A surfer and photographer, Chris Burkard travels to remote, faraway destinations—a trip sometimes takes three years of planning—and brings back photographs that can take your breath away. Our favourite Instagrammer this month, we talk to him about his life, travels, and more. Photographs by Chris Burkard/Massif


Backflipping the frigid waters of Lago De Braies.
Backflipping the frigid waters of Lago De Braies.

ON TRAVEL
Traveling is a huge part of what I do, and I absolutely love it. I’m gone somewhere between four and six months a year, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss my friends and family at times. I just find that you have to make the times you are back more meaningful.

FAVORITE PLACES
I invest a lot of my energy, heart, and soul on my trips. If I feel like I got the images I needed, or got the job done while still being able to experience the culture for myself, then the trip was a success. I plan for three years or more to do some of these trips, and when I’m able to set foot on the landscape and experience it, I don’t want to leave anything behind. For me, that’s been Russia, Alaska, Iceland, and Norway. These are places I put a big part of myself into.

PEOPLE MATTER
Every trip varies, but a good headlamp and my personal massage kit are a constant (I’ve busted a few of my joints from all the adventures over the years!). On a serious note, having a good crew is essential. I’m always extremely picky about who I bring because the vibe of the crew dictates the vibe of the whole trip. Luckily, I’ve worked with some incredibly talented people and there rarely have been any hiccups.

NEXT TRIP
I’ve made it my goal to explore Patagonia, Chile in the near future. I visited Chile to find surf early in my career and have wanted to go back ever since. I love how diverse the landscape is! Other than that, I am really excited to explore some remote islands off the coast of Russia. They look really hard to get to, but wild and challenging, which is something that I love.

GEAR
My setup isn’t what many would deem traditional, but my gear is all about ease of use. I want all my gear to be functional, so I can produce images easily. I’ve shot using almost every camera system at some point in my career, but for the past five years I’ve been shooting with Sony exclusively. I’ve always been an advocate for smaller gear—the less you have between you and your subject, the easier and more authentic the moment you capture will be. My main setup will pretty much always include a Sony A7rii, a 16-35mm Zeiss F4 and a 24-70 Zeiss F4. I think with this kit I can shoot 90 per cent of all assignments or activities I may be engaged with!

Plunging in the Italian Dolomites, Lago de Brailes.
Plunging in the Italian Dolomites, Lago de Brailes.
The Aare Gorge in Switzerland.
The Aare Gorge in Switzerland.
The Glacier Lagoon is one of the most magical places Chris has ever been.
The Glacier Lagoon is one of the most magical places Chris has ever been.
Kayaking the crystal clears water in Athabasca Canyon in Alberta, Canada.
Kayaking the crystal clears water in Athabasca Canyon in Alberta, Canada.
Eric Supertramp wading through one of the many impressive slot canyons Zion has to offer, Utah.
Eric Supertramp wading through one of the many impressive slot canyons Zion has to offer, Utah.
Cliff jumping in Havasupai, Arizona.
Cliff jumping in Havasupai, Arizona.

Follow him on Instagram @ChrisBurkard.
Watch his Ted Talk here.