Wouter Kingma : Adventure HQ

Dec 10, 2015


Claire McHale

Wouter Kingma is no stranger to adventure. Just last February he spent a week in the second largest desert in the world, The Empty Quarter, alone and completely off the grid. That project, supported by long time client Adventure HQ, lead to his latest feat for the outdoor adventure company. This catalogue shoot involved covering everything from rock climbing, mountain biking and kayaking, to fishing and much more—all in five days.


With locations in both the United Arab Emirates and Musandam in Oman, Wouter and his team crafted a minute by minute production schedule for the 16 hour days that started as early as 3 am.

I know a lot of cool locations in the region that work really well for photography. What the client had struggled with in the past was making the imagery look authentic, real and un-staged…I had set up the production in fine detail knowing what activities we were shooting at what locations and at what time, to the extent that I could roughly visualize the images I was aiming to get.


With such a huge shot list came not only a big team and group of talent, but an even bigger pile of gear adding to more complications on an already tight schedule.

The talent/team kept on changing making it really hard to allocate their garments so we ended up throwing lots of clothes in a box, which proved to be a challenge on set. Digging through duffle bags and boxes full of gear trying to find the right bike helmet or fitting shoe size is not a good place to be at ten minutes before sun rise—so less is more!


At the end of the day, Wouter came away from this project with images that look genuine and unstaged by utilizing “dirty tricks” like rolling in the sand to roughen up clothing and referencing adventure images he has shot in the past. He even had a behind the scenes video created to capture the spirit and energy of the shoot in hopes of getting more work like this in the future.


With every shoot you learn something new. I tend to work hard on getting as much out of the shoot as it allows, throwing in the hours, energy and focus. Within that forward motion it may be hard for others to keep up with the pace both physically and creatively. So at times its good to take a step back and digest where the whole team stands. Re-group and re-focus. 

Currently, Wouter is planning to create a series of short adventure films with ordinary people in order to really capture the bonds formed with each person and the engagement with nature, because, in Wouter’s words, "Adventure storytelling never stops!"

To see more of Wouter visit wouterkingma.com

This article was originally published Dec 10, 2015 on the Wonderful Machine Blog