As a decorated photographer based in North Lake Tahoe, California, Ming Poon can often be found in precarious, far-flung situations: in a roadless fjord in Norway, in a tent high on a mountain in Pakistan, or riding a bike deep into the Eastern Sierra Nevada with a snowboard attached to his back. These are the situations in which Ming’s talents and passions shine. He captures larger-than-life imagery from wildly stunning places and brings content back to inspire others.
Having an eye for composition isn’t enough in these harsh, remote environments. One also needs the tools, experience, and athleticism to get there safely and responsibly. As a mountain guide, rock climber, mountain biker, and snowboard mountaineer, Ming is uniquely positioned to be a contributing and valuable member on a wide range of expeditions, near and far. He brings a sense of professionalism and compatibility that’s critical when you’re in hard-to-reach backcountry zones alongside world-class athletes and tight-knit film and photography crews. This expertise has led him to succeed in commercial photography settings, where he works seamlessly alongside crews as a creative director, director of photography, or cameraman. The tactical skills he’s acquired in the mountains apply well to commercial film and photography projects, where planning, communication, problem solving, creative thinking, and teamwork are crucial to success.
His work speaks for itself. In 2018, Ming received Powder Magazine’s prestigious Photo of the Year award, and in 2019, he won the renowned Whistler Blackcomb Deep Winter Photo Challenge. His work has been featured in Teton Gravity Research, Powder Magazine, Backcountry Magazine, The Snowboarder’s Journal, Standup Journal, Adventure Sports Journal, ROAM, Ascent Backcountry Journal, Vermont Life Magazine and a variety of other publications around the globe. Ming’s work has also appeared in international commercial marketing campaigns for clients including Eddie Bauer, Favre-Leuba, Swatch, Patagonia, O’Neill, Jones Snowboards, AwayCo, NOW Bindings, Hestra Gloves, Intuition Liners, Leki Poles, Tepui, Thirty-Two, YETI, Clif Bar, and more.
Photography has been a part of Ming’s life since he was a kid. He learned how to use his mom’s Minolta 35mm film camera at a young age growing up in Vermont, where he would paddle a canoe or venture into the woods to take photos of creatures and sunsets. He moved west for college in the Lake Tahoe area, where he studied snowboarding, as he jokes, and also business management and international business. After graduating, he started shooting photos of his friends snowboarding and rock climbing and also appeared in front of the lens himself, learning snowboard photography from the athlete’s perspective. During that time, he was accruing formal certifications in avalanche safety, wilderness first aid, and taking courses through the American Mountain Guides Association.
When his dad died unexpectedly, Ming, then 27 years old, had a choice to make: help run his family’s international trading business in his dad’s native Hong Kong or keep adventuring in the mountains. He chose to help his family. Ming moved to China for five years to help run a massive microelectronic trading business across global lines. He learned to speak Mandarin on the job (he grew up speaking Cantonese with his dad’s family) and was challenged beyond his classroom training through various fields of international business. But he longed for clean air, snow-covered peaks, and his camera. His number one motive for the next chapter in his life was to live where he wanted to live and do the work he wanted to do.
So, Ming moved back to Tahoe, where he now works for himself and runs a business of his own: a media production company and photo agency called Wuya Creative that helps brands tell their stories in imaginative, authentic, and sustainable ways. Through his work and travels, Ming hopes to inspire others to enjoy the outdoors and preserve our planet’s wilderness and public lands, a set of values he believes goes hand-in-hand.