Photographer Spotlight: Chris Poplawski - The Ridge Wallet

Photographer Spotlight: Chris Poplawski

August 06, 2018

Photographer Spotlight: Chris Poplawski

Photographer Spotlight

We've got to come clean here: we've been working hard.

As illustrious our Instagram photos may seem, we're hard at work creating products that we think you'll enjoy; ie phone cases, power banks, and a few yet-to-be-announced items that are in the mix.

The travel-heavy, outdoor adventuring images are a credit to our awesome friends and colleagues who trek through Ireland and New Zealand with a camera pack and a few wallets.

And there isn't a man sitting on more trans-atlantic flights than our friend Chris Poplawski. He's been with us for a few, impactful months, and we were excited to sit down with him and get a scoop on where he goes and what he carries everyday.

 

What makes up your Everyday Carry?

Funny enough, it took me 2 years of professional shooting to find an adequate camera bag I felt worthy to wear. I used to use a rock climbing bag to "not so organize" my gear (just threw it in the bag haha). Now I use my WANDRD backpack which is amazing and offers plenty of space for all my gear. Shooting for brands full-time, you can almost always find me with a MVMT watch on my wrist, a Ridge Wallet in my back pocket and a Serengetee hat on my head.

It's essential to get work done on the road, so I almost always have my MacBook and Seagate 4GB external hard drive with a copious amount of SD cards from Lexar and Sony. If you've ever shot with Sony, you know their batteries aren't the best- so I carry 14 of those bad boys haha. My drone and camera equipment mentioned above also including a 70-200mm f/4 telephoto lens. And last but not least, my beloved iPhone 7+ keeping me forever connected to the world and clients haha. 

What's camera gear do you shoot with?

I shoot with a Sony a7rii and 95% of the time stick with my 16-35mm 2.8 G-master lens. For detailed shots I love mixing in my fixed 35mm 1.4 and my 24-70mm 2.8 g-master. I also use my Mavik Pro for aerial photographer and GoPro 5 for underwater shots. 

Do you have a favorite photo you've ever taken?

Absolutely! It was shared a while back, but I was in Costa Rica and managed to snap a top-down photo of a crocodile from a bridge. It was maybe 20 feet down, and we had no idea this place existed. A local 5 minutes earlier at a market told us about where crocs find shade in the hot afternoons, and hundreds of people drive over the bridge daily without knowing so. Ironically, this river dumps right into the ocean and beachgoers are ofter surprised when a fresh water crocodile randomly ends up 5 feet from a surfer. Apparently it happens more than you'd think haha. But you have to park far down the road (no pullouts), walk against crazy fast cars speeding by and then lean over the edge of the bridge.

There was maybe 15 of them in a small patch of shade, and cows 5 feet away eating grass on the shores. Random and surreal. The shot is often mistaken for a drone but it was in fact me standing right over them. 

What's your biggest inspiration?

The more I travel, the more I find roots of inspiration buried in just about everything. But I think my biggest component to inspiration, to strive for more and creativity push my boundaries is my girlfriend, Meagan (@mlbourne). Meg reminds me constantly that life is not all about work, and to enjoy the moments that pass us by. And if there's anything that could put my life into perspective for everyone, it's that I never like to slow down. Like ever. We push lots of boundaries together, threatening to burn ourselves out and let me be the first to acknowledge, traveling full-time can do that to you. But, then there's Meagan, keeping me grounded and balanced with all that happens in our crazy lives traveling together.

My grandma once told me when I started traveling that I wouldn't be able to do things at this pace forever, and that when a girl came stomping into my life, everything would be flipped upside down and this dream would change. I laughed at first, thinking granny meant I would have to stop traveling. Instead, a girl came along and made life more manageable, happier, and opened up a new realm of traveling. Naturally, things changed and we've seen more of the world together than I dreamed of. The dream got better and kept me inspired beyond creativity. These moments of happiness with Meagan keep me wanting more. We always talk about all the memories we have, and how blessed we are to have done all that we have- but to continue being motivated, healthy and creative- slowing down is just as important as the go-go-go. 

Finding time to rest and regather your thoughts is vital to our longevity. Sometimes sitting back, taking a breath and just watching changes your perspective drastically. And to know someone like Meagan can happily slow me down, as much as work hard and having her always as my muse is truly remarkable. Somehow she keeps up, puts up with me and manages to creativity capture something we see together, so differently than I imagined.