Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
Brooklyn-based photographer Forest Woodward travels the globe in search of perfect moments, and his assignments have taken him from northern California to South Africa to Brazil. His client rolodex reads like a who’s-who of the outdoor industy: Patagonia, Black Diamond, Outdoor Research, CamelBak, Vasque, Petzl, etc. We asked him what it’s like having the kind of adventure-driven profession that most of us only daydream about.
BP: What do you tell people when they ask you about your job?
FW: Well, I tell my mom that everything I do is completely safe. [laughs] I tell strangers on the street that it’s more boring than it may sound. And I tell friends that I get to travel, shoot, and tell the stories of athletes who are pushing their limits to explore. The camera is a front-row ticket to beautiful places.
BP: When you wake up, what are you most excited for?
FW: Besides coffee? I’d say light. The first thing I pay attention to is what the sun is doing. It’s amazing how different it is every single day.
BP: What’s the drudgery?
FW: The amount of time behind a computer. For every couple weeks I spend out, I probably spend another couple at a desk sending photos to clients and pitching stories. It’s a balancing act, because you’ve got to get done what needs to get done. But I always want to get back out as soon as possible.
BP: What’s the most epic thing you’ve done in the past two years?
FW: I rafted down the Grand Canyon with my 77-year-old dad over the course of 28 days. He had made the same trip 44 years earlier in a homemade fiberglass kayak, and it was incredible for the two of us to be together all these years later on this raft, taking turns at the oars. No phones, no social media, just the Canyon and ten to twelve hours a day with the person who brought you into the world. It was so rewarding and inspiring. My dad even rode Hermit!