In the past five years, Daniel Wiwczar has been making choices to follow his dreams—not necessarily doing what everyone else is doing—and his film work shows it. Following eight years of service as an Infantryman in the U.S. Army, he founded Alpine Outdoor Adventures, a small guiding company, in 2012. He’d studied film in school, but never had the hands-on opportunity to connect his film skills with his passion for the outdoors until the 2013 AFS partnership with Sierra Club Military Outdoors.
By taking his passion for film into the outdoors, Daniel has been able to help connect people who don’t climb with the healing experiences he’s had in the wilderness. “After my deployment, it was really helpful for me,” he says. “Climbing with other vets added an extra therapeutic component to it. Climbing is a whole new level of healing.”
On the film side, the most valuable lesson Daniel took away from the course was how important pre-production planning is to pulling off a project. Filming expeditions comes with a whole host of variables, and without all the controls and resources of working in a studio, it can be difficult to get the footage needed. Working in the cold, keeping up battery power and dealing with unexpected changes of plans are all challenges he learned to deal with.
Right now, he’s filming a yearlong project describing a year’s worth of trips for Veterans Expeditions, and prepping for an expedition to Denali. And it’s all in the name of sharing the healing he’s found in the mountains. “The outdoors and climbing are very valuable things to get involved in,” he says. “I try to capture that with whatever I do, whether it’s taking photos or video. To show why we do that, so people can understand. It’s some of the coolest things you can do on earth.”