Mizu Mission: Sam Oetiker
British professional photographer Sam Oetiker is based in Bavaria and had some hiking trips planned for this summer in beautiful surroundings. Sam takes stunning pictures and we were honored when he wanted to do a Mizu Mission with us! Check out his story and photos below...
Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Hey I’m Sam and I’m a freelance adventure and lifestyle photographer from England, based out in Germany. I live for discovering new places with my camera - climbing mountains for sunrise, exploring remote corners of the world, and constantly searching for the best light and weather conditions.
My work is heavily focused on landscape and the outdoors, but I actually love photographing humans in nature and documenting the journey. The little moments in between and the story behind the images play a huge role in my work.
What did you do before you got into photography and could earn a living from it?
I was first introduced to professional photography through my previous job as the online editor of Onboard Snowboard magazine. I was lucky enough to travel to many of the major snowboard events across Europe, and eventually started bringing a camera with me to create content with. I learnt so much from shooting snowboarding and being surrounded by some of the very best in the business and I learnt to really appreciate the power of good imagery.
Eventually it was time for a new challenge and after moving on from Onboard in 2017 I decided to purchase my first drone. This was an absolute game changer for me. I started up a new Instagram account for my drone and landscape content (@samoetiker) and after that I was hooked.
When did you first hear about Mizu and what made you do a MIZU Mission?
Thanks to my snowboard industry background I’ve been aware of Mizu since its inception back in 2008. I remember always looking forward to new snowboard parts from Jussi in the Burton movies - the king of technical backcountry riding! I still think that starting Mizu was the perfect evolution of his career and a great way for him to really stamp his legacy on snowboarding and make a real difference. We were sometimes lucky enough to receive MIZU bottles at these snowboard events and I have a few at home that have traveled with me all over Europe.
When I was approached for a MIZU Mission it was a no brainer - I love the brand story, the products are ecologically minded and the MIZU story is one that I’m very proud to be a part of.
Where did the Mission take you and why did you choose this destination?
My MIZU Mission took me back to one of my favorite places in Europe: the Italian Dolomites. I try to come here at least a couple of times per year to photograph the towering peaks and together with my friend Oli (@joinolli on Instagram - well worth a follow by the way!), we jumped in my van and visited several spots in the hope of scoring some beautiful light.
We started off at the famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo, which offers almost 360 degree views of 3000m high peaks, before continuing on to a beautiful alpine lake in the Madonna di Campiglio region.
Can you share a few highlights with us?
On the first morning we awoke early to shoot the sunrise. After hiking up in the dark with our head torches we were rewarded with a perfect sunrise: a soft glow on the Tre Cime peaks and a pastel coloured sky. But little did we know that the weather had more in store for us. Not even 30 minutes after sunrise we found ourselves hurrying towards the nearest rifugio as a big storm was blowing in, bringing hail, wind and heavy rain. Of course we grabbed some dramatic shots on the way!
Needless to say we were a little too preoccupied with shooting and got soaked to the skin before making it to the Rifugio - but the shots were definitely worth it!
What inspires you to get outdoors and explore?
For me, it’s the pursuit of special moments in nature that inspires me to get out there with my camera. You never know what you’ll find on top of that next peak or around the next corner and it’s this feeling of anticipation and curiosity that pushes me to keep exploring.
Reusing can be hard while on the go. Do you have any tips to help make going reusable a little bit easier while on the road?
Traveling and sleeping in a van forces you to be as efficient as possible while on the road. We’re lucky enough to have a full kitchen unit in our van and make a conscious effort to fully stock it with reusable utensils and items rather than single-use ones. One small tip would be to invest in a small washing line + quick drying towels to use while washing up or drying. This reduces the need for paper towels and helps to keep everything dry and mold-free.
What was your favorite MIZU product/s on this mission and why?
My favorite MIZU product on this mission was the M9 820ML bottle with 360 straw lid. The size is perfect for hiking - not too big, but also with enough capacity to carry a decent amount of water for short to medium hikes. I found the straw lid super easy to use and I was even able to fit it with a filter so I could re-fill along the way.
The urban cutlery set was also super practical during meal times - it folds up nice and small so we could store it away in the van without it taking up any space.
What does “Enjoy the journey, leave nothing behind” mean to you?
“Enjoy the journey, leave nothing behind” captures my ethos while traveling and shooting perfectly. It’s all of our responsibility to look after our planet and there are so many little steps, we can take to do our part. From taking all of our rubbish away with us, to making sure to use eco-friendly washing up liquid and suncream - they’re small actions that make a really big difference in the long run.
Do you have advice for others to inspire them to continue their own mission in reducing single-use plastics?
Don't be afraid in restaurants or cafes to ask them to fill your bottle/cup rather than consuming a single-use plastic item. Such a big part of improving the situation is through awareness and education, and encounters like this all play their part.
That said, it's all too easy to purchase single-use plastics without even realising it. My biggest tip to counter this is to plan ahead and always have a reusable bottle to hand - in your car or camera bag for example. This gives you the power of choice.