Published: June 6, 2019
If you've ever picked up a Parachutist or Blue Skies Magazine, or spent a second on social media, you probably have seen Trunk's photography. He has spent the last 15 years traveling from boogie to boogie capturing skydivers' smiles in freefall. When he is not shooting SIS events, Trunk owns and operates Hypoxic; a skydiving company who manufacturers camera gear. Beyond the lens, Trunk is a wealth of information and is always willing to debrief your skydive or landing.
Throughout his several boogie tours, he has never jumped in Michigan and is excited to get you ladies published! Be sure to follow him on Instagram @gethypoxic.
Recently, we had a chance to talk with Trunk about his experiences in the sport, his company HYPOXIC and what it's like being such and amazing photographer!
- How many years have you been in the sport?
- How many skydives do you have?
Around 4000. Maybe 50 hours in the tunnel, and now 14 BASE jumps and 11ish cutaways
- What ratings do you hold?
I jump at Skydive Arizona with some of the best TI and AFFI in the world. Although I've considered getting these ratings, I would not be able to use them at SDAZ without going somewhere else first to get my jump numbers up. In the end, I'd rather focus on my photography skills and fun jump vs. have yet another job. I had my coach rating, but let it lapse as I don't see a need to keep it up to date. Next year I plan on hitting swoop comps hard and hopefully end up with my PRO card.
- When did you first decide to try skydiving and what was it like working towards becoming a licensed jumper?
I had a bad day at work, and was like screw this, I'm going to do what I've always wanted to: Skydive. I went through AFF and was slow to get certified because of finances, but finally pushed on through.
- What drew you to becoming an aerial photographer?
My dropzone needed a video guy for tandems. I had way too little jumps ~117 but donned a camera helmet anyway (before the 200 jump rule). I flew like crap, and sometimes (most of time) gave the customer a horrible product. It took me many years of good training as well as tunnel time to unlearn those nasty habits of starting too early. I do not recommend this progression. It cost me a lot of money and wasted time. None-the-less, I started making electronics for aerial photography when I formed Hypoxic. I realized I need to become a great photographer so I could market and test my products. To this day, I'm just trying to produce a better and better product.
- What was your most memorable skydive as a photographer and why?
There are so many, and I unfortunately have a horrible memory. I would say the time I jumped out with a poker table on a Joe Jennings Stunt, and of course round 7 of 2017 USPA Nationals Freestyle Comp. with Julie. Everything clicked that round and we were on fire. I love capturing her smile in freefall.
- Why did you feel it was necessary to develop better camera accessories for skydivers? What was the motivating factors and how long did it take to develop?
I have fairly bad anxiety. Add getting paid to capture a tandem, a few weeks off, 7lb camera helmet, a high-performance canopy, wearing wings, getting the door, and checking the spot, it makes your anxiety soar. After all that, second guessing if you pressed record on your camera right before exit can lead to you not getting the shot. Therefore, I built the HYPEYE status indicator to ensure I know I'm recording and have one less thing I have to worry about when I exit the plane. The above list is also why we don't recommend people jump cameras early in their skydiving career. To me, it's less about the snag hazard and more about taking your focus away from the skydive and your safety (chest strap, spot, other people in the sky, etc).
- Do you have any new gadgets that you're secretly working on?
Currently I'm doing some contracting as the money is better and the skydiving camera industry has gotten commoditized. I'm still producing most of HYPOXIC's product line, but focusing on more reverse engineering and product development for third parties. I have a few small products we are developing, but nothing ground breaking at the moment.
- How many different accessories do you have now (types/for which cameras/etc to promote your products)
Hypoxic has developed close to 60 products throughout it's tenure. We regularly sell around 40 products now.
- What is your favorite part about traveling to skydiving events?
The people! I love meeting new people, jumping my butt off, and capturing some awesome photos of people's smiles. You can't fake a smile in freefall. I get to capture people's true personality in the sky.
- Who has been your biggest influence in the sport?
Man, so many great influences. I would say I enjoy seeing John Hicks skydive because he's 70+ years old still rocking a Velo. Steve Curtis has one of the the best minds in the industry and is my go to for "what about this" questions. Recently, I must say Julie has gotten my butt into gear. For freestyle, I have to lose weight so I can keep up with a 116lb girl. Working towards a competition also forces you to focus your training and therefore become a better skydiver. As far as influencers, we all need to do a better job of listening more and talking less. You can tell the bad a$$es on any dropzone by those that don't talk much and interject very little.
We hope that you will join us at Midwest Freefall July 12-14th during our Annual Sisters In Skydiving Boogie to benefit the YWCA of Greater Flint. Each year we use this event to not only help inspire female skydivers, but also to offer an educational experience to help build their abilities, confidence and skills in the sky though Special Female Guest Organizers and Mentors. All of this skydiving awesomeness combined with raising money and awareness for one of our local community organizations, the YWCA of Greater Flint. We hope that you will be able to join us Friday, July 12 - Sunday, July 14th for what is sure to be an incredible weekend full of smiles, excitement and sisterly love! Trunk and all of our featured guest organizers will be available for debriefing of all skydives made with them. We encourage everyone to come take advantage of this awesome opportunity to build your skills in the sky with Julie Kleinwort, Maddie Baylog, Elizabeth "Zibby" Alexander and of course, TRUNK!
Click here to learn more about our 2019 Sisters In Skydiving Event being hosted at Midwest Freefall on Friday, July 12 - Sunday, July 14th and what other amazing opportunities we will have available that weekend!
Midwest is home to some of the finest wingsuit flyers and coaches, Crew dogs, RW and freeflyers around with the best plane in Michigan.
» Dan Rizzo