Most of the rafting photos that you see on our website were shot by the photographers of Picture This/Rapid Shooters. Owner Mark Leder-Adams has been shooting California rivers since the 1980’s, first on the American River and its forks, then later focusing his lens on the Kern, Merced, Tuolumne, Kings and Cherry Creek. Mark, along with partner Christine Pardini and their dedicated staff of kayaker – photographers are always one step ahead of your rafting trip trip.
During the 1980s pre-digital camera era this involved processing film in often rustic on-river labs so that paddlers could view transparencies on a light table following their day of rafting. Then taking orders for prints to be printed at headquarters and shipped afterwards. The process is a little more streamlined now with digital image files, but staying ahead of the rafts on something as fast as Cherry Creek still demands a unique and powerful skill set combining expertise in both class V kayaking and outdoor action photography. Rapid Shooters qualified team on the Tuolumne and Cherry Creek includes Anna Wagner, Sam Swanson, and Chad Swanlund, each brings years of experience on rivers to the task.
These guys are experts in a very unique niche. No one understands the way the light hits certain rapids over the course of a year or the best angle to shoot rafts at different water levels than the crew at Picture This/Rapid Shooters. In addition to an archive of images that goes back over 30 rafting seasons on several different California Rivers, Mark has also been shooting scenic images of these canyons he has come to know so intimately. The slideshow above is just a sampling of his collection. Sometimes as we are barreling down the rapids with our attention on the next drop or big wave it can be easy to miss some of the incredible beauty of these places. These images give us a way to savor them.
Mark has been incredibly generous with sharing his images both with rafting outfitters who have used his images for years for online and print, and with Friends of the River, The American River Trust, American River Conservancy, and anywhere his photos can help to tell the story of the value of these sacred places. If you are even an occasional visitor to any of the rivers mentioned above, you will probably see Mark. Look for the tall lanky tanned great blue heron type figure aiming his camera at you just as you plunge into the next exciting rapid.
All photos courtesy Mark Leder-Adams, Rapidshooter.net