My name is Seth Kurtz and I am a 25 year old freelance photographer with a passion for travel and cultural exploration. I was born in a rural village in Mozambique, Africa and spent a year living in Ecuador at the age of 21. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia, Peru, Brazil, and Puerto Rico. With so much natural beauty in the US and around the world, I hope to capture images that inspire others to get out of their comfort zones and explore. Two years ago I moved from my hometown of Goshen, IN to Los Angeles, CA with a group of high school friends. It was time for a drastic change in my life and there was no better time to see where photography could take me. This experience only heightened my passions and pushed me to the limits of my comfort zone. Since this move, I have had the opportunity to work with amazing brands, advance my photography skills, and through trial and error, build a business that I love.
About a month ago I was planning a ski trip to Michigan and came across Mizu. I was immediately drawn to their collection of reusable products that fuel an active and adventurous lifestyle. I loved the idea of taking and using some of their products on my ski trip and capturing them in the outdoors.
Where did your mission take you and what did you do?
My “Mizu Mission” took me to Bittersweet Ski Resort, located in Otsego, MI. My dad and I spent the day enjoying their collection of 20 ski runs. This was about a one and a half hour drive from where we live in Goshen, IN. It was a beautiful day with some light snow mixed in. I had recently been to a smaller ski resort and my dad had not gone skiing in several years, but was up for the adventure. It felt great to hit the slopes again!
What are some highlights you’d like to share with our readers?
The whole day was a highlight, but for sure the adrenaline and electrifying feeling that comes with outdoor action sports is unmatched. It is addictive and gives me a sense of freedom. Something that you can't explain unless involved. That being paired with a bunch of other people enjoying themselves on the slopes is an equation for a wonderful day.
What inspires you to get outdoors and explore?
In my life, I see photography as the driver that will fuel my travels. I believe that travel and exploration is a great form of education. The feeling and growth that comes with learning about new cultures, people and places is what inspires me to explore. In 2016, I had the opportunity to take a gap year after my first year of college and volunteer at a refugee project in Quito, Ecuador. I entered a completely new culture and this was the most impactful year of my life. It is experiences such as this that I feel are so valuable. Leaving one’s “bubble” and having new experiences changes perspective and allows a person to grow and learn, and hopefully care more about taking care of this planet.
I also pull inspiration from other content creators who tell stories through their lense. Some of these creators are Jimmy Chin, Sam Kolder, Karl Ndieli, to name a few. The world is full of vast landscapes and cultures, and exploration is endless.
How do you manage to adventure while also taking care of the planet along the way?
This is a tough one because travel in and of itself can create harmful effects on the planet. Planning ahead is helpful, with a mindset of being as gentle as possible. One aspect we may have more control over is reducing consumption and waste. In today's age with social media, we are surrounded by ads and brands fighting for our attention. Many of these brands are creating products that are not reusable and degrade the planet. For me, it is very important to think past the status quo and what's trending and support brands that are doing their part to protect the environment by creating earth friendly, sustainable, and reusable adventure products.
What was your favorite Mizu product/s used through the mission and why?
Our favorite Mizu products used during the trip included the insulated bottles (D10 and V6) and the camp cup. The D10 bottle did a great job of keeping our coffee hot all day. We took several breaks to warm up and having hot coffee was game changing. We also packed some homemade chili in the V6 bottle and used the camp cup as a chili bowl. The hot chili outside on a cold day at the slopes warmed our bodies and filled us up so we could keep skiing. And we didn’t have to buy any of the packaged food and drinks at the lodge.
Any tips and tricks for keeping a low footprint while hitting the road?
Several tips/tricks for keeping a low footprint while traveling include: 1) Take as much of your own prepared food and drink in reusable containers as possible; 2) Pack light; 3) Turn down your thermostat, water heater, and unplug electronics at home while on the road; 4) If going with multiple people, take as few vehicles as possible, or even considering biking or using public transportation to get to your destination, if possible; 5) Enjoy and be mindful of the natural beauty, and keep it beautiful.
Follow Seth on Instagram @sethkurtzphotography