Tentspiration: Max Dreamcreator

Tentspiration: Max Dreamcreator

We recently reached out to our friend across the pond, Max Dreamcreator, for our latest batch of tentallating imagery.  His tentsational photography of lands throughout Europe will have you feeling green with tentvy.  Seriously, his campsites are so sweet, you’ll have to visit the tentist.  Ok, we’ll stop.  Without any further cringe inducing puns, let us tentroduce you to Max Dreamcreator….

Tell us a little about yourself.  Where you are from, where your current resi-tents, and what you do for a living and for fun?
I am an outdoor Photographer/ Filmmaker with a passion for mountains and camping. I’m originally from France but currently living in the UK. Sleeping on the mountain is, for me, the only way to be ready on location at the best time of the day, of sunrise and sunset. I have specialized in tent photography over the past 10 years. I have a great experience of much more than 100 outdoor nights during the last years. My goal for 2018 is to start wild camping photography workshop, so if you are interested, keep in touch!
Try to moun-tain your tenthusiasm (click to enlarge)
What is in your camera bag?
I use a Panasonic GH4 with Canon lenses. I use a Metabones adapter to mount Canon leses onto my Panasonic. My favourite lens is my ultra wide angle for shooting landscapes, a Sigma 10-20mm.  I also use a Lumix 12-35mm and a Canon 35-350mm zoom lens. I also recently got a DJI Mavic Pro drone, which I often take with me. I also use a lightweight tripod for night photography. As I normally go camping, I also carry all camping gear, food, and equipment for several days. Generally my hiking pack can vary between 18 to 25 kg between summer and winter.
We’re green with tenvy (click to enlarge)
 
What is your favorite camping photo you’ve ever taken and why? 
My favorite photo was taken at the heart of the Cairngorm National Park in Northern Scotland in Februray 2016 on a high summit camp at 1200m altitude. It was a fabulous cold an crisp morning at -9°C with no wind. This image was awarded the 3rd place in the UK Mountain Photography Of The Year 2016 organized by Trail Magazine.
Cairngorm National Park | Northern Scotland | February 2016 (Click to enlarge)
It looks like you get to some pretty remote locations.  Got any crazy stories about the lengths you’ve gone to get a photo?
I do have good story for this photo and wrote a blog about it recently.
The Pitlochry Swamp | February 2017 (click to enlarge)

Early 2017, three friends and I decided to spend four days in the central Cairngorms, a mountain range in Northeast Scotland. On our first night in the mountains we got battered in a wind storm which destroyed out tent, one pole had snapped, the pole sleeve ripped and many pegs lost in the snow. We had a little choice other than retreating after this disappointing experience.

Instead of driving back home while two of my friends decided to stay in a B&B in Pitlochry, Shaun and I were still up for a challenge. We dropped my two friends to the B&B and we headed straight to the mountains again with the broken tent with a view to spend our last on a summit. After braving the heavy rain for two continous hours in near zero degree temperatures we finally reached the top plateau which in effect had a lake and was surrounded by a swamp. There was little choice for us to set the tent other than setting it on the spongy ground.

Completely drenched, sat in tent with our feet soaking in the spongy ground we fired up the stove for a warm cup of soup.

As the sun set the weather cleared and we suddenly witnessed an absolutely gorgeous sunset while wild deer came out of the wood to say Hi. As we were getting comfortable in our fluffy winter bags it was quite noticeable that the temperature had dropped significantly.

At about 3am, an acute back pain woke me up, strange enough as we were possibly lying on the softer ground imaginable. By curiosity, I decided to have a sneak peak outside of the tent. At this point I had the strange surprise to find that the zip of the tent door had totally frozen up. With temperatures dropping just below freezing, the tent had virtually turned into an igloo with a crust of ice covering it. Our boots were so wet that they had frozen up too and became blocks of ice. I then grabbed my camera and tripod and ventured out of the tent bear foot, sinking in the freezing spongy ground of the swamp we had set our tent onto.

It didn’t take long to realise that the sky was perfectly clear and all that could be seen looking up were stars. An unexpected thin layer of snow had also covered the ground. What a sight and such a sense of reward after fighting against the most miserable conditions to get to this place…

I set my camera on tripod and started shooting a few images, lighting up the tent with head torches as well as the beautiful pine trees next to where our tent was stood. As I started loosing any feelings in my feet slowly freezing up, it was time to capture one last image before the clouds curtain off the beautiful milky way. I got back into the tent to try to get a couple more hour sleep without waking Shaun who had been fast asleep all this time, it was 4am.

As we woke up to a beautiful crisp morning with a complete blue sky welcoming us, we grabbed a quick porridge for breakfast, slided unpleasantly our dry, warm feet in our frozen boots and packed up the tent. The fabric was so wet and cold that we had to take it in turn to stuff the tent into it’s bag as our fingers were freezing within seconds. Packed away and carrying probably an extra two kilos of ice on our backs, we hiked back down the mountain to the car.

Soon after, we drove back to civilisation to pick up our two friends who leisurely enjoyed the comfort of a nice shower and full English breakfast.

Another successful weekend, although repairing the tent cost us all a lot of money, we all had a great time and brought home many memories…

 What projects are you currently working on?
I’m working long term in trying to get to the most remote place in Europe, Sarek National Park in Lapland, Northern Sweden, but it may be a while before I get there. I am currently planning a 4-day trip in Northwest Scotland in the beautiful mountains of Torridon early March that will be fun !
(click to enlarge)
What are your favorite camping destinations?
Probably Scotland in winter.  I love snow and Scotland is the only place in the UK which offer reasonable snow, so it’s my “local” paradise (still an 8 hour drive to get to it)
(click to enlarge)
 
What is your current tent setup?
I own 7 tents, so just depends what I do, but I mostly use 2 brands. For winter solo trips, I use the Polarmond All-in-On Tent.  It is a unique new design for a tent and has only been on the market for one year. I have recently been selected as the UK Polarmond Ambassador, so I have written a full review here if you are curious to know more about it. For all year round, I mostly use Hilleberg Tents. There are beautiful tents and extremely strong in high winds. I have a Hilleberg Soulo as a one man tent, a Hilleberg Jannu for a 2 man tent and a Hilleberg Saivo for 3 man. All 3 tents are 4 season, so I pick the size I need depending who is coming with me.
Polarmond All In One Tent (click to enlarge)
Helleberg triplets (click to enlarge)

 

Can you give us a Tent Commandment to add to the list? (trying to make this a recurring question to contributors)
“Thou shalt not say ‘I will camp’, thou thalt say, ‘I camped'”
(click to enlarge)
 
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