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Whitewater Awards 2022 Photo of the Year

Presented by Astral

The exploration at the intersection of craft and whitewater performance is truly still in its infancy. Photography is perhaps one of the most accessible and explored mediums. Astral believes in the opportunity at this intersection and supports celebrations such as the annual Whitewater Awards. Take a moment to pause and reflect upon Top 5 finalists of 2022’s Photo of the Year category, presented by Astral. All photos courtesy of the Whitewater Awards.

Photo of the Year Whitewater Awards taken by Rod Hill of kayaker River Mutton; River Mutton in yellow boat sending waterfall Huka Falls in Taupo New Zealand
1st Place

Rod Hill

Whitewater Awards (WA): Where are you, who is the Rider?

Rod Hill (RH): Huka Falls, Taupo, New Zealand.

The kayaker is River Mutton / @river_mutton

WA: Tell us about this image. What inspired you to get this shot?

RH: This image is the culmination of months and months getting photos of kayakers doing their thing. But to get something a bit different is the hard bit. When the light started to pop which highlighted the thin line of whitewater, I knew I had something special.

WA: What camera did you use? Settings?

RH: For this picture I used a Canon 5D4 with the awesome 100-400mm Canon lens

1/2000sec, F4.5, ISO100 at 100mm.

WA: How long have you been taking photos? Of kayaking?

RH: I have been taking photos all my life but kayaking only since covid 19 hit New Zealand.

WA: Do you have a mentor or someone you draw inspiration from in photography?

RH: Michael Clark, Lorenz Holder and of course Chris Burkard.

WA: Do you have your next project/location locked in? Can you tell us?

RH: Currently sorting a trip to Mexico with George Snook and hopefully Rafa Ortiz as part of my Red Bull Illume prize at the end of the year. It has been pretty exciting learning new things kayak related.

WA: When on kayak trips, what is the best way to carry your camera?

RH: I’ve never been in a kayak. I do use a grigri and an old harness from my mountaineering days to get into the hard to reach spots. I did buy a new rope though! One day I might get a drone instead of rock climbing into stupid cold wet slippery and dark places.

WA: Is photography your profession?

RH: Absolutely not. Photography is something I do in my spare time. I used to shoot international target rifle competitions which required – like most competitive things – lots of time. Since finishing that, I have been able to indulge in my life long photography passion.

Thank You, Rod.

Photo of the Year Finalist Whitewater Awards taken by Riley Seebeck of Mike Allison; Mike Allison in black kayak pivoting out of water in a lush canyon in Tilton River near Morton, WA
2nd Place

Riley Seebeck

Whitewater Awards (WA): Where are you, who is the Rider?

Riley Seebeck (RS): Tilton River near Morton, WA.

Mike Allison is the kayaker.

WA: Tell us about this image. What inspired you to get this shot?

RS: The Tilton River has been dangled in front of my nose since I started kayaking two years ago. Class III/IV rapids surrounded by moss covered gorges with these incredible deep grey rock walls. I was told if there’s any river in Washington to shoot, this is one of them.

WA: What camera did you use? Settings?

RS: I’m shooting with the Canon R6 Mirrorless. 1/800sec f4.5 1600 ISO

WA: Do you have a mentor or someone you draw inspiration from in photography?

RS: I’ve always been a huge fan of Chris Korbulic’s work. He has an eye for the landscape which has always been the main draw for me. I love the way he uses the landscape to paint a bigger picture, we are just visitors in the water world and his photos really put that in perspective. Hope to paddle with him one day!

WA: Is there somewhere we can see more of your work?

RS: Flow Photo Co.

WA: Do you have your next project/location locked in? Can you tell us?

RS: Honestly pretty fired up to shoot my first NorthFork Championship in Idaho in June! See you all there!

WA: Is photography your profession?

RS: Photography has been my main gig since 2019. It was pretty scary quitting my job as an MTB trail builder for 6 years and not having much money at first! Growing pains are real but it’s worth every lesson and moment of struggle!

Thank You, Riley!

Photo of the Year Finalist Whitewater Awards taken by Chris Korbulic of Valentine Gutierrez; Kayaking through a canyon with rays of sun shining in from above; Quinault River, WA
3rd Place

Chris Korbulic

Whitewater Awards (WA): Where are you, who is the Rider?

Chris Korbulic (CK): Quinault River, WA, the rider is Valentine Gutierrez / @vvale_gutierrez

WA: Tell us about this image. What inspired you to get this shot?

CK: I had stood at this spot a handful of times before, usually in the rain or with harsh light, always wondering if the sun ever hit the water. Awed by the gorge. I thought around mid day mid summer would be the best chance, then managed to get there at perfect timing during a multi day paddling effort in the valley with Valentine and Stookesberry.

WA: How long have you been taking photos?

CK: I’ve been carrying a camera on the river for about 15 years.

WA: Do you take photos other than kayaking?

CK: I do, but definitely focus on things in rivers.

WA: Do you have a mentor or someone you draw inspiration from in photography?

CK: Inspiration from many, really those who have created their own unique style, found a weird niche or made it, tell human stories with their images, especially in the name of conservation.

A few Ben Thouard, Perrin James, Steve McCurry, Emmanuel Lubezki, Marc Adamus, Ben Knight.

WA: Do you have your next project/location locked in? Can you tell us?

CK: Much of this northern hemisphere summer in BC and Alaska on various projects.

Thank You, Chris.

Photo of the Year Finalist Whitewater Awards taken by Kalob Grady of Adrian Mattern; Scouting Minus Rapids on the Zambezi River at the base of Victoria Falls; blue skies and a rainbow shines at the bottom of the image
4th Place

Kalob Grady

Whitewater Awards: Where are you and who is the Rider?

Kalob Grady: The location of the photograph is the Minus Rapids on the Zambezi River, at the base of Victoria Falls. The rider is Adrian Mattern | @adrianmatternkayak during a high water endeavor up to the base of the falls.

Photo of the Year Finalist Whitewater Awards taken by Matias Mondaca of Pedro Astorga; Astorga sending a waterfall on Curacalco River in Araucania Region
5th Place

Matias Mondaca

Whitewater Awards (WA): Where are you, who is the Rider?

Matias Mondaca (MM): Curacalco River, Araucania Region. The kayaker is Pedro Astorga / @pedroastorga

WA: Tell us about this image. What inspired you to take this photo?

MM: Before Pedro jumped, I rappelled to a place where I thought was the best location to position myself, I thought that if it was achieved it would be an epic shot. It was thought at the time seeing the possibilities.

WA: What camera did you use? Settings?

MM: Canon 5D Mark III, Tokina 16-28 Lens

– 1/1000s – Aperture: f4.5 – Iso: 1600 – 16mm

WA: How long have you been taking photos?

MM: Since 2019, at the Futaleufu XL event, I began to photograph the sport.

WA: Is there somewhere we can see more of your work?

MM: Website

Gracias Matías!

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