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Freedom to Move: Field Rhythm and Longtime Friends

Wildlife Photographer: 'A Wild Mind Sounds Pretty Good to Me'

My daily rhythm is typically a solo wandering in a wild landscape with crisp air and clean dirt. I feel super lucky to be able to spend a lot of time in the backcountry having experiences with wild animals, setting up camera traps, and photographing the rhythms of an animal migration. I’m a loner, and my job fits that quality. However, a few times a year I feel the pull of an adventure with a bunch of friends, a revamp of sorts.

Over the years I’ve met a bunch of incredible people through my work and feel super lucky to call these talented storytellers and filmmakers my friends. For this assignment in particular, I called up my longtime friends Andy Maser and Hayden Kennedy, two dudes that are both incredible filmmakers and also rad company to keep.

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Hayden Peters (left) and Andy Maser shooting with Joe Riis in Wyoming in June 2015; Photograph by Joe Riis

I first met Andy back in 2009 when we were working on a project in the Flathead River Basin of British Columbia for the International League of Conservation Photographers. Along with Trip Jennings and Kyle Dickman, Andy made the film Flathead Wild, which was a wonderful project to be a part of, and began a great friendship.

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At camp along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon; Photograph by Joe Riis

A few years later we met up to raft the Grand Canyon with 14 other friends, it was grand to say the least. Multi-day raft trips have a rhythm that is like no other—pure fun from my perspective. The slow and steady speed of a river, costume party vibes, and the thrill of big water. Earlier this month in July, I floated the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho, and that revamp happened.

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Rafting the Middle Fork; Photograph by Joe Riis

I’m ready for the backwoods now, on the trail of the elk migration in Yellowstone through the end of summer and fall.

The Adventurists blog series “Freedom to Move” is sponsored by Toyota TRD Pro, which provided a vehicle for this adventure.