How long has it been since we saw a village? I joined my friend Kei in Yukon territory's Whitehorse, located in northwest Canada. He had just returned from his trip to Nepal and I was on a pit stop during my two-week trip in Washington State. We were headed west on Alaska Highway in a motorhome. We drove through Taiga forest and were greeted with high peak mountains and freezing air. Countless birds flew freely, riding on the winds that blew from the snowy mountains. There were no signs of people nearby. As we exited the motorhome, we saw an expanse of great nature. The cold wind flowing from the Arctic Region brought plentiful snow to the mountains of this region, and created a beautiful and steep snow slope. For snowboarders who are passionate about the sports, this is a special place to challenge their limits.
We got back on the motorhome and continued our journey to Alaska. We arrived at a peaceful small town with population of 2,400, located 40 miles south of border. We needed a trusted guide and partner for ascending the mountain. We knocked on the door of Ryland Bell, an Alaskan native whom we got to know really well from our previous trip. We were greeted warmly as he opened the door and welcomed us. In the summertime, he is a salmon fisherman, but he doubles as a snowboarder in the winter. During our stay in Alaska, we joined his daily life.
It is best to have a guide who knows about the land we are to visit for two reasons. First, to help me understand the local lives. Secondly to avoid any hazadous situations while in extereme terrain. While listening to his advice, we sharpen our senses and harmonized together to help each other in the mountain. That is our style. We spend time together, and while the camera is pointed at the rider, we wait for nature to let us in. We can only start riding the great Alaskan slope when all elements are in harmony. The rider and the photographer stay focused to capture the magical moment where the nature and the rider are one.
As a photographer specializing in extreme sports, I am looking forward to the changes that mirrorless camera technologies will bring to photography, and enjoying the changes these new technologies have already made. It has toughness and mobility. Its compact and lightweight body enables photographers to explore new angles of view. Maybe there are already some photographers who are exploring the new possibilities. The interaction with nature creates magic. You just need to be there. Photography plays a vital role for me in the magical experience, and X-Pro2 and the X-T2 are the gear that I choose for my adventures.
Our journey to the Alaskan land had begun.
Tsutomu Endo started his career as professional photographer in 1998 and has been shooting snowboard scenes in Japan and around the world since. Based in Hakuba in the Japan Alps, he naturally gravitated to the backcountry, shooting in the mountains he has been exploring since childhood. Traveling widely, he has acted as an intermediary between snowboard culture in Hakuba and abroad. His recent work has moved beyond action sports into nature and art photography, searching for the beauty of our planet and highlighting changes to our climate and environment.