Editor’s note: Nature and cave photographer Josh Hydeman approaches these iconic subjects with a kind of fearless respect. This Portland-based shooter goes deep and dark, gets up early, stays up late, and does what it takes to document the incredible beauty of his Pacific Northwest playground. He recently took over our Instagram with some awesome posts (please check them out) and shared how he approaches his work. And you need to check out Josh’s Instagram too — it is out-of-this-world cool!

copyright Josh Hydeman

“I’m drawn to caves, volcanic landforms, and obscure landscapes. I explore places that most folks will never see – because the access is too physically demanding and technical, or the only access is on exclusive trips that are limited to a small number of people.”

“Exploring caves is what led me into photography. My first visit to a cave was to capture field recordings for a sound art project. After my very first trip to the cave I was hooked! It was far too exciting for me to only visit once. I didn’t want to record sounds anymore; I just wanted to explore and learn about these places. I sold all my music and sound recording gear and bought a camera, harness, ropes, camping gear, etc. My interest in photography has grown into a full-time career. I have shot canyons, summits of mountains, weddings, coffee shops, international trips to Ethiopia, Brazil, and Colombia, glacier caves, deserts, and soon-to-come, expeditions. My schedule for 2015 is not completely full, but there are a lot of great trips planned.”

“I use a Canon 5D Mark II and I mainly shoot with Canon 16-35 f/2.8, 14 f/2.8, 70-200 f/2.8 and 100 macro lenses. I use a combination of constant light and speedlights when I’m photographing caves. Scurion makes the best caving headlamp in the world (it puts out a lot of light) I use seven speedlights and a variety of LED light panels. I use Gitzo tripod legs, too.”

“My favorite Lowepro bag is the DryZone 200. I absolutely love this bag! You can stay organized, get your camera out quickly, and keep things (relatively) dry. If you are freezing-cold waiting for someone to rig a drop at a waterfall – or in a pit – the last thing you want to do is open a Pelican or pull all these small bags out of a caving pack. It’s so nice to be able to pull out some flashes and your camera in the same time it takes for the rigging to get set up.  Also, I like the second compartment in the bag where you can keep an extra crop, coat, knife and first aid kit. You just get MORE shots using the DryZone 200.”

Katrina Neill

About Katrina Neill

Katrina was the Senior Editor & Communications Manager for Lowepro.