Wild spaces.

I cannot go a day without my feet touching mother earth with my face turned toward her elements. Paradoxically, it is what energizes me most, and where I find my peace. I have traveled to a myriad of locations throughout the world to explore their various terrains and cultures. My new home in California has helped me take a closer look locally. I have sought opportunities to explore this state on an intimate and tactile level.

In my exploration, I have observed California’s diverse landscapes and the manifold activities that these spaces inspire. In my work I focus on the rock climbers who merge with these spaces in a way that seems to pay homage to their wildness. Observing closely the topography of the Bay Area and the visitors recreating here, I can share my passion and deep appreciation for this environment with the viewer.

I aim to illustrate the power, beauty and energy of the land, and the climbers that use that space. Looking at places close to San Francisco takes the viewer on a journey to what is accessible to them.

Mickey's Beach

Mickey's Beach Mickey's BeachRing Mountain

I had an early exposure to photography.

In middle school we had access to a darkroom, and that was my first time when I approached photography and light from a more formal point of view. From that time on I can’t remember a time when I did not have a camera in my hand. My undergrad degree is in Fine Arts with a focus in photography, and I just completed my MFA in Photography at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

I started climbing in 2000 in the High Peaks of the Adirondack Park in upstate New York. Naturally, once I started climbing outside, I brought my camera. I have photographs I have taken throughout the years climbing, but just in the last few years I really dedicated my craft to capturing rock climbing.

The Eastern Sierra

The Buttermilks

The Buttermilks

The Buttermilks

I have to decide before I go out if it is a climbing day or photography day.

Luckily I love both of these days because they are spent outside with great people. While I am climbing, I observe the light around me and take note of features on the rock, that way when I return to that same area to photograph I have a very specific plan on what I am going to capture. Photography has brought more attention to detail and my surroundings while climbing.

Climbing has allowed me to push myself with my photography by taking more risks and being persistent. A lot of effort might go into a shot, and at the end of the day, it might not be what I was looking for. The same way I approach a climbing project, it takes time, and climbs don’t always get sent on the first try. I remember that when I am approaching my work; I look at the beta of creating the image and go after it until I get the desired shot.


Owen's River Gorge


Megan Mack is an outdoor adventure, lifestyle, and travel photographer based in San Francisco, California. To explore more of Megan’s work, visit her website.

Want to get to know another amazing climbing photographer? Check out last month’s Featured Photographer.