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Explorer Spotlight: Kevin Kaminski

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Name: Kevin Kaminski | Age: 33 | Location: Phoenix, Arizona

What’s your day job?
You can find me in either a hotel room or a tent. I work as an Architectural Photographer in the hospitality industry most days, and on the better ones, I'm out in the wilderness shooting landscape, lifestyle & product photos of outdoor brands.

What are your favorite things to do outside?
I'm easy – get me outside and I'm good to go. Good friends, great views and unforgettable times. I love backpacking, rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, grabbing that picture perfect campsite and sharing my experiences with the people I'm fortunate enough to surround myself with.

What first drew you to the outdoors?
At an orientation event during my freshmen year of college at Northern Illinois University, I was approached by a girl asking me if I wanted a job as an outdoor guide – I guess wearing a North Face shirt can really have it's perks! From that day through the time I finished school, I worked as a guide taking fellow students rock climbing, kayaking, backpacking, and mountain biking. I made a ton of friends with shared interests and passion just took off.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
The McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale is a mecca for adventure – killer hiking, great mtb trails, views for days – and being so close to home, it's just a short ride back to some well-earned grub and beer Papago Brewery - they brew a porter called Coconut Joe that is seriously bomb, and have delicious pizza. If you're not feeling that porter, spend some time cruising the coolers full of hundreds of different bottled beers to choose from.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
Easy...My 5DMIII & a solid tripod. I'll bear the elements to get the shot!

What’s your favorite trail snack?
I try to get my good fuels with Clif bars and similar, but as far as my fav dirty pleasure - A Snickers bar smothered with some Justin's Vanilla Almond Butter. Messy? Sure. Worth it? No doubt.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
You can never go wrong with some 90's Alternative

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/or, the funniest?
While celebrating an epic, two week road trip in Breckenridge Colorado, I met two girls - both river guides - that had an extra kayak and plans to do a section Colorado River the following day. Two beautiful ladies, an extra kayak, a few beers and a pending adventure – I was in, even if I had only been in a kayak once before. The next day, we hit the river, but they forgot the skirt for my boat!!! In all my naivety and brilliance, I threw caution to the wind and set out. Big surprise, within minutes, I'm hitting class 4 rapids, my boat is quickly filling with water that is crashing over, and my boat is getting lower and lower. I hit a huge hole and quickly flipped. Underwater, I found out my helmet worked by bouncing my head of a rock. Lights out for me. I came to quickly, frozen in panic for an instant, managed to get a hold of my boat and flip it back over - then kicked it into high gear towards the shoreline and the friendly screaming voices of my new river buddies. I was lucky, and it reinforced my respect of the power of nature. I sat on the river bank, white as a ghost, shaking like a leaf!!! That was by far the scariest adventure I’ve ever experienced. I returned to the Colorado in 2014 for an 11 day private river trip. Redemption is sweet.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
Anyone who is willing and able to come with me on an adventure that makes a great partner in crime or who is someone that can inspire me.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
I'd love to visit Iceland or New Zealand.

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
I’m currently saving up for a Sprinter 4x4 van so I can convert it into a camper van. The possibilities from there...

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
I don't really have a most memorable photo, For me it all about having multiple memorable photos (see below).

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
I’m going to have to give credit to my college friend and fellow adventurer Rob. Three simple words: It Don’t Matter. Something so simple and straight sums up my way of thinking and pushes stress to the curb.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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