Hey everyone! My name is Dan Krauss and I’m a photographer based in Los Angeles, though I spend the majority of my time on the road. After starting off my career as a photojournalist, I’ve spent the last few years shifting my work into the outdoor lifestyle realm. I use my camera to supplement my love for climbing, slacklining, and spending as much time as I can outdoors. I tend to focus my work on the peak action of athleticism and the quiet, in-between moments of the adventure that surrounds. To put it simply.. I’m generally chill, frequently stoked.
Share this Post
Do you remember the first time you picked up a camera?
The first real camera I ever played around with was an old Pentax 35mm that my grandpa gave me. My first couple rolls of film were pretty typical, consisting of poorly composed and boring inanimate objects. Things like street lights, benches, grave yards, etc. Pretty standard for a budding high school photographer.
The first roll of film that actually made an impression on me was during a snowstorm that blew in around Christmas in 2004. I was out sledding with my family for the holidays. After seeing the sky change color with all the fluffy particles gently drifting around, I begged my dad to take me home and get my camera and drive me back to the hill. I went out in the cold while he patiently drove me around and waited in the car while I wandered around with my tripod.
I blew through 2 rolls of film in about an hour and called it quits after my hands went numb. The next couple days were pure anguish waiting to get the negatives back. Once I got them in my hands, I couldn’t believe the colors that came out of the streetlights through the frosty air. It was my first set of images that weren’t terrible and it solidified my love with the medium.
“Do something you hate every day, so you can fully appreciate what you love.”
Favorite source for inspiration?
I’d have to say Joshua Tree or The Buttermilks in Bishop, CA are a pretty good source of inspiration. It still blows my mind that places like that exist in the world and that they’re relatively easy to access from the bustling city of Los Angeles. I recently spent a week around Sedona, AZ, and feel like I barely scratched the surface of that place. I can’t wait to get back and dig in deeper.
Tell us about your latest adventure...
About a month ago, I went to Yosemite to photograph Brad Gobright on a one-day attempt to climb Golden Gate, a 40-pitch 5.13b route on El Capitan. Earlier this year, he had fallen on a climb, breaking a few vertebrae and his ankle. It had only been a few weeks since his doctor had cleared him for climbing. To understand what kind of an undertaking it is to climb a route like this, it usually takes most climbers 3-7 days to climb the over 3,000’ tall granite monolith.
It was my first time working on a route this big, and my first time on El Cap. After the 4-hour steep hike up the back of the rock, I almost wussed out once I got to the edge. I’ve been on a few walls that were around 1,000’ tall, but it’s a lot different when you climb up from the bottom, opposed to dropping in from the top. My anxiety started pumping, my heart raced, and my mouth went dry.
With something like this, there just isn’t any way you can prepare for it. It wasn’t technically difficult or anything new to me. It was just simple rappelling, but I’d never experienced fear like that. The only way to do it was to just do it.
I got my gear together, strapped on my harness, and clipped my rappel device into the line. Down I went, off the edge into nothingness. I triple-checked every piece of gear at every anchor and watched the top of the route get further and further away.
It took me about an hour to reach the comfortable ledge where I was supposed to meet Brad. I leaned over the edge and was happy to see him a few pitches below, giving him a big “WHOOP!” to let him know I made it.
Once he made it to the ledge, I found out he had trouble with one of the crux pitches below, so it technically today wouldn’t be a proper “send.” We still had a blast shooting images on the next couple crux pitches while the sun magically burst through the dark clouds near golden hour.
We made it back to the top of El Cap well after dark. It took us a few more hours to navigate down the slabs and get back to Camp 4. Brad and his partner had been climbing for over 25 straight hours, which is just insane. Even though he didn’t finish the route clean, what he did was nothing short of spectacular.
It must have been great training, considering that last week he climbed El Cap 3 times in less than 24 hours. Only 2 people have done before. One of which was Alex Honnold, and they were only 10 minutes shy of his time.
Favorite song on the road?
Hard to pick a favorite, but might have to go with “Sun Medallion” by King Tuff.
How'd you hear about Just Chill?
I was shooting Coachella a couple years ago for The Do LaB and Just Chill sponsored their stage. I can’t even remember how many cans I downed in that insanely hot desert.
Any current books you're working on?
This month I read Brendan Leonard’s new book, “60 Meters to Anywhere,” and Peter Zuckerman’s “Buried in the Sky.” Both are excellent and relatively quick reads.
One spot to visit in your hometown
Los Angeles is full of awesome places to get away from all the madness. Will Rogers State Park is my favorite place to trail run. Echo Cliffs hosts some of my favorite local sport climbing. Black Mountain for granite bouldering. And if I’ve been stuck at my computer all day, I love to skate down to the slackline park in Santa Monica or drive up the coast to any of the endless beaches.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully doing exactly what I’m doing now, but better.
Any last words?
Drive fast, take chances!