Local shutterbug Kyle Wicks has a photo and video shoot in Vail, Colo. this week for GoPro.
It’s all part of the annual GoPro Mountain games, a celebration of adventure sports, art and music.
Wicks said he really doesn’t know what to expect.
“It will be a variety of shooting action and athletes, and me participating in activities,” he said. GoPro has me filling out a survey to give them a better idea of what I’d like to do.”
Wicks is well known locally for being one of the guys who climbed atop the Boardwalk on Thames building and out onto the crane several years ago for some incredible night shots of Chatham, as well as for his outdoor photography work around the province.
The Chatham Voice has repeatedly featured Wicks’ work including some one-of-a-kind winter photos in Chatham-Kent such as one from on the ice at sunset at Erieau.
His photos have been featured in various magazines and websites, and he has been a member of the GoPro photography team for a couple of years now.
He’s looking forward to the challenge at the Mountain Games, as well as the camaraderie. Wicks said he’s looking forward to meeting other GoPro team members and discussing their images and their creative thinking.
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity,” he said. “It’s taken two or three years to get to this point. It’s a learning curve for me.
“A couple of years ago, when I first started shooting, I was looking at these GoPro people and thinking it was amazing what they were doing. I was inspired,” he continued. “Now that I’m here, it’s really rewarding to see the hard work and time pay off.
“I know I’ve put the time and the work into it. I put myself in positions to capture once-in-a-lifetime shots. It’s a rewarding feeling.”
Perfect images may land in a photographer’s lap like a winning lottery ticket, but luck only takes a person so far. Wicks is familiar with planning the photographs, right down to time of day, weather, framing and even the phases of the moon.
“Some of my shots, it is kind of luck, but at the same time, I do put in a lot of behind-the-scenes work, such as checking sunset times, times to go out when it’s best to shoot subjects such as the Milky Way. And there is a lot of editing time,” he said. “It’s a learning curve to me. If you got to a spot during the day, it may give you a beautiful shot. But if you go when there’s the right light, it becomes really special. I’m learning to get up at 4 a.m. rather than 7:30 a.m. to get the shot.”
As for what exactly he will be doing at the Mountain Games, no one is telling him much of anything at this point.
“I’ve been trying to talk to a few people to try to get an idea of what we will be doing, but they’re keeping it a secret. They just tell me to be prepared for a good time,” he said.
But Wicks will be somewhat out of his element. He’s done a plethora of landscape photography, with and without people in his photos. But now there will be added action.
“These will be different. It will be more high-paced sports shots,” he said. “I’m just honoured to take part.”
Beyond the Mountain Games, Wicks said he’s hoping to firm up travel plans for later in the summer. Until then, he’ll have to be content being a weekend photography warrior, working around his full-time job.
The Mountain Games take place in Vail, Colo. from June 6 to 9. GoPro is sending Wicks and covering all his expenses.
This is not the first time GoPro has worked with Wicks. His work has been featured 15 times on the GoPro Instagram account, which has more than 15 million followers, and one of his images was selected as the main image at a GoPro signature event.
As part of Wicks long-term plans, he has been working with the Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre to develop a strategy for establishing a business.
“I have been working with Kyle to help him set up a business plan, look at opportunities for his business, and really help him move from the idea stage and on to an established business,” said Taylor Hughes, Economic Development Officer with Chatham-Kent Economic Development. “Kyle has the passion and skill needed for his work and one of the things I like most about working with him is that he is humble and always willing to hear new ideas. He’s going to go far.”
To see examples of Wicks photography, go to www.instagram.com/k_wicksy/.