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Adventure Sports Photography: Creating Dramatic Images in Wild Places by Tom Bol

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8. Portraits

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A large softbox creates dramatic light against a stormy sky in this portrait, taken at the crags in Colorado.

When I first started photographing adventure sports, all I wanted to do was capture the wild activities taking place around me. Who would believe a climber could pull up on that hold? Was a kayaker really paddling off that waterfall? My adventure photography focused on the boldness and wildness of the activities. But who were the athletes doing these extreme sports?

As my career developed, I began to realize I was missing a big part of the picture in my photography. I had lots of activity shots, but no close, personal portraits ...

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