10 Best Extreme Photographers and Their Images to Get Shocked

An extreme photographer is any daring individual who is willing to face risky circumstances just to take a stunning shot. Anyone can just lay down on the ground to take a photo from a better angle even if it means looking a bit awkward for a moment.

However, it takes a lot more courage and/or insanity to conquer an icy mountain to capture the moment your climbing instructor is scaling an ice cliff. Photographers who participate in treks across the Sahara Desert also fall into the same category.

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1. Kawika Singson

Lava Coast

Instagram: @kveeks
Location: Hawaii

Singson is a hiker and landscape photographer who hails from Kailua-Kona. The photo he took that shows his tripod and shoes being on fire has been popular online for a while now, typically evoking shock in the viewer, which perfectly matches the photographer’s initial intention. Kawika’s goal was to create a Facebook cover image that would prove his passion for photography and adventure in a single photo.

extreme photographer kawika singson portfolio

To ensure the photo turned out exactly as he imagined it, Singson asked a fellow photographer, Christopher Hirata, for assistance. They both went to a nearby volcano, the exact location of which remains a secret since Kawika thinks it would attract the attention of too many amateur photographers who aren’t prepared for the risks of such a journey.

extreme photographer kawika singson sample of work

Once on location, Singson employed an accelerant to light up the fire you see in the picture. Even though the flames weren’t caused by the volcano, Kawika states that the lava around him is real.

2. Franco Banfi

Underwater Secrets

Instagram: @francobanfi
Location: Switzerland, Lugano Lake

Even though Banfi has been an underwater photography enthusiast since he was young, it was only his recent trip to Brazil that made him famous all around the world. This 53-year-old Swiss photographer is also a huge fan of snakes, which is one of the reasons he traveled to Brazil in 2012.

extreme photographer franco banfi portfolio

Banfi decided to take a photo of the anaconda, which is among the most threatening snake species in the world. He flew from Switzerland to Mato Grosso, a location in the middle of Brazil to encounter the anaconda in its natural environment.

extreme photographer franco banfi underwater

With the assistance of several locals and an extreme photographer from Slovakia, Franco achieved his goal and took pictures of 6 different anacondas during his one-week expedition.

3. David Bengtsson

Paragliding Activity

Instagram: @duelago
Location: Sweden

David is a photographer from Sweden who currently resides in the Austrian Alps. He is best known for the aerial photos that he takes while using his paraglider or freefalling in different stunning locations that the average person can never experience.

extreme photographer david bengtsson portfolio

Bengtsson was on the cover of a French paragliding magazine and his work is often featured in various English-language magazines around the globe.

extreme photographer david bengtsson sample of work

Additionally, Bengtsson has received awards from brands like Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony. One of his extreme photos was purchased and used by Olympus during the release of the OM-EM1 camera. You can also find two of his photos in the latest GoPro book on filmmaking.

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4. Veselin Malinov

Scale of Nature

Location: Bulgaria, Sofia

Malinov specializes in landscape and urban photography genres. His passion for landscape photography is born out of his love for the beauty and scale of nature. According to his own words, Veselin likes to include people in his shots to better showcase the grandiose scale of the scenery.

extreme photographer veselin malinov portfolio

For urban photos, he largely focuses on showing small interesting details that most people miss while rushing through busy, hectic city streets. Malinov also likes the risk involved in some shots since he believes that only then he can get the results he wants.

extreme photographer veselin malinov landscape

The photographer has won several contests like the Gold Medal in the Free Competition FIAP nomination and the People's Choice Award granted by the 1x portal. Additionally, Veselin was a part of a charity exhibition in the “Bulgaria” gallery and was featured on Totally Cool Pix.

5. Cristina Mittermeier

The Visitor

Location: Great Falls, Virginia

This professional wildlife photographer takes amazing pictures to remind the people of Earth how vital it is to preserve our environment.

extreme photographer cristina mittermeier portfolio

Cristina was born in Mexico and later moved to the Gulf of California and the Yucatan Peninsula to start a career as a marine biologist.

extreme photographer cristina mittermeier sample of work

Mittermeier frequently participates in campaigns related to environmental protection and she’s also among the founders of SeaLegacy. Even though she can be labeled as a crazy photographer because some of her ideas are so daring, being a National Geographic employee, Cristina does her best to showcase the value of supporting conversation efforts.

6. Tom Pfeiffer

Eruption at Dusk

Location: Germany

Volcanoes and the locations around them have always captivated Dr. Pfeiffer, a renowned volcanologist who studied the Minoan eruption in Greece and the Vesuvius catastrophe in Italy to get his Ph.D. degree.

extreme photographer tom pfeiffer portfolio

After spending several years in Germany, Italy, and Hawaii, Tom relocated to Greece to work as a freelance photographer who spends most of his time taking photos of volcanoes.

extreme photographer tom pfeiffer volcano

Pfeiffer’s fascination with volcano photography, which comes with a long list of unique requirements and challenges, was born the moment he first conquered the Stromboli volcano when he was a student. One of his recent books, “Volcano Discoveries”, was released in 2015 and is considered to be among the best photography books on volcanology. In 2004, Pfeiffer established the VolcanoDiscovery company that organizes trips and expeditions to volcanic areas in Greece, Italy, Hawaii, Indonesia, and other countries.

7. Jimmy Chin

Mountain Views

Location: Wyoming, USA

Jimmy Chin is an American professional mountain climber, National Geographic photographer, director, Academy Award winner, and one of the best-selling authors by the New York Times.

extreme photographer jimmy chin portfolio

Chin has received an array of photography accolades from PDN, Communication Arts, the American Society of Magazine Editors, etc. When working as a film director, his experience as an adventurer and extreme photographer adds a sense of authenticity and uniqueness to his storytelling ability.

extreme photographer jimmy chin mountains

Chin’s works were featured on the covers of National Geographic and The New York Times and he has experience directing commercial movie projects for global brands like Apple, Red Bull, Pirelli, and RSA Films.

8. Russell Ord

Golden Sunset

Location: Western Australia, Margaret River

Russel is incredibly popular in the surfing community, as he earned his fame by organizing photoshoots at the Right, which is located on Australia’s west coast. The dangerous waves of that area attract surfers from all around the globe. Ord envisions this place as “an Indian Ocean mountain with many different faces and moods.”

extreme photographer russell ord portfolio

Russel dedicated years of his life trying to take the perfect photo in the ideal location. His goal was to capture a surfer in a tube with the daylight being directly behind the subject. In 2018, the cameraman caught the perfect moment he was dreaming of.

extreme photographer russell ord waves

Ord achieved his goal by relying on a method that he helped create a couple of years ago. Instead of using a jet ski during the photoshoot, Russel swam into the break and took the photo as he was wading in the ocean.

9. Guido Sterkendries

Flying Birds

Location: Belgium, Beernem

Guido is an eco-explorer and photographer that has traversed across almost the entire Amazonia region. Sterkendries conveys his vision of the Amazon by relying on diverse, rich colors and shapes while employing low light lenses that help him showcase every little nook and cranny of the area.

extreme photographer guido sterkendries portfolio

Thanks to his daring expeditions, Guido earned the respect of his colleagues from around the world while his commitment and an eye of purity gained him thousands of fans. The photographer’s works show a clear understanding of the vision and needs of the native population of South America and its natural environment.

extreme photographer guido sterkendries sample of work

Sterkendries is known as a voice of reason that tries to explain the vision of the Western world in the eyes of the Amazonian Indians in his groundbreaking, controversial project titled “Battle for Life.”

10. Paul Nicklen

Cold Pursuit

Location: Canada

Paul is a Canadian extreme photographer who studied marine biology and has spent a large part of the last 20 years creating wildlife pictures.

extreme photographer paul nicklen portfolio

He’s also involved in filmmaking and his photos that were published in National Geographic and Sony Artisan of Imagery allowed him to make a name for himself on a global scale.

extreme photographer paul nicklen sample of work

Nicklen’s favorite subject is sea wildlife, but he also likes going on adventures above ground to take photos of bears, foxes, wolves, and other animals. Some of his most interesting pictures were taken in the Arctic and the Antarctic.

Why Do People Choose this Profession - Extreme Photographer

crazy photographer

A lot of photographers claim they didn’t pick up extreme photography intentionally. They simply took a camera into their hands and started taking photos and the rest happened naturally over time. As long as you love adventure and are willing to take risks to capture the perfect moment from the perfect angle – extreme photos are inevitable.

Crazy photographers receive the same surge of adrenaline that race car drivers and motorcyclists do, which often leads to them becoming addicted to the feeling of danger and excitement and seeking more such opportunities during every photo shoot.

While extreme photography requires more time, preparation and involves higher risks, the joy people get from taking such shots is also indescribable. While such an approach isn’t for everyone, many photographers can’t imagine living any other way.

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Common Extreme Photo Tips and Rules

If you’re an extreme photographer, pay attention to these rules and tips. These suggestions are aimed at photographers who take pictures near fire, volcanoes, underwater, while gliding/parachuting, or being close to wildlife.

Shooting Fire

shooting fire

You must be very careful when doing your work. There’s often no time to wear a special suit, so you should be in good physical shape to move quickly. It is also very important that your camera has a quality zoom, like the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 otherwise you simply won’t be able to take such images.

Shooting Volcano

shooting volcano

Be prepared for the fact that you will have to climb the volcano! The road is likely to be very long and hot, so be patient and stay hydrated! And for God’s sake, avoid looking into the hole of the volcano, be very careful.

Pro Tip: Always find reliable information about whether the volcano is active or not! There are sudden eruptions, but more often the activity of the volcano is recorded somewhere. Additionally, no matter what, you should always stay at a safe distance and simply use the zoom feature of your camera instead.

Shooting Underwater

shooting underwater

Diving is one of the most common types of underwater swimming. There is a danger there because dipping in for a long time entails a variety of consequences. Underwater photography requires more than just special equipment. It also requires special skills, experience, and the ability to solve all sorts of problems and situations that may occur underwater. For example, you can suddenly run out of oxygen, or you can accidentally get separated from your group. There is also a chance that a shark approaches you or cramp fish hits you with electricity.

Cave diving is a form of common diving. This type of diving is carried out in underwater caves. Such extreme activities are even more difficult and dangerous than normal diving. In such a scenario, you can’t simply go back to the surface in unexpected situations like a sudden lack of oxygen or other threats. That said, underwater cave photography offers a unique opportunity for you to take pictures of breathtaking shapes and various cave wonders that are hidden there.

Shooting Wildlife

shooting wildlife

The first lesson you have to learn as a wildlife photographer is that nature comes first and your photos come second. If you've entered a territory that is ruled by animals, remember that they are hosts here and you're just a guest. You should respect the wildlife and not force the animals to do anything that can harm them or put you at risk. It's important to accurately evaluate the situation and always be ready to capture the perfect moment. Once you understand that, taking a good photo becomes a lot easier.

When you’re attentively observing an animal, you can capture a moment that lasts less than a second and one that the average person would easily miss. If you want to ensure you take good photos, you have to be extremely persistent and patient.

Parachuting

shooting parashuting

Taking pictures during a parachute jump is only possible during certain periods: when you’re preparing to jump or when the skydiver realizes what is about to happen. Then, in the short period of free fall, when the person is soaring in the air before the parachute has even opened. These magic moments just need to be captured! Photographers usually use a GoPro camera for such situations since they allow you to select the perfect angle depending on whether a specific moment requires a super-wide, wide, medium, or narrow-angle.

The skydiver’s facial expressions and gestures can be unpredictable, especially when someone is jumping for the first time. You can also take photos in the first moments after the parachute has opened. The dome of a parachute during the gradual soaring can also present an opportunity for some excellent shots.

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