He’s photographed stunning landscapes across Europe, Africa, and the U.S. He’s shot models, weddings, and graduations. But when given the choice, photographer Dan Mitchell gravitates toward sports. “The positive atmosphere, fast action, and excitement of competition is a perfect recipe for stunning images,” he said. “It is this magic combination that makes me passionate to tell a story with an image without an explanation or caption.”
A two-time Snow Polo World Cup veteran photographer, Mitchell will be back for his third stint photographing the 2018 Cup in St. Moritz, January 26–28. Shooting polo matches poses unique challenges over other sports, such as capturing images that showcase the tandem relationship between the horse and the rider, covering a range of distances from close-ups to a few hundred meters away, and doing it all in sub-zero temperatures. But such conditions can be rewarding, too, and Mitchell looks for unique details, such as steam rising from the horses in the cold air as well as flying snow from horses in full gallop.
“Generally, having sunlight mixed with brilliant colors on a [snow] white background produces very remarkable images. For me, the strong and clear lighting helps expose the most detailed expressions of the rider and the animals,” he said. “As a photographer, I like action and emotions. With the St. Moritz Snow Polo event, I can spot the facial expressions of the athletes and animals. I like to ‘freeze’ these moments with images for the viewers. These frozen images are something you can savor and enjoy with a photo. Video or even watching the event live does not provide this type of enjoyment of the sport.”
An engineer-turned-IT specialist-turned-photographer, Mitchell is always looking for new challenges. “For me it is a natural evolution in life to learn something new every day, and I find that when the learning slows or stops, I become restless and it becomes time for me to change,” he said.
Describing photography as his “dream job,” Mitchell pushes himself by starting his own photography business, shooting in a variety of settings, branching out to journalism and writing about the events he photographs, and mentoring new photographers as they master both the technical aspects of a camera and the art of capturing sporting events.
Originally from Iowa, Mitchell makes his home in Switzerland and is available for photo shoots across Europe.
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