Twitter: coreyrich

Latest Work: The Dawn Wall film

One of the best parts of being an adventure photographer/filmmaker is you get a front-row seat to some of the most inspiring moments in our sport. For me, being up on El Capitan and document ing some of this generation’s best climbers, that front-row seat was one the great privileges I’ve had over the past two decades.

The memories of all those days and weeks spent shooting with climbers like Tommy Caldwell, Kevin Jorgeson, and Beth Rodden really came flooding back when I sat down in a theater in Los Angeles for the premiere of The Dawn Wall.

This incredible film tells the story of one of my best friends, Tommy Caldwell, and his passion-turned-obsession with free climbing the hardest section of El Capitan, known as the Dawn Wall. But the story is much richer and goes much deeper than just being a film about climbing—it’s a story about Tommy’s life, including his marriage and partnership with Beth Rodden, which led to many incredible accomplishments by these two, as well as his unlikely partnership with Kevin Jorgeson, which ultimately culminated in the historic first free ascent of the Dawn Wall that rocked the mainstream media unlike any climb has before or since.

Many of my photos and video clips of these three climbers were used to support this film and tell this story. To see the film on a big screen alongside a stoked, live audience was a chance to not only reflect on the past two decades of my own career, but more importantly celebrate the people around me who I respect and call friends.

I can still remember being up there, 1,500 feet up El Capitan alongside Brett Lowell, my friend and super talented DP, spending days and days watching Tommy absolutely crush pitch after pitch, as well as the moment Kevin overcame all the doubt and circumstances and sent pitch 15 to catch up with Tommy. What an incredible story!

One weird thing about watching the film was that I often couldn’t remember which shots I had created. Scenes I thought I had captured as stills were actually video clips; or vice versa, scenes I thought I had shot as video clips in fact I’d actually shot as stills. After 10 years of shooting stills and motion in tandem, I guess the two have become almost inseparable in my brain.

Josh Lowell of Big Up Productions and Peter Mortimer of Sender Films shot, directed, and produced this film for Red Bull Media House. It was a project that took years, but their efforts have been well worth the wait. This is a stunning and timeless film that everyone should make sure they go see! Thanks to Josh and Pete for everything, and huge congrats and admiration to you guys for your hard work here. You deserve all the accolades and much more!

Check out dawnwallfilm.com to find screenings. Don’t miss the chance to see this film in theaters!

News: “Can South Lake Tahoe Become Outdoor Capital of the World?”

Over the past few years, my friend Chris McNamara and I—as well as many others who share our passion—recognized a sleepy street in South Lake Tahoe that had a lot of potential to become one of the most unique bits of roadway in the world. Ski Run Blvd is about a 1.5-mile long straight shot from mountain to lake, providing easy access to Heavenly Mountain ski resort and Lake Tahoe.

This easy access to all styles and genres of outdoor adventure is the reason that we chose to move our offices to 1111 Ski Run Blvd. We believe that this corner of South Lake Tahoe holds one of the most exciting real-estate opportunities in South Lake Tahoe, and we want to see this street become an emblem of a place where you can do the best work of your life while still enjoying a healthy mountain lifestyle.

Over the past couple of years, Chris and I and many other friends have been working to build more of a community in this area of Lake Tahoe, hosting community events and farmer’s markets, starting up a speaker’s series, and also spending our weekends developing new biking trails and moderate rock-climbing routes that all families can enjoy.

It was really cool to see that the San Francisco Chronicle picked up on this story and featured us in a recent edition of their newspaper. What an honor to be featured here! Read the story here.

I have a lot of friends in the Bay Area, many of whom I work closely with. I always hear the horror stories of sitting in three hours of traffic each day to commute 10 miles across the Bay. All I have to say is, you guys are welcome here in South Lake!

At the end of the day, we’re not city planners, and all we can really do is share the stoke we feel for this neck of the woods and entice like-minded souls to follow this vision. Hope you enjoy this article, and it sparks some dreams of joining us on Ski Run Blvd.!

Speaking of which, Novus is hiring! We’re looking for a Photo Editor / Assignment Coordinator. Check out our job listing and hope to hear from you soon!

News: Introducing New Staff!

Two incredible people joined the Novus family this summer, and I couldn’t be prouder and more honored to introduce them and welcome them to our team.

Welcome, Thea Hardy!

Thea Hardy is our new associate producer. She’s coming to us from the ski business, where she worked for Sierra Tahoe in the communications department. Thea is an absolute dynamo; intelligent, engaging, quick-witted and just downright hilarious.

Before work, even when it’s an alpine-start to a day of production, Thea is in the habit of getting out on her bike or going for a run. She embodies that Tahoe mountain lifestyle and spirit, in which we place a premium on a healthy work-life balance. She fits right in!

Certainly one of Thea’s strongest assets is her an unflappable nature, which is required in this industry to handle the slings and arrows of many productions running in synch. She’s already become such a crucial member of our team that it’s hard to imagine how we got anything done without her here! It’s an honor to have her here managing projects and getting productions done.

Thank you, Thea, and welcome!!

Welcome, A.J. Marino!

A.J. has been our dynamic, unstoppable, and immensely productive intern this summer. He came to us with a talent and commitment to the crafts of photography and storytelling, and he’s been an important part of our productions over the past few months.

One of the details about A.J. that I love is that he was born and raised here in South Lake Tahoe, making him perhaps our first true local intern. As I’ve alluded to in past posts, for me, this business isn’t just about doing a job; it’s a chance to build community. We could’ve based our offices anywhere in the world, but chose South Lake Tahoe to be our headquarters for numerous reasons. It’s great to attract and bring in new talent to this community, but it’s also extremely satisfying to help cultivate local creative minds that were born and raised in this community as well.

Although this post is a few months late, welcome Thea and A.J.! It’s been a huge honor to have your talent, spirit, hard work and good energy here in our office.

RIP Tom Frost, The Best Adventure Photographer I’ve Ever Met

Descriptions like pioneer, legend, hero, giant, and polymath are pretty bold descriptions that often get tossed around. Tom Frost truly lived up to each of those descriptions.

On August 24, Tom lost his battle with cancer at a hospice near his home in Oakdale, California.

Tom was a friend, mentor, and giant in both the climbing and photography worlds. He was a pioneer during Yosemite’s Golden Age of climbing.

He began climbing in Yosemite with the Stanford Alpine Club and graduated from the prestigious university in 1958. That same year, Warren Harding had just completed the first ascent of El Capitan via the Nose. In 1960, Frost became part of the team that made the second ascent of the Nose.

Frost went on to complete two more noteworthy ascents of El Capitan. In 1961, he joined up with Royal Robbins and Chuck Pratt and achieved the first ascent of the Salathé Wall, El Cap’s second route. In 1964, this same trio, as well as Yvon Chouinard, completed the first ascent of the North America Wall over nine days. This was considered El Capitan’s most difficult climb to date.

His photography documented this era and these remarkable ascents with a preternatural ability for photographic storytelling unlike any I’ve ever seen in any photographer before or since. In my opinion, he was the most gifted adventure photographer in the world.

Frost also had a background as an inventor, engineer, and businessman. In 1972 when he and Chouinard founded Great Pacific Ironworks and started to manufacture climbing gear. This company would ultimately give birth to both Patagonia and Black Diamond Equipment, the successful apparel and climbing-gear companies that we now know today. Later, he co-founded Chimera Lighting, based in Boulder, Colorado

What made Tom so remarkable, however, was undoubtedly his humility. He was an absolutely incredible human, as humble as they come, as caring and as genuine a person as I’ve ever met. Tom had a huge effect on me as a person. Calling Tom both a friend and a mentor has been one of the great honors of my life. He’ll be missed by me and by many, many more.

We’ll miss you, Tom.

Latest Work: “Morning”—Shot on the Nikon Z7 Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera with S Lenses

It’s a new century for Nikon imaging, and I’m super honored to be a part of it. The 101-year-old company has announced what I consider to be one of the most remarkable imaging devices on the planet, the Nikon Z7. Along with its companion, the Nikon Z6, these cameras mark Nikon’s debut in the world of full-frame mirrorless cameras.

I was given wide latitude with the opportunity to create a short film using the new Nikon Z7, and the result is a film I’m calling “Morning.”

“Morning”

The concept of this film was born out of the idea that so many of us really try to make our mornings count. Whether we’re writers or artists using those early hours to tap into our creativity, or we’re parents or spouses who are trying to make the first moments of our day really count, mornings are a sacred time of day.

Many of us use those first hours of the day to go for a ski tour, bouldering, hit the gym, do yoga, or meditate. For me, when I’m lucky and not on a deadline, I like to take my mountain bike out for a ride on the trails surrounding Lake Tahoe.

I thought that shooting a mountain-biking film in my backyard would be the ideal scenario. And it was fitting because during the short window of time I was given to create this film, mornings ended up being the only time of day I actually had to shoot!

We worked with Kyle Smaine, an incredibly local athlete who is a world-class freeskier who can also ride a mountain bike like no one else.

We shot Kyle tearing across a handful of my favorite trails and sections of granite in the Lake Tahoe basin.

Using the Nikon Z7

This 45.7-megapixel full-frame camera is revolutionary. For me, there’s no going back to a DSLR for shooting video.

The specs on this camera speak for themselves, and you can look up all the technical details behind its 493 focus points and 64-25600 ISO.

But I wanted to give you a testimonial to the tactile experience of actually working with the Z7.

The electronic viewfinder is remarkable: it’s incredibly bright and crisp in any light condition. I love the ability to press record, shoot a clip, press playback, review it, and make adjustments to my exposures settings—all without removing my eye from the electric viewfinder.

I was also blown away by the autofocus system. I didn’t believe you could use autofocus in video until I saw how the camera tracked Kyle ripping down a rock garden. He stayed razor sharp from the moment he entered the frame until he exited the frame.

The overall image quality, and performance in low-light environments, was insane. A new mount and flange distance—which is the distance between the rear optic and sensor—has resulted in even more extraordinary image quality than you’d expect.

S Lenses and Compatibility

To shoot “Morning,” I used the new series of Nikkor S Lenses: the 35mm f/1.8, the 50mm f/1.8, and the 24-70mm f/4 zoom. All had edge-to-edge sharpness and clarity, resulting in a brilliantly sharp image.

What’s great about this camera and that I couldn’t be more excited about is that the vast majority of Nikkor lenses (over 300 lenses) will work, unaffected, with the new FTZ mount adaptor. I have over 90 Nikkor lenses that will be compatible with this new camera.

 

Form Factor and Creativity

As a mirrorless full-frame camera, the Z7 is the perfect size. It’s small, lighter, faster—and yet, it still feels like a Nikon in my hands.

We strapped the Z7 onto a FreeFLY drone to get many sweeping aerial shots of Kyle biking, and got more flight time due to the camera’s lighter weight. More flight time means more passes, so we could refine our visuals and push our creativity.

Just the tactile experience of holding the Z7 was one of heightened creativity and less time and energy spent moving hardware.

The Big Picture

This isn’t just a new camera with a new mount that’s mirrorless and shoots silent. It’s a new and better tool in an ecosystem that I’m already using and love.

The idea that I can continue to use all my favorite Nikkor lenses, but shoot higher-quality video with my eye pressed to the electronic viewfinder, take advantage of the autofocus capabilities, and produce higher-quality images all in a smaller form factor means that I might just be one of the most excited guys around after today’s big announcement.

Thanks and More Soon…

Thank you, first and foremost, to Nikon for the opportunity to represent your company as an Ambassador and to be given the opportunity to flex my creativity using the best tools on the planet.

I couldn’t have created Morning without, first and foremost, the help of my Novus staff, especially Bligh Gillies as well as AJ Marino, our intern. Thank you guys for the support. Also, thanks to Sean Haverstock for your incredible drone work. Thank you Sean Milburn for the great audio. Thank you Chris Stamey for the edit, and thanks to Andy Mead for the audio design.

There’s a lot of great work being created by other Nikon Ambassadors using the new Z cameras, which I’ll be calling out over the next few days. Stay tuned, and welcome to the next century of visual storytelling.

 

Ask Corey: LEDs vs Hot Lights

Hey Corey, I’m a longtime filmmaker accustomed to using HMI fresnels on productions. As you probably know, there are some downsides to working with hot lights, and I’m wondering if you have any experience with LED fresnels? How do LEDs compare and can I expect the same performance? Thanks! —DJ, via Facebook

Great question, DJ. It seems as if LEDs (light emitting diodes) are popping up everywhere these days, and for good reason—they’re more affordable, more efficient, longer lasting, require less voltage, and don’t get hot the way traditional incandescents do.

When you’re comparing LEDs to a 1,600-watt HMI that gets so hot you could fry an egg on the fixture, there are both advantages and disadvantages. For example, one downside to working with LEDs is that, if you get hungry on a job, you can’t easily make yourself an omelet on your light.

HMI fresnels are traditionally used to light up sets around the world—but what are they? HMI stands for hydrargyrum medium-arc iodide lamps. A fresnel is a type of lens that was originally developed for lighthouses, and in this context essentially refers to a lightweight type of lens that has the ability to focus light into a beam.

We’ve been experimenting with the Litepanels Sola lineup of LED fresnels. The Sola 6+ and Sola 9 have been with us on virtually every job over the past year. We’ve also brought in the Sola 12 on occasion, such as on this recent production for the International Gymnastics Camp, which you see in this BTS image.

Lighting expert Bryan Liscinsky whipping out a glorious LED-lit L-sit. He swears he wasn’t sore the next day, too.

 

 

The Sola lights contain the same directional fresnel lenses that you’re probably accustomed to using in traditional HMI fresnels—the only difference is the light source is LED.

There are huge advantages to using LEDs. One of the biggest ones is that you don’t have to wait for your bulb to cool to move it. HMI bulbs are super fragile and can easily shatter when hot. The bulbs also cost upwards of $600 each. This means that if a light has been on and you need to reposition it, you can’t really move it until it’s cool, which can slow down the entire production. (Of course, this also means you’ll have plenty of time to make that omelet.)

LED lights require a fraction of the power, which is often a huge advantage depending on your location. You can run an LED off a small generator or even a battery pack, whereas an HMI might decimate the entire electrical grid of that quaint old-world European village you’re shooting. With LEDs you also don’t have to worry about the bulb breaking or burning out—these lights will last virtually forever.

In interview situations, LEDs put off less heat, which, again, is bad for frying bacon but it’s good for interviews. With LED lights, you’re going to be spending less time wiping sweat off your interview subject’s face. The proverbial hot seat is literally less hot! And that results in better content—a better interview—simply because the subject will be more comfortable.

So, what are the drawbacks? LEDs are objectively less powerful than HMIs. When you’re working in that 1K and under range, we’re going with Litepanel Solas all the way. But as soon as you need a 2K fixture, we have to switch over to traditional HMIs.

For most situations, we’ve been really happy with the performance of our Litepanel Solas. I’d highly recommend giving them a try because they’re going to offer better performance and versatility most of the time. Let me know how it goes!

OK, who wants breakfast?