I am currently studying to become a wilderness survival expert in the same tradition as Paul Bunyan, though my beard has yet to mature, and blue ox are less common than they once were. My graduate thesis is titled “Grizzly Wrestling, Turtle Surfing, and the Art of Moose Poop Chandling.” To make ends meet, I moonlight as a writer, photographer, and photojournalist, specialising in experiential, narrative-driven travel.
Originally from Toronto, Canada, I spend most of my days on the road, though I escape to my adopted home in the Wyoming wilderness as often as I can. My work has been published by Afar, Outside Magazine, Lonely Planet, Celebrated Living, Canadian Living, USA Today, Food & Travel Magazine, Get Lost Magazine, GQ Magazine, Asian Geographic, Escape Magazine, Vacations + Travel, Voyeur Magazine, Groove Magazine, Reader’s Digest, American Cowboy, and more.
Early in my career I was a screenwriter and author (my first novel, Night Has Fallen, was released in 2008. My second novel, Crystal Mountain, will be out later this year); I have a dozen older manuscripts in the garage that I’m willing to trade for a soapbox derby racer.
I have feasted on rotten shark in Iceland, chewed on camel dust in Dubai, subjected myself to extremes on some of earth’s highest peaks, chased sharks into the Blue Hole in Belize, and once raced an old Enfield motorcycle across Nepal because it was safer than riding a yak. This is my life, and this is what I do in the name of the story.
How & Why I Use Triggertrap
My Triggertrap unit has been indispensable since the moment I first added it to my kit.
I’ve been shooting star trails, long exposures, and light paintings for years, but I’ve never used a piece of equipment that allows me to shoot what I want with such ease and precision. That combination can’t be overstated, in my opinion. With my Triggertrap linked to my camera, I can smoothly switch between astrophotography, time lapses, long exposures, and more.
I’ve used my Triggertrap unit all over the world – I’ve shot the stars over the Atacama Desert in Chile, the midnight sea on Anguilla, and the crumbling icons of the Wyoming back country. I view my Triggertrap as less a piece of gear and more an extension of my creativity, every bit as important as the camera I use to record my images.
TT: When/what got you into photography?
FP: I was living in South Korea back in 2008, and went to a see a Steve McCurry exhibition in downtown Seoul. The images were stunning, of course, and struck a chord deep within me. I remember standing there thinking that through these images, McCurry could live his trips over and over again; there was that much life and energy captured in each photograph. I decided then and there that I wanted to be able to tell stories of my own travels visually, so that when I'm old and batshit crazy, I'll be able to look back fondly on a life well lived.
TT: You’ve seen some pretty incredible places, do have a favourite place that you have shot?
FP: I get this question a lot, and I think my answer changes each time I give it. If I'm feeling social, I usually answer that Burma is my favorite place to shoot: the people there are warm and welcoming and always open to having their picture taken. I could shoot portraits of the leg fishermen of Inle Lake every day for the rest of my life and die a happy man. Conversely, if I'm in a combative mood and out of patience with people or the world at large, I think back fondly to my time in destinations like Iceland or New Zealand, where there are few human headaches to deal with. I'll never forget the first time I saw the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon in Iceland; slabs of ice as big as apartment buildings cracking free of the glacier, slamming into lagoon, and floating out to sea past the black sandy beach. I'll never forget the power of that moment.
TT: What’s your advice when it comes to travelling on the road and taking camera gear with you?
FP: Take only what you need, and make sure what you do take will force you to be creative. I used to pack up a backpack and a roller bag full of gear when heading out on the road, but realized quickly that carrying so much gear made me immobile, and actually kept me from experiencing moments as they happened. These days, unless I'm on a very specialized assignment (like scuba diving in Belize, a big game safari in Africa) I'll pack light: usually just my Nikon D800, 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, 14mm f/2.8 lens, 50mm f/1.4 lens, my TriggerTrap kit, a polarizing filter, and a heavy neutral density filter. That's about it. This relatively lightweight kit will allow me to shoot 90% of the photos I need to complete virtually every assignment.