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17 December 2018
As part of our "Introducing" series, we are interviewing amazingly talented photographers. Some have thousands upon thousands of followers on Instagram and others who have placed their efforts elsewhere in a bid to high light talents from all ends of the spectrum. Demonstrating that Instagram acumen isn't always a reflection on the passion and talent.
Given that we love adventure travel and we have a passion for the outdoors, we are stoked to interview sensational photographers who are killing it at the action photography game; from the mountains to the ocean and everywhere in between.
So we touched base with Christian Gollhofer from Germany to talk balancing your passions with your job, surfing in landlocked Munich and how to capture the perfect wave on film. We found out more about battling Instagram for exposure and how the stunning scenery of the German mountains inspired him to use nature as his focus.
Hi there I am Chris, I grew up in the far south of Germany, in a small area called the “Allgäu”. I am pretty fortunate to call this place home. Here you can find nature, culture and space for quiet moments. It is surrounded by mountains, so skiing and snowboarding is part of daily life during winter. In the Summertime there are some nice lakes to swim and trails to bike.
By the age of 3 or 4, I started skiing, then at 9 years old, snowboarding, later skateboarding and surfing. Somehow I like riding sideways. . . .
About 4 or 5 years ago, I moved to Munich, which is also pretty cool. Munich has a good (landlocked-) surf community at the famous Eisbach. And it´s still close to the outdoors. But city life is way more hectic, so I always try to keep stress low and don´t take things to serious. This doesn´t work out all the time, but I am trying to improve. When I am home I like to spend some time with our dogs and spend quality time with my family and friends. Oh, and I am veggie!
To be honest, since I started “reading” snowboard magazine when I was 12 or so. I only bought those mags just to see the pictures of my heroes. I always wanted to get a picture of myself to be printed in the mag. It never happened!My passion for actively taking pictures came way later. Just two years ago or so. Since I finished my studies and started a job. So now it is easier to afford the equipment and also more trips than as a student.
That´s for sure. And it still does. Sport or nature? I think both. When you do sports like snowboarding or surfing you will do it in nature (at least I do so). For example: If you go mountain biking, you will probably look for a nice trail through the woods. If you go for a walk, it´s likely to happen along the river. Snowboarding, well the ski lifts are really artificial but there are always cool slopes through the trees. So sport and nature go hand in hand...
Hmm, it is okay. I have flextime in my "proper" job. So I can start really early in the morning to have the afternoon off, or the other way around, start later so I can have an early bird session.I can take my overtime hours as well so I can take additional days off besides holidays, which is a big bonus for me.
Getting noticed is super hard. Especially on channels like Instagram. There are so many awesome photographers out there! I think in local areas it is a little easier to get noticed, in particular when you have found your own niche.Next level? I try to force myself to find new perspectives. But also accept that there are days where I didn´t take the picture I wanted.
Click this link to follow Chris on Instagram.
I started surfing about 8 years ago in Portugal. And I really got hooked. Only one year later I found myself in Bali doing a semester abroad for 6 months. During this time I have learned surfing properly. I mean surfing itself, but also how to read waves, why the wave period is important, why hightide isn´t automatically the best tide, and that a fish is not only an animal - stuff like this. But there is still so much to learn!After this super impressive time, I got a real slap in the face when I came back to Germany. But I figured out that there is also surfing. For example here in Munich at the Eisbach. Surfing there is different from ocean surfing but still super fun. Here I spent quite a lot of my spare time. Whether surfing or taking pictures. But to get to the ocean as much as I can, I try to spend all my holidays surfing. Most of the time in Portugal. I love this place. So much to see, friendly people, good food and good vibes. And almost everywhere a sheltered by where you can find waves that work.
For me, it is totally different than “land shooting”. There are other factors I need to consider. First of all for the equipment: There is this big chunky water housing for the camera which protects your camera. It makes the operation with the camera a little harder, but it is okay.I think this is the hardest task is the Environment. Water is moving so strong - currents and waves. Especially currents can affect your stability. Don´t panic when a current pulls you out. Water can be/get cold, also with a wetsuit. And you are always swimming, this can be really exhausting.And the ocean has its own rhythm. So you need to be ready when a wave is coming, not the other way around.
Surf, snow, bike. I stopped skateboarding. I sucked too much!
Make yourself clear, what kind of shot you want to get. A close-up, action shot or more some kind of landscape with a surfer?Find a good angle where you feel comfortable. (in water and/or on land)Have some knowledge about surfing, so you are less likely surprised by spontaneous manoeuvres. Better: know the surfer as well
I will go to Fuerte Ventura next week. Spending three weeks there surfing and taking photos. I think the desertlike environment with vulcanos it's pretty rad! A friend of mine and I are thinking about a trip to Italy early next year. Never been to Italy for surfing, but I heard that it could be good there...Besides this, I want to shoot way more snowboarding than last year.
That's it, that's all folks. Is anyone else stoked to ride some inland waves in Munich now and visit the German mountains? Us too!
Big love to Christian Gollhofer for taking the time to talk to us and educate us a little about paving your way in this industry. No doubt you, like us, are wanting to follow the hell out of Chris on Instagram to see all those amazing adventures in the pipeline. We can't wait to see more from Fuerteventura, Italy and beyond.
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