PROFILE

Marcin Kin

Pushing the left edge of the frame, a snowboarder kicks up fresh powder behind them.
Canon Ambassador Marcin Kin took this picture in the Tatra Mountains between Slovakia and Poland. "This image is exhilarating and focuses your mind on the snow," he says. "It's as if you are manoeuvring down the slopes and it's just you and your friend on a snowboard." Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II (now succeeded by the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III) with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM) at 70mm, 1/8000 sec, f/2.8 and ISO100. © Marcin Kin

Canon Ambassador Marcin Kin and his camera have travelled around the world documenting extreme sports, from skiing in the Himalayas to iconic rallies.

Marcin was born and grew up in the stunning, rugged Tatra Mountains on the lofty border between Slovakia and Poland. He's lived and breathed adventure, nature and action from an early age and now makes a living shooting this adrenaline-boosting triumvirate.

Canon Ambassador Marcin Kin.

Location: Poland

Specialist areas: Extreme sports

Favourite kit:

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Marcin travelled extensively with his father when he was young and it was this experience that helped him appreciate the world and want to capture it. He initially began taking photos of freestyle snowboard competitions and, since then, he has undertaken increasingly adventurous projects, taking part in expeditions to the summits of Himalayan mountains Shishapangma and Manaslu – both 8,000 metre high. Marcin has visited lots of mountains across the world since and has also photographed the Dakar rally five times.

After leaving full-time education he started his own company with the help of a grant from the European Union, which enabled him to buy a Canon EOS 5D Mark II (now succeeded by the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV) and a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens. One of his first clients was ski brand Majesty, which involved a shoot in Mayrhofen, Austria, and since then he has gone on to undertake increasingly adventurous projects.

Backdropped by dunes, a snowboarder flies over a rally-spec Mini as it crests a dune in a cloud of sand.
Originally taken for Red Bull on a film set in Abu Dhabi, Marcin's biggest challenge with this shot was keeping the film crew and cameras out of shot. In the end, Marcin had to stay in one spot and wait for the perfect shot to come to him. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens at 24mm, 1/3200 sec, f/4 and ISO320. © Marcin Kin

Marcin has a strong relationship with the Polish wing of Red Bull, for whom he has worked on many occasions. His first assignment was to photograph the ORLEN Rally Team in Morocco and he's since gone on to capture many more rallies, including the iconic Dakar Rally. Marcin puts the reason for his initial success with Red Bull down to his ability to be self-sufficient. He could prepare everything for a shoot, find the best locations and get to them without the team having to worry about the needs of their photographer.

Although he has earned a reputation for being able to put himself in the right place at the right time, Marcin doesn't like to prepare too much when it comes to the actual shoot. He prefers a reportage-style approach, something he has enjoyed since his early experiences of photography, although he does source potential locations ahead of time if he's shooting a profile feature on an athlete.

From out of a chaotic cloud of dirt particles, a motocross bike emerges, pursued by other bikes.
Taken on the second day of the Red Bull 111 Megawatt Hard Enduro dirt-bike rally, Marcin jumped onto the track – and into danger – to capture the perfect shot. "I just tried to survive and shoot at the same time!" he says. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens at 24mm, 1/2500 sec, f/4 and ISO1000. © Marcin Kin

Marcin has also been part of expeditions to K2 and the five peaks required for the Snow Leopard award (presented to those who climb all Soviet peaks over 7,000 meters: Peak Lenin, Korzhenevskoy, Communism, Khan Tengri and Pobeda). He has also worked with a wide range of clients that includes Coca Cola, Żywiec, BMW, Fiat, Honda Racing, KTM, Lexus, Mercedes, Skoda, Toyota, Carlsberg, Salomon, Mammut and Majesty Skies.

His images have been published in National Geographic, Playboy, Newsweek, CKM and RedBulletin while his work has also been showcased on the Extreme Sport Channel, Planet TV and the Discovery Channel.

Despite being on the road and in the air a lot of the year, Marcin feels he has achieved a good work-life balance. His extreme sports work gives him a regular kick of adrenaline, whereas the mountain expeditions he is part of take him back to his roots – and these days he's raising a family in his own home town.

Against a cloudy sky and desolate landscape, a skier begins a descent down a small, isolated snowy peak.
On a ski challenge expedition, Marcin captured fellow team member Andrzej Bargiel skiing down this 8,013m icy block during their free time at base camp. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens at 25mm, 1/800 sec, f/6.3 and ISO100. © Marcin Kin

Is there a lot of pressure to turn pictures around quickly for clients?

"That's one of the biggest problems, actually, and it's hard to send pictures from the middle of the desert or the Himalayas. I have access to a satellite phone, but it's really expensive to use. In the mountains, I have to use it because the sponsors have invested a lot of money and they need to have those pictures. For something like the Dakar Rally, I try to find a gas station or some place in a small town on the route so that I can try to send some images back from."


Have you had any close calls or found yourself in a dangerous situation?

"My whole job is like a close call! When I'm in the really big mountains, such as 6,500 metres above sea level on K2, then everything you do is dangerous. So you have to be focused on your health and safety, but at the same time be thinking about the picture. Working alone in the desert with cars going extremely fast next to you, that's dangerous too. Most of the drivers know me and I know them, so if they see me they know that they can go close and I won't do anything stupid. But of course, anything can happen."


How do you look after your gear when you're shooting in the dust of a desert rally?

"If you don't change lenses there's really not a problem – in my experience the dust can't get inside the camera. To avoid changing lenses, I always try to use two cameras, whether I'm in the mountains or the desert. On one I have a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens and on the other a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM."


What's the hardest part of the job for you?

"Flying. I am almost two metres tall and seats in planes are getting smaller and smaller."


Where is your favourite place to take pictures?

"I really like to spend time in the mountains, so anything we can do there – be it something simple like running or more ambitious like ice climbing – is cool."

Facebook: @MarcinKinPhotography

Twitter: @kinmarcinphoto

Instagram: @kinmarcinphoto

One thing I know
Marcin Kin

"If you are going to be successful and make a living, you have to believe in what you are doing. In the beginning, whenever I told anyone in the small town where I live in Poland that I was going to be paid to shoot extreme sports and adventure photography, they would say it was impossible: you can earn money doing wedding photography (maybe), but not extreme sports photography. But if you show, year after year, that you want to do it and you do it right, it will happen."

Marcin Kin's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Canon Ambassador Marcin Kin's kitbag.

Camera

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

Life is full of unrepeatable moments. Capture more of them with the EOS-1D X Mark III. Marcin says of the camera's predecessor, the Mark II: "The quality of the pictures is incredible, and the files hold up so well in post-production."

Lenses

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

A professional everyday L-series zoom that delivers high image quality with a constant f/2.8 aperture. "My favourite lens and perfect for reportage. It's on one of my bodies almost all of the time and I can often do a whole job with just this one lens," says Marcin.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM

A favourite telephoto zoom lens with photographers of every kind. Marcin says of its predecessor, the Mark II: "Really fast, really sharp, really tough. It can end up in the mud, sand or snow and just won't break."

Lenses

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