chrisburkard chrisburkard

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ChrisBurkard  Have Camera, Will Travel. LDS•Photographer•Speaker•Director #chrisburkard

The final pitches of The Dawn Wall. I still remember the phone call from my friend @coreyrichproductions while he was on the face of El Cap documenting the final days of the Dawn Wall. Like many I had been following along feverishly & even made a trip to the valley to climb & catch a glimpse. Cory had always been a mentor to me and when he asked if I could finish shooting the final push for his Patagonia assignment in his absence I was more than grateful. I remember driving 11 hours straight from Yosemite to my house & back to pick up supplies & camera gear. I began ascending El Caps east ledges in the middle of the night. At dawn I was rapping over the edge of El Cap & feeling the vertical relief of 3,000 below my dangling legs. The exposure comes real fast when you aren’t prepared for it. I spent two days documenting the last final pitches watching every single movement through the lens.
For the last 3 years I have waited patiently for ‘The Dawn Wall’ film to be released.. I recently attended a premier in Denver & it brought the whole experience back. Even after witnessing it in person the film still made me cry. Well done @senderfilms. .
Tomorrow ‘The Dawn Wall’ is in 600 Theatres across the US. Wed Sep 19th! Get out and experience this for yourself- thank me later!
For info & tickets visit @senderfilms @rbmhfilms @tommycaldwell @kevinjorgeson #DawnWallFilm

A line drawn in the sand.
On one side sat the Bear Glacier gripping to the remnants of the winter season. The other held a surging Pacific Ocean warming with the endless spring sun. I wanted to be in both places at once.

A sunrise atop the sacred Spider Rock. This formation stands almost 800 ft above the valley floor & is named after the story of Spider Woman a key piece of Navajo lore.
Although the view from the rim is incredible, the real magic is felt on the canyon floor.
We shot a short behind the scenes video from this project document National Parks in the southwest - check it in my bio link. 🤙

The smile says it all. These conditions aren’t for everyone .. but those who do it, love it. .

One vein leading back to the heart.

Glacial remnants stranded in Lake Tasman. Just got back from an assignment documenting this area & it only took 10 years traveling to NZ to get a good weather window. My first time in Mount Cook area.

Spirituality isn’t something you get in a room.
Although we may congregate to share, uplift & serve those around us, spirituality is usually born from our personal experience in the natural world where we usually feel most insignificant.

Sometimes in the process of trying be progressive with our art we need to take a step back & slow down. One of my favorite assignments this year allowed me to photograph Canyon De Chelly for @travelodge @NPCApics - The National Parks Conservation Association. During my road trip to Arizona I was able to seek out inspiration while visiting Ansel Adams collection of work at the @centerforcreativephoto & read through his journals of his assignment to photograph Canyon de Chelly years ago. In the late afternoon sun, under the guidance of my good friend @navajomylo & large format mentor @conradfilm. We created this silver plate collodion image. Don’t get the wrong idea... we shot 1 single good frame and wasted about 20 in the process. But this process slowed down the project so much for me &
was able to feel like a beginner all over again. .

To see more from project with check my bio for the short video or here:

As my friend Siggi set up his tripod to photograph the aurora, I walked a ways back crunching through the snow trying to find a cool perspective. Sometimes we don’t find the perfect landscape with steep mountains, a winding river or some amazing waterfall to put in our frame. Sometimes we are just given a clear sky and in this case a snowy road with two overzealous photographers. It can be challenging, but much more fun often to create or conceptualize a composition rather doing what you know has been done.

Taken with @sonyalpha A7S
35mm f1.4 - 3seconds @ ISO 8000

There was a period of time after this trip to Nicaragua where this photo was taken that I didn’t travel anywhere with warm water for about 5 years. I came home with what I thought was a bad spider bite that turned out to be a staph infection. The likely cause was an untreated reef cut during a trip to Tahiti a few weeks earlier & the humid climate that followed. I was bed ridden for over a month watching it spread up my leg with red lines unable to walk. Doctors said it was methicillin-resistant... also known as MRSA. I had never felt something so painful as sitting with a wound forced open to heal... I’ll spare the gross details but it’s one of the worst infections I can imagine. I swore off the equator hoping to stay away from places that staph can form. I spent those next years in Russia, Norway, Iceland, Faroes & Alaska working. It’s an odd one looking back at how an experience like that can define a huge season of our lives & ultimately who we are.

Never felt closer to my subject than when viewing it from a distance.
When in doubt just walk away.. far away... and get some perspective.

The stars always get me thinking a bit deeper. The most interesting part of the artificial intelligence debate & the fear that comes with it is how quickly we forget that we are already connected to screens all day, essentially plugged in. It’s often said if you want to find out what someone serves most in their life look at what they spend their time on. Every piece of information we could ever need and want is at our fingertips & we seek inspiration by visually digesting instead of actually doing. I can’t remember the last time I actually asked someone to teach me something. I’ve sat with this information for the last week after listening to the Joe Rogan / Elon Musk podcast & it honestly scares me how spot on it truly is. It’s a reminder to me to live an examined & introspective life... and hopefully unplug a bit more.

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