We caught up with Long, who gave us some food for thought on what it takes to get the shot and how to stay safe while doing it.
Backcountry: How did you get into photography?
Bruno Long: My dad is a photographer—he was shooting film and slides a long time ago. I picked up a bunch of stuff back then, but I didn’t really start shooting until my parents bought me a camera when I was 18. It got really serious eight or nine years ago when I started taking quite a bit of shots, and I got a digital camera at the same time. It was way easier to just shoot and do a lot of trial and error. I was shooting biking and skiing with my friends pretty much the whole time. I wanted to document my friends or practice on my friends, and then it ended up turning into more serious shooting.
BCM: What goes into making a great shot?
BL: Sometimes a lot of planning goes into a really good ski shot, but sometimes, and especially for me because I do a lot of ski touring, it is just off the cuff. You see something that works while you’re walking or while you’re skiing down. I try and trust my instincts now. When I see something that I feel is worth checking out, I usually make everybody stop or get my stuff out and start shooting right away. Just shoot what you like. Don’t force yourself to be something that you’re not.
BCM: What are some defining moments within your photography career?
BL:The first couple times I had photos published in magazines was a real big thing. I’m a sucker for magazines. I read them cover to cover all the time. That’s pretty much where I get all my photo influence. Once I finally got things published in magazines, I was blown away—that escalated into getting the covers of Backcountry and Powder last year. Those were huge highlights for me.BCM: What’s the sketchiest experience you have gotten into?
BL: I was working with Greg Hill this March for his March Madness Touring. Greg was ahead of us, as per usual. When we caught up with him, we went up into this zone that I think we all had some reservations about. But Greg had already skied a line and had already put a skintrack up. We didn’t really talk too much about it, and we all ended up going up. We all got to the top, and we talked about it a little bit, but we probably could have talked more. When we got to the top of the ridge, the guys took their skis off to have some lunch. As soon as they stepped down, they stepped through into the rocks, and set off the whole slope that we had just climbed up. A massive avalanche—it would have taken us all out for sure. I know Greg wrote a big thing about it on his blog, talking about risk assessment and making mistakes; getting complacent.
It was a good reminder to voice your opinion more, especially if you are having doubts about something, to just speak up instead of just trusting each other all the time. If your instincts are telling you, “Something’s not right here,” there is probably a reason for that, especially if you spend a lot of time in the mountains. Greg is the most confident guy I have ever been with in the mountains and very knowledgeable—even he gets complacent sometimes. I think that was the moral: don’t let your guard down. Ever.