Best Boxer Briefs for Outdoor Sports – A Totally Unscientific Review

Boxer Brief ReviewAnd now for my most ridiculous blog post yet. Laugh it up now, but you’ll thank me later.

For years I’ve had a go-to in the performance underwear department. I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve put a LOT of miles on a particular pair. So earlier this summer when I was packing for a couple of weeks on an Alaskan glacier, I decided I’d bolster my collection.

I purchased a pair identical to the aforementioned heavily utilized garment, but then decided that I may as well give a few others a chance as well. I picked up a pair of the REI Boxer Briefs, the ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs, the Patagonia Cap 1 Stretch Boxer Briefs, and online I ordered a set of MyPackage Weekday Boxer Briefs.

I have now had a chance to put each and every one of these pairs of undies through the ringer, and there is a clear winner. But first, the criteria:

Smooth Fabric: how nice is the fabric against the skin?
Wedgie Proof: does the boxer brief stay in place, in the leg and rear-end areas?
Crotch Comfort: how nice is the banana hammock?
Quick Dry: if I get inspired to swim, do they dry quickly?
Supportive: is my equipment supported when it’s time to run or jump?
Easy Access: when it’s time for a trailside pee-break, how quick is the front panel access?

The Results:

Boxer Brief Review Chart

Yes, friends, this is one of the moments we all dream of. When the cheapest option turns out to be the best one. The REI Boxer Briefs are fantastic to the touch, wedgie proof, provide crotch comfort, dry quickly, support the junk and offer easy access – all for the very reasonable price of $22.50. Get ‘em here, and enjoy years of comfort in your nether regions.

*Disclosure – While REI is a client of mine, they had no part in this review, and I’ve received no compensation or oversight on this product comparison. This is purely my unsolicited opinion after some sweaty days in the backcountry.

Why I’m still a Weekend Warrior *mostly.

Weekend Warriors down by the river.It’s Friday! Three day weekend! And why do I, self-employed landscape and adventure photographer, care? Because deep down, despite the fact that it’s been years since I’ve had to answer to a boss, I’m still a weekend warrior. Which begs the question, why?

1. Professional Accountability. It’s easy to think that as a self-employed artist, I can make my own schedule, wander the earth, vanish from contact for weeks on end. In reality, most of us who are finding some success in this craft are doing so by maintaining a lot of relationships and keeping many irons in the fire. This means phone calls and emails to keep projects flowing. It means being present and available when my clients and colleagues are. Yup, we’re talking about Monday-Friday 9-5ish (at very least). Burn too many of those hours on chasing powder, and you become one of the flaky ones. Slippery slope, and one that I’m not particularly interested in sliding down.

2. Work/Play Balance. While it’s important to make sure you’re doing enough ‘clocking in’ as an independent artist. It’s equally important to make sure to do enough ‘clocking out’. There’s always work to do, and a million ways I can improve my business and brand by investing a little bit more time here or there, but I’m acutely aware that time away from the desk or the camera is as important to my business as time spent working. So many business owners get overworked and burned-out by bowing to the pressures of the job and working endlessly. The mind needs to rest, the body needs to run. Five days of hard work every week is plenty, the other two are best spent finding your bliss, whether it’s atop a mountain or at home with family.

3. Friends. I’m fortunate to get to work with a lot of amazing athletes and models. We get outside, we ski, climb, ride, camp, road trip. We get the shots. It’s awesome. But as much as I value this time with these amazing people, it happens on the clock. It means there are specific objectives, deliverables, creative briefs, and shot lists. I’m telling models what I need them to do for the camera, or I’m working with athletes in order to get in position to document an amazing moment. Yes, we have fun, but yes it’s work. When the weekend comes around, I’ve got a different crew of friends that I call, friends who have also been on the clock all week and are itching to go out and play. We get outside, we ski, climb, ride, camp, road trip. We don’t get the shots. It’s awesome. Although, I’ve gotta come clean here. Even on these weekend jaunts, I can’t help but carry a camera, and I’ve created some of my favorite images while out playing on the weekend. I guess nobody’s perfect.

Now, turn off your computer and have a Happy Labor day weekend!

Is the Sony RX100 III the Best ‘Pocket’ Camera Ever?

The Sony RX100 III - Best Pocket Camera Ever?I’m a strong proponent of the idea that ‘it’s not about the camera‘. I really am. To the extent that I hesitate to write about specific pieces of equipment because it moves the conversation away from the why/where/when an image was made, and puts the focus on what combination of glass, metal and plastic was responsible for recording the light striking the film plane. Fundamentally, you can create great photography with bad cameras, but a great camera is a useless hunk of expensive engineering without a creative being driving the process. Photography first, cameras second.

So, ranting disclaimer aside, I do love cameras. Admittedly I’ve amassed a small collection, and it seems to be expanding on a regular basis. The primary tools of my trade are the Nikon D4s, the Nikon D610, the Olympus OM-D E-M1, and the iPhone. The essential idea is to get the best quality possible in size XL, L, M and S. To have a kit to accommodate anything from high production commercial work to deep wilderness expeditions. I couldn’t be happier with the quality of the Nikon and Olympus gear, but the iPhone is, as anyone who as relied on a phone camera knows, a bit lacking. But, for all that it lacks, it’s got two key advantages: always there, and easy to share.

As Instagram has become an ever larger part of my photo sharing, I’ve started posting work that doesn’t just include snaps from my iPhone, but photos from my larger collection. This has caused me view image quality of the iPhone vs. the photos from my ‘real’ cameras side-by-side. You won’t be surprised to hear that I’m falling out of love with the phone cam. Which leaves the question: what is available that is always there, easy to share, and takes kick ass pictures?

Enter the Sony RX100 III. Read the reviews here, here, here, and here. It’s widely been declared the finest digital point and shoot ever built. Sony has packed so much image quality and speed into such a small package, it’s astounding. It’s been out on one of my missions thus far, and I’m strongly digging it, and moving toward love. I want to use the camera a bit more before I declare it a game changer, but here are the primary criteria by which I’ll be judging the camera:

1. Speed – Can I pull it out, turn it on and capture a photo as fast as I can with the iPhone? Will the frame rate and focusing handle fast moving subjects as I attempt to capture outdoor adventure of every stripe?

2. Quality – Can the image quality stand up to professional applications, including commercial advertising and the creation of art prints up to 30″ wide?

3. Sharing – Will the built in wifi interface let me quickly and reliably get photos off the camera and onto Instagram without going through the time consuming process of download and editing entire cards on my computer?

And just to let you know we’re dealing with a serious contender, here are a few photos from a weekend of alpine climbing where ounces counted, big cameras were a non-starter and this little dynamo came out swinging.

So far, so very good. Stay tuned for more results from this exciting bit of tech.

As always, custom fine art prints of all of my images are available. If you like my work, please follow me online at: FacebookInstagramGoogle+500px and Twitter.  More importantly, share it with a friend and give me a hi-5 when you see me next; let’s keep things in the real world here.  Thanks!

Welcome to the new WWW.SCOTTRINCK.COM !

Welcome to the new and improved home of Scott Rinckenberger Photography, Thanks for visiting!

The new website of Scott Rinckenberger Photography, featuring fine art, landscape, adventure, and commercial photography

Here’s a quick breakdown of the changes you’ll find on the new site:

  2. Art Projects Gallery – This area is for sharing collections of images that are shot for the sake of art, and are generally longer-term objectives. The art projects galleries are either collections which have already become art exhibitions or editioned fine-art prints, such as ‘An Elevated State‘ and ‘Photos for the Philippines‘, or projects in development for future execution such as ‘Panoramic‘ and ‘Snowscapes‘. The first image in each of these galleries gives a brief explanation of the project and/or the artistic motivation.
  3. Portfolios Gallery – The galleries in this area includes images created on assignments or adventures, and which celebrate the presence of people in the world’s beautiful places. The Adventure gallery features outdoor sports like skiing, climbing, mountain biking, running and surfing from around the world. The Commercial gallery includes work created on location and utilized by clients including REI, MSR, evo, Intel, Backcountry and Patagonia. The Portraits gallery is a new body of work which reflects my attempt to connect photographically with the people who add so much to my adventures and collaborations.
  4. About – You’ll now find a quick blurb about my background and approach as well as information about art exhibitions and honors that I’ve been fortunate to have received in my career.
  5. Prints – I’ve included a bit of information about my printing process. Drop a line to for information about ordering and pricing.
  6. Blog- The new site has a fantastic WordPress integration, so that the blog matches the site and will stay in sync seamlessly.
  7. Press – A collection of blurbs and links that feature nice people saying nice things about my work.
  8. Mailing List – Feed your love for photography and adventure. Stay up to date on the latest work from some of the world’s most spectacular locations. Be the first to know about new projects and art exhibitions, and get special pricing on prints and other Scott Rinckenberger merchandise. Join the Scott Rinckenberger Photography mailing list! I will not share your info with any outside parties, and will only contact you periodically with the most engaging news from the world of Scott Rinckenberger Photography.
  9. Social Links – Click them all, follow along, let’s stay in touch!

And now a few nuts and bolts:

  1. The site is built on the Photoshelter platform. They are an amazing resource for photographers, providing templates for sites like this one (called Element), hosting and e-commerce for stock photography, and a wealth of information for working professionals or aspiring photographers. Give them a look!
  2. The blog is on WordPress using the TwentyEleven theme with some tweaks to make it match the main site, thanks to Dartanyon Race for the coding help on the blog.
  3. The photos were edited and prepped using a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop from Adobe.
  4. Photos on the site were created with the following cameras: Nikon D4s, Nikon D610, Olympus OM-D E-M1, Olympus OM-D E-M5, Sony A99 and Sony A77. My current go-to system is a combination of the D4s, D610 and E-M1.

Your turn! I’ve purpously created a site that is very flexible and easily modified. I’m very interested to hear what you think! Too much of one thing? Too little of another? Just right? I’m considering this a soft-launch and will be refining over the near future. Leave your feedback in the comments below, and I’ll most definitely take your ideas into consideration. Thanks again for visiting the new site, I hope you enjoy the work half as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it!

Photos for the Philippines

El Nido Philippines - © JGAERLAN via Creative Commons Flickr

El Nido Philippines - © JGAERLAN via Creative Commons Flickr

It’s been a while since the images coming from the Philippines looked like this. Since the landfall of Typhoon Haiyan on November 8, 2013, the stories and photos on the news have largely depicted scenes of utter devastation. The statistics are overwhelming; thousands killed, hundreds of thousands homeless and without basic necessities. Problems like these do not heal themselves overnight, and though I salute the valiant efforts of the media and relief organizations who responded to the immediate crisis in the hours and days after the disaster, I am always curious about the story that continues once the news cycles have run their course.

The current situation is a story of slow recovery with the local communities largely self-rescuing and involves a staggering statistic: 90 percent of displaced people have resettled on the same plots, and are living in such shelters as they can devise with the existing very limited resources. This leaves these parts of the population even more exposed to future disasters than they were before the storm.

Gut wrenching images traveled the globe as documentary photographers and media outlets rushed to the scene of the storm, but these images of flattened villages and ships tossed ashore need to stand in contrast to something or they are too easily filed away as an abstract problem in an abstract place.

In my study of the Philippines in the wake of the typhoon, I grew aware of the storm and its effects to the country, but also had my eyes opened to an incredibly diverse country of over 7000 islands and a vibrant, happy and energetic culture. A world-class destination for sailing, diving, surfing, hiking, fishing and more, the more I learned about the Philippines, the more I felt the need to see it for myself.

My photography has never lent itself to the conveyance of news or tragedy, my explorations and subsequent captures are part of an ongoing search for the simple, the beautiful, the exotic, the adventurous. And yet, by applying this approach to travels in a land in need of desperate ongoing international support, I hope to inspire a new cycle of giving. Sublime beauty and devastating wreckage are two sides of the same coin, and each can illicit powerful responses.

As I travel through the Philippines for the next 15 days, I’ll have my eyes and mind open to what experiences and sights await, but my photographic goal will be to capture the beauty and soul of an amazing part of the world, and to share this beauty with everyone I can reach.

Upon my return, I’ll release a series of the best images for sale as fine-art prints. The proceeds from the sales of these pieces will be donated to the Philippines Red Cross, the leading relief organization in the ongoing relief and rebuilding in the affected areas of the Philippines. In the mean time, I’ll be sharing photos from the trip via Instagram (#photosforthephilippines) and Facebook as connectivity allows. The more people that take interest in this project, the higher the impact. Please share with your friends and communities, and help me bring visibility to the next phase of Philippines relief.

Doing it Right – ‘The Eight’ Snowboard Photography Project

You want to know where it’s at? The combination of passion and creativity. Art and Love. That’s why when photographer Gonzalo Manera dropped me an email to introduce me to his latest project, The Eight, I was totally on board. What is it? A beautiful 133 page volume of photography from eight of the most artistically gifted snowboard photographers in the world (BTW, the work of Thomas Stockli is beyond good).

The Eight - A Snowboard Photography Project

The curation, design, layout and production quality is all top tier. The idea is brilliant. I’ll let Gonzalo explain:

“With The Eight I wanted to give photographers the opportunity to show the world photo stories as they envisioned them, not modified by an Art Director or any commercial interests of a given sponsoring brand. The photographers are the ones deciding what material they submit. The final goal is to show amazing photography, no matter who the rider is or how old the photo is.”

No advertising and super high-end production value means that this pretty piece of work has a bit of a price tag, 25 Euro to be exact. But before you decide you’ll find your perfect mix of art and action elsewhere, let me share the final piece of this beautiful puzzle: you can download a FREE PDF version of The Eight from the website. If you love it as much as I do, help keep the project thriving by donating what you like online, or even better, order a printed version to keep on the table and impress your guests. It’s that good.

Freshies – A Few More from the Road

If you ever get the chance to hop in your car for a few weeks and check out the American west, do me a favor: take that trip. I’ve been back from my fall road trip for a little over a week, and have finally finished running through all of the photos I took. At this moment, these are my favorites from the second half of the trip. But back to the first point, please get out and see these places for yourself, there’s nothing like spending a month with a gaping jaw and an extreme case of overuse of the word ‘wow’.

As always, custom fine art prints of all of my images are available. If you like my work, please follow me online at: FacebookInstagramGoogle+500px and Twitter.  More importantly, share it with a friend and give me a hi-5 when you see me next; let’s keep things in the real world here.  Thanks!

Behind the Shot – Powder Magazine Dec 2013 Intro

A lot of my photography is done for the love of photography. But my ski photography, if I’m honest, is done for love of skiing. This is what makes it so sweet to have one of the most entertaining backcountry ski runs of the season yield a placement in the holy grail of ski publications, Powder Magazine. On this fortunate instance, I had a GoPro running as skier Brian Fletcher and I climbed, skied and photographed this northwest classic in the backcountry near Alpental, WA. Enjoy!

And here’s the placement in Powder.

Powder Magazine Intro Dec 2013 - Scott Rinckenberger

Powder Magazine Intro Dec 2013 - Scott Rinckenberger

As always, custom fine art prints of all of my images are available. If you like my work, please follow me online at: FacebookInstagramGoogle+500px and Twitter.  More importantly, share it with a friend and give me a hi-5 when you see me next; let’s keep things in the real world here.  Thanks!

What are the odds?

Scott Rinckenberger Meteor Joshua Tree

I’ve been shooting photos for 20 years. I’ve made my living in the profession for the last 15. I can count on one hand the number of times that everything lined up perfectly and a truly rare image was created. Now, I don’t want to toot my own horn about this shot, but the fact that, during a 30 second exposure, after a 10 second timer (during which I hopped down from the roof of my truck where the camera was on a tripod, and joined the scene by the fire), a meteor(or so they tell us) would enter the sky EXACTLY in the corner of the frame and explode in the very part of the frame that needed balance, just as I had finally worked out the correct exposure and lighting to match the foreground with the night sky, is beyond rare. It’s a non-chance. There is no way to plan for something like this. No way to even hope for it.

But lest you get the impression that I’m subscribing to a lifestyle of reliance on freakish luck, there is a deeper game at play here. Namely this: If you shoot enough arrows, eventually you’ll pull a Robin Hood and split the arrow that was already a bulls-eye. When I took this shot, it was the final day of my project shooting fall landscapes in the American West. Five weeks previous, I had left Seattle in my truck with no mission beyond creating and sharing beautiful photography as I chased good weather almost all the way to the Mexican border. Every morning, I was up shooting the sunrise. Every night, I was posted up somewhere scenic to shoot the close of another day in the great outdoors. From the Olympic rain forest to the Tetons, Yosemite to Zion, I was on an epic hunt. And, to be perfectly honest with you, toward the end of the trip, despite the thousands of images taken, and the enthusiastic feedback from the world at large, I was disappointed that I hadn’t captured a single transcendent image; an image that would make me want to burn my camera, a la Jimmy Hendrix.

Nonetheless, I needed a closing shot for the project. A shot that said, ‘thanks for joining me on this journey, and here’s to living the good life under nature’s roof’. So there I was, on the last night in the field, going through the motions. Legitimately not inspired, but professionally committed. Apologies to the idealists out there, but after a month of shooting the evening sky, you just plain get a little bit numb. But you’ve got to respect the process and do the work. Find a cool campsite, get a photogenic camp and fire setup, tweak the fire and tent to match the brightness of the stars, shoot a test image, make adjustments, shoot an image, another round of tweaks, shoot a photo, that looks pretty good, how about another for good measure, and WHAMMY!

My pal Hayden was the other guy at the campfire. His favorite part of the story? My response after I had climbed back up on the roof of the truck to review the image that I was hoping beyond hope I had captured. In my head: Exposure? Check. Focus? Check. EXPLODING METEOR? CHECK! And verbally (very quietly): “I’m done.” And those of you who know how the mind of an artist works, being done is a rare and beautiful thing.

As always, custom fine art prints of all of my images are available. If you like my work, please follow me online at: FacebookInstagramGoogle+500px and Twitter.  More importantly, share it with a friend and give me a hi-5 when you see me next; let’s keep things in the real world here.  Thanks!

Freshies – Black and White in the American West

I’m on a photo journey, as many of you know.  Thus far it’s taken me from my home state of Washington, through Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada and now California.  The purpose of the trip is to shoot fall landscapes, and as such, much of the work has been colorful by default; it’s the most colorful season of the year.  That doesn’t mean I’m getting soft, or I’ve lost my love for graphic monochrome images.  Quite the contrary.  Here are nine recent images from the road that thrive in the absence of color.  I’d love to hear what you think!

As always, custom fine art prints of all of my images are available. If you like my work, please follow me online at: FacebookInstagramGoogle+500px and Twitter.  More importantly, share it with a friend and give me a hi-5 when you see me next; let’s keep things in the real world here.  Thanks!