is skiing you better pay attention. You better know right where that crux is, you better have all your knowledge in that bank. You’ve got to do your homework out there. You’ve got to know this.
Seth Morrison charging on one of our best days ever (and there were many) in the Tordrillo Mountains, Alaska. I learned a lot from Seth. He had a line, “No unnecessary radio chatter.” You have time out there to look at the line, figure out the crux and what is going to happen. Calm down and pay attention, and save your questions. Without the athlete all you have is a pretty scenic. —Flip McCririck
When it comes to hopes and dreams for the future, you mentioned doing more fine art. What else are you looking at doing?
Just keeping a camera in my hand because I really enjoy taking pictures. I carry a camera around with me a lot and just shoot. I don’t always know what I’m going to do with it — a lot of it probably nothing. But I just enjoy it. It’s who I am. If I can keep monetizing it, which is becoming trickier and trickier, then as long as I can do it, that’s what I’ll be doing.
Interview edited for length, content and clarity. Artist’s work (images, audio and/or video) courtesy of the artist unless otherwise noted. All other photographs by Kim Olson.
- Adam Clark – photographer, videographer
- Albrecht Dürer — printmaker, painter from the Renaissance period
- American Society of Media Photographers — ASMP
- Brad Holmes — pro skier
- Brant Moles – pro skier
- CASE Act — Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019
- Chris Davenport – pro skier
- Copyright.gov — copyright work with the US Government
- Dean Cummings — pro skier
- Freeze Magazine
- Ian McIntosh — pro skier
- Mike Jaquet — co-founder of Freeze Magazine
- Jeremy Nobis — pro skier
- Kent Kreitler — pro skier
- Level 1 Productions / Josh Berman
- Matchstick Productions (also check out our interview with partner Murray Wais)
- Mike Gutt – ski industry veteran
- Pep Fujas — pro skier
- Poor Boyz Productions
- Red Bull
- Sage – fly fishing company
- Sage Cattabriga-Alosa – pro skier
- Sammy Carlson — pro skier
- Seth Morrison — pro skier
- Shane McConkey + Foundation
- The Ski Journal Magazine + former editor Jeff Galbraith
- Skiing Magazine
- Syndicate – fly fishing company
- Teton Gravity Research (TGR)
Some details on gear Flip uses.
“I shoot Nikon, I have shot Nikon since the film days. As a photo editor I realized it didn’t really matter what camera it was, I never even looked at that. It was always about the image. I think you can get really caught up in the tech weeniness of the world today and you don’t need the latest, greatest.
“My Nikon gear, most of it is one generation back. I tend to stay one generation back with gear. Number one, it’s more inexpensive, and number two, by then it’s all figured out. I don’t think you need to be on the cutting edge.”
“I like a Mac, I like the way it functions. When I went to ArtCenter in Pasadena, they invaded the school pretty early on and made us all cult members.”
“When I look back, I tend to like long lenses for wildlife and some action. And then I tend to like really wide lenses. Other than portraiture I don’t really mess with the middle all that much.”
Nikon 300mm f/2.8*
“The 300mm f/2.8 that I carried everywhere was my money lens, it was my point of difference.”
Nikon 300mm F/4*
“Now I’m using lighter lenses being around water more… I’ve been using the 300 F/4 a lot instead.”
“For editing Photo Mechanic is the jam, it’s so fast. It’s more of a newspaper program, actually, but you can go through thousands of photos so fast and it’s been my favorite for editing.”
“I’m mostly using this rather than Lightroom these days. Loving it.”
Adobe Lightroom* + Adobe Photoshop*
“For working on imagery I’m using Lightroom and Photoshop. I’m not so fond of the subscription-based thing, I liked using software and owning it. I have a version of Lightroom 5 that I use all the time and it seems to do pretty well.”
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