You Should Follow This Guy on Instagram

Photographer Brett Lowell shoots breathtaking images of rock climbers and so much more.
Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson Climbing in Yosemite
Climbing Dawn Wall in Yosemite © Brett Lowell
By Whitney Boland

Welcome to our new "Behind the Instagram" series, where pro and amateur shooters give us the details behind some of their most compelling Instagram posts.

It doesn’t matter if New York-based photographer Brett Lowell is capturing shots a thousand feet off the ground as director of photography for Big Up Productions (a film production company that his brother Josh Lowell launched in 1997), or hammering out solo assignments on solid ground, nabbing a stellar shot isn't always about having the snazziest glass. Sometimes, it’s all in the timing.

"In my mind, the iPhone camera's best feature is that it is almost always within grabbing distance,” says Lowell, whose personal Instagram account has 11,500 followers and no lack of heart-in-your-throat shots.

Lowell started shooting 18 years ago, but didn’t get serious until he and his brother merged their love of cameras with climbing. "It slowly progressed into a real business and allowed me to travel around the globe trying to capture the biggest climbs of our time,” says Lowell, whose behind-the-lens skills won him a 2006 Sports Emmy for Outstanding Camera Work.

Here, Lowell shares the details behind some personal favorites from his Instagram account, spanning from big adventures to subtle details.


Sometimes it's not about what we do or where we go, but who we meet and the faces we see. This villager was kind enough to let me take this photo in Yangshou, China.


Chris Sharma helped turn the world on to this beautiful and free form of climbing dubbed psicobloc, or deep water soloing. [Editor’s note: Deep water soloing consists of climbing a route over a large, deep body of water without the protection of a rope, using only the water as the landing pad if you fall.] It took root here on the island of Mallorca, Spain, where sweeping orange walls of perfect limestone leads straight into deep blue ocean. Pictured here is an extremely difficult project that Sharma is excited to return to.

Abstract creatures

I really like the abstract details of nature. Finding images that you know are unique and fleeting, like creatures of the ice in the creek behind my house. I actually took this shot looking at the ice upside-down from the way it is shown here — my father and I were looking at the image together and he flipped it over, and all of a sudden there was this creature looking at us.


I love to travel, but nothing beats being home here in the Shawangunk Ridge in New York during autumn.

Dawn Wall (also pictured at top)

This post was made during the historic Dawn Wall ascent in Yosemite by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson in January 2015. While we were in our ledges [Editor’s note: Ledges (short for portaledges) are suspended tents climbers sleep on during multi-day ascents of big walls] that night I heard that The New York Times was going to run a story on the boys and wanted some of my current images from the wall. I emailed down a handful of iPhone shots from our camp and woke up the next morning with this image on the front page of The New York Times website.


Maybe the craziest place I've been is here in the Tepuis of Venezuela. With its Dr. Seuss-like bushes and rock formations and species of animals that don't exist anywhere else, it truly feels like another planet.

For more inspiring images, follow Brett Lowell and Red Bull Adventure on Instagram.

Check back on Wednesday, Oct. 21, for more amazing images in the next installment of our "Behind the Instagram" series.

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