creative and inspiring photography from around the globe

Derek DiLuzio: High on Action and Adventure

Landscape image of Craggy Gardens

Landscape image of Craggy Gardens

Derek DiLuzio is a highly regarded photographer based in Asheville, North Carolina.  He has shot images for some of the top editorial and advertising clients, including Bike Magazine, Men’s Health, Patagonia, Sotheby’s International Real Estate, and Teton Valley Magazine. After a few stints of guiding trips in New Zealand and Central and South America, Derek decided to devote full time to photography. This week Derek speaks to atlas about how he transitioned from guiding trips to photography, what a typical day is like for him on one of his shoots, and what he’s working on next. (Editor’s Note: As we enjoy the holidays this week, we revisit one of our favorite features from the past year. Enjoy!)

How long have you been shooting outdoor adventure photography?

Derek DiLuzio: Until I was about twenty, photographers bugged the hell out of me.  I would watch all these people take pictures and completely miss moments going on all around them.  Around that age I guided a trip abroad in New Zealand.  I brought two disposable cameras and rather than just taking a picture of what was in front of me, I tried to be different.  The images I made were unlike everyone else’s.  I was hooked.  I continued to photograph trips I was guiding to Central and South America and quickly realized I was so focused on photography that I was not giving my clients the experience or care they needed.  I quit the guiding business and jumped into photography.  I have been doing it professionally for just over ten years now.

You shoot landscapes, lifestyle, portraits, and adventure. Which genre do you enjoy shooting the most?

Must I pick one?  Most of my work begins with the landscape. That being said, as soon as an athlete begins to interact with the landscape whether it be on foot, pedaling a bike or simply having a cup of coffee, the picture truly comes to life.

Dani Giannone mountain bikes near Brevard, NC.

What is a typical day like for you on a shoot?

It is a very long and physically demanding day.  As photographers, we live and die by the light.  That means I have be on location not only from sunrise to sunset, but twilight to twilight, setup and ready to go.  Often that means getting out of bed at 3:30 am, loading the truck, driving an hour to the trailhead, pedaling or hiking to a remote location by twilight. Next, setup and be ready to shoot as the sun is cresting the horizon, and that’s just the morning.  Typically we will have a second location for the afternoon and evening and we will not break down until after sunset.  It is a ton of hard work but it is truly exhilarating to create images in those types of environments.

Zachary Simon ski's off a cliff at Grand Targhee Resort.

What kind of camera and equipment do you use?

I have used Canon equipment for years and it has served me well.  However, the systems are going smaller and lighter as technology continues to evolve.  I have been more and more intrigued by the Sony systems and seem to be moving in that direction.  Right now, it is a combination of Canon and Sony gear.

Are there any photographers whose work inspire you? If so, who?

Yes and no.  Lately I have been moved by the work of Parker J. Pfister, William Huber, and Sterling Lawrence.   I tend to gravitate towards other mediums of art for inspiration, including music and fictional storytelling podcasts. Tanis is one I have been listening to most recently.

Will Harlan runs at Lake James, North Carolina.

Are you working on any new projects?

Yes, but they are under wraps as I am currently rebranding and redesigning the website.  Hopefully, everything will go live towards the end of July with plenty of new and exciting images.

Auroras over Grand Teton National Park

If you had one piece of advice for an aspiring photographer, what would it be?

Do not show up to your next dinner party.  I have found the best light to shoot is often at the most inconvenient times.  Cancel your plans, get out, and create!

Thanks for being our photographer of the week, Derek!

For more information about Derek, visit his website.  All images © Derek DiLuzio.

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