Can Social Media Wreck The Outdoors?

Sharing Locations on Social Media

I posted a photo on Instagram and Facebook last week with a question in the caption:

Question for the community: should we all be sharing the locations of the beautiful photos we share on social media, or should we withhold the locations in an effort to protect these fragile places and keep the outdoors a place of exploration and discovery? I see both sides of the argument and am interested in your thoughts.

There was a huge response, and the feedback ran the gamut. Some people have an ardent belief that if you go somewhere and capture a photo you wish to share, that it’s arrogant and selfish to keep the location to yourself. Others believed that the most fulfilling thing about traveling in the mountains is the exploration and that if you only select your locations by window shopping on Instagram you miss the whole point of adventuring. I think there is some validity in both cases, and I’d like to share some of the most thoughtful responses (with some edits for grammar) before sharing my final thoughts on the subject.

Arguments for sharing: on Instagram: Share. Those locations don’t belong to the person taking the photo. Keeping it secret, keeping it for yourself, is selfish and contrary to the spirit of shared public space and to the idea that these places can be life changing for people. Experiencing awe can make people kinder and more empathetic and it seems to me that those of us who find places can act as guides to someone’s discovery of a side of them they never knew they had.

@outofthewoods on Instagram: That’s a fantastic question! I’ve struggled with the same thing, I think I tend to lean on the side of sharing. Just because I know I was thankful for those that shared with me years ago when I thought Mt. Si was a great hike lol. There are some hikes though that I leave out details on, figuring if they are willing to put in the time to figure out details for themselves then I would hope that they would have enough respect to take care of the places they go to.

@Drew McKenzie on Facebook: Share, everyone deserves the chance to see and enjoy. If people experience nature they are more likely to want to protect and preserve it.

@vikingfoss on Instagram: I applaud These places have been around long before us, we don’t have any rights to them either way, and it’s up to the individual(s) that visit such places to keep them clean. Pack it in + pack it out. Everyone deserves the chance to Seek & Enjoy (with responsibility).

@stephaniefmcfadden on Instagram: I feel like couldn’t have said it any better. Share. Give people the chance to experience what you have, and give them the chance to NOT muck it up, before you just assume everyone else would destroy it. That’s an incredibly arrogant and self important way of thinking.

Continue reading

My Kits: Action Sports Photography Gear

Action Sports KitWelcome to part two of the My Kits series, in which I outline what gear I use and why I use it in my work as a professional outdoor photographer. In the first post, I broke down the essentials of my Commercial Photography Kit, a system built around image quality and gear redundancy, with little consideration paid to size and weight. In this second post, we’ll look at the kit I use for Action Sports Photography. Each individual item, or the whole shooting match can be rented from, which I recommend either as a solution to avoid the overhead of owning equipment, or as a means by which to experiment and test as you work to build your own perfect kit. But before we get into the nuts and bolts, a bit about how I shoot, which will shed some light on why I make the gear choices that I do.

There is one sure thing that I’ve learned about shooting sports: to get the best images, you have to be an active participant in the activities. That means that I set out with the intention of skiing, climbing, biking and paddling right alongside my athletes. This serves the purpose of giving better access and connection with my subjects, and also ensures that I cover enough ground to see a lot of opportunities to create a variety of images. The downside of this immersive approach is that I have my work cut out for me when it comes to bringing my equipment along for the ride. With this in mind, I’ve created a kit for action sports photography that I think hits the sweet spot between performance and weight and allows me to push my boundaries as a participant in adventures and capture the best images I can along the way. Continue reading

Freshies: Mountain Calligraphy in the Japanese Alps

If you’ve had your finger on the pulse of winter sports this season you’ve seen literally hundreds of dispatches from Japan as herds of North American professionals and enthusiasts headed west in search of the most elusive of snow conditions: deep, deep powder.

If your engagement in snowsports is more cursory, perhaps you haven’t even realized that Japan is a viable destination for skiing and snowboarding. If this is the case, let me be the first to share the good news. Japan is the real deal. It’s worth going just for the snow, but you’ll truly find yourself captivated by the culture, the cuisine, the hot springs, the scenery and a certain simplistic beauty in everything that surrounds you. In Japan you can find an aesthetic and spiritual purity that will set your mind right.

To know how this feels, you’ve got to go. But here’s a little sample of how it looks when the landscape, the snow and the people are in harmonic accord, as though the whole world were hand drawn by a master calligrapher, each stroke perfectly measured, but infinitely organic and inherently flawed, just the way nature intended.

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!

My Kits: Outdoor Commercial Photography Gear

Commercial Photography KitI’m often asked what type of camera equipment I use to create my images, unfortunately I struggle to answer these questions in the brief exchanges offered by the various social media platforms. See, there’s no quick answer; each piece of equipment I use is part of a whole. I think in terms of kits. Each kit has a set of components that are all mandatory to accomplish the job for which the kit is designed. My work ranges from large scale commercial advertising projects with RVs and moving vans to shooting technical ski mountaineering where toothbrush handles are sacrificed to save a few grams.

Through a lot of experimentation, I’ve landed on four different kits that I use to create my images. This will be the first of four posts in which I’ll outline the essential pieces of each of my kits. We’ll start with the largest, my Commercial Photography Kit. Each individual item, or the whole shooting match can be rented from, which I recommend either as a solution to avoid the overhead of owning equipment, or as a means by which to experiment and test as you work to build your own perfect kit.

Nikon D4S BodyNikon D4s You may be a Nikon user, a Canon user, a Sony user, a Hasselblad user. I’m not prejudiced, each has its merits. For me, in my pursuit of capturing fleeting moments in rugged places, the Nikon D4s is the best still photography camera in the world. I trust this camera with my livelihood, and know it like the back of my hand. When stakes are high, this is my camera.


Nikon D4S BodyNikon D4s Backup But the world is an imperfect place, and you can’t stop a commercial production because your camera is on the fritz. Every veteran shooter carries a backup body. For my commercial projects where weight is not an issue, I always carry a second D4s.


Continue reading

Dream Campaign: Apple – Shot on iPhone 6

Scott Rinckenberger Apple Ads
When I set out to start my photography business, I did so on a single precept; explore the outdoors, create an individual vision and share it with the world. My vision is based on the idea of art through adventure, and I’ve tried to create a body of work that is unique in approach and execution, blurring the line between fine art and hard core outdoor adventure. I share this vision as widely as the cosmos will allow, and put my faith in the concept that if you build it, people will come.

Who will come? And when? That’s where the mystery lies. This mystery results in a pendulum which swings between stress and euphoria depending on the day, week or month. It’s not easy to be an independent artist, but there are certain times when the stars align and dreams really do come true. Today I’m honored to share a case-study that I hope will inspire everyone to keep putting every ounce of energy into building their own vision of success.

When I think in terms of a list of potential dream clients, one brand rises to the top. The epitome of aesthetics meeting function, the company that has literally changed the world with its innovations, the brand that has redefined modern technology, culture and design. Though there are many pretenders, there is only one Apple.

For someone in my line of work, to receive a call from Apple inquiring about photography for an upcoming campaign is like picking up the phone and finding God on the other end. “Oh, hey God, wait…you are interested in my work? You want me to send some images? Let me drop everything, including the coffee cup that just shattered at my feet due to my momentary loss of motor control.”

I’m honored, humbled and beyond exited to share my contribution to the just released Apple Shot on iPhone 6 campaign. Now, somebody please pinch me, I think I might be dreaming.

To see more from this beautiful campaign celebrating photography from around the world, check out Apple’s World Gallery, search the hashtags #shotoniphone and #shotoniphone6, and keep peeking at the backs of magazines, this campaign is far from over.

6 Tips for Boosting your Instagram Game

@scottrinck on InstagramIf you’re like me, you probably started your Instagram account by posting random photos from your phone’s camera as you went about your life. Really, that’s what it was invented for. But times have changed and the bar has been raised. Instagram has become one of the most important platforms on the planet for sharing imagery. Its user base and engagement levels have made it a key piece of marketing strategy for everyone from independent creatives to the world’s largest brands. Here are some ways to stay at the front of the pack as the competition grows ever more fierce. Continue reading

Rent This! The X-Rite Color Munki Photo Color Management Solution

If you’re a professional, or an enthusiastic amateur in any visual field, whether photography, video, graphic design or digital art, it’s your job to make sure that your work goes out into the world looking like you intended it to look.

But despite all of the fine tuning you might have been doing on your trusty computer, you may be missing a crucial step, and losing a ton of control over your output. If you haven’t calibrated your monitor and the printer you use for your artwork to make it match the global standard, you’re rolling the dice on what your art buyers, customers or fans are seeing when they look at your finished work. But there is an easy solution.

My favorite calibration tool is the X-Rite Color Munki Photo Color Management Solution. It’s just as easy to use as it is effective. The bad news is that these things cost $450, that’s halfway to a good camera lens, and a purchase that many people won’t be able to justify. But, I don’t think you should buy one. I think this is one of the perfect examples of equipment that is far better rented than bought. For $37 plus shipping you can rent one of these systems for three days from Borrow Lenses and calibrate to your heart’s content.

Rent Calibration Equipment from Borrow Lenses

I recently purchased a new iMac Retina 5K, and decided to rent a Color Munki to get this monitor in-line with the rest of my equipment as well as to update the color profiles of my other displays and my printer, all of which need recalibration over time. I thought I’d share a behind the scenes look at the steps it takes to calibrate your equipment with this great piece of tech. Continue reading

WHO is Sierra Blair-Coyle? THAT is the Question.

Who is Sierra Blair-Coyle
I sat down to read a blog article earlier today called ‘Athlete or Model: What is Sierra Blair-Coyle?’. When I read the headline I was curious, even totally on board, but after reflecting a bit, I’m calling bullshit.

If you don’t know anything about Sierra, give the post above a quick read. It’s got all the background you’ll need. Long story short, she’s one of the higher profile climbers in the world right now because she is very visible online and, to quote the author of the post, “She’s totally hot”.

I follow Sierra on Instagram, and can understand the curiosity of the author, I’ve found myself wondering whether she’s a legit climber or just a pretty face with a talent for sharing in the digital age. Then a single sentence in the article put everything in perspective for me. Continue reading

Story Behind the Top 5 Grams of 2014 – #1 Alpenglow on Mt. Baker

Behind the Gram 2014 – #1 Alpenglow on Mt. Baker

Alpenglow on Mt. Baker

Original Instagram Caption: Heading up to the North Cascades for a weekend up high. It’s gonna be COLD, but it’s always beautiful! Hope to see some colors like this tomorrow morning.

Technical Details: Captured with Sony Alpha A99 with Sony 70-300 4.5-5.6 Lens @ 300mm. Exposure 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400. Color and contrast adjustments in Adobe Lightroom. Cropped and uploaded via Instagram.

I posted this image in November while en route to my first winter exploration of the year in the Cascades. The actual image is from a previous November excursion to one of my favorite haunts in the entire state. Here’s the story. Continue reading

Story Behind the Top 5 Grams of 2014 – #2 Ruth Gorge Sunset

Behind the Gram 2014 – #2 Ruth Gorge Sunset

Ruth Gorge Sunset

Caption as Posted on Instagram: Today on the REI blog you can find the photos from my favorite trip of the year, and one of the most amazing places on the planet. Click the link in my profile to see the whole story.

Location: Stump Camp, Ruth Gorge, Alaska Range, Denali National Park, Alaska.

Technical Details: Captured with Nikon D610 with Nikon 27-70 2.8 Lens @ 24mm. Exposure 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 640. Color and contrast adjustments in Adobe Lightroom. Cropped and uploaded via Instagram.

There are places on this planet that exist on a plane of visual drama that renders any written or spoken description completely impotent. The only wordsmith who has approached consistent success when writing of the sublimity of nature is the great John Muir. His words upon exploring the glacial landscapes of Alaska will serve well to describe the area captured in this image. Continue reading