Trail Chat with Trail Running Filmmaker/Photographer Bobby Jahrig

Bobby at the Oregon Coast. Photo Credit: Erin Williams

Born and raised in Missoula, Bobby Jahrig is a 25-year old filmmaker, editor, aerial specialist and photographer. Bobby enjoys trail running, backcountry skiing, playing hockey and just being outside. Bobby graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Media Arts with a focus on filmmaking. Bobby’s films and photographs capture the beautiful, wild terrain that remains untouched in a unique way that runners and people who cherish nature and the outdoors will truly appreciate. Three of Bobby’s films will be featured Saturday night (November 7th) at the Mountain Running Film Festival  at the Wilma Theatre in Missoula. I feel fortunate to have been able to meet Bobby for this interview, so rather than my normal Q&A, I relay some of what Bobby had to say. It was great chatting with him!
What drew you into photography and film, what age did you get started, and what motivates and inspires you to continue?
Bobby’s interest in film and photography was sparked through his passion for skiing and being outside in Montana. In high school at age 16, he and his friends were into doing ski stunts, finding fresh powder, and documenting it mostly for memories sake. After a while the hobby got more serious and he started to pick up his camera more often to create short ski films and share them with friends. At the University of Montana he dabbled in several other majors at first, but eventually discovered Media Arts and Filmmaking was his true calling.  Bobby is motivated to continue filming because it gives him an opportunity to share and be involved in adventure and experience the world and all its beauty and call it work. Not only is it about the scenery, but the amazing and inspiring people he gets to meet and work with all the time.
Bobby snapped a photo of Mike Wolfe and Mike Foote running across the frozen tundra on day 2 of the Crown Traverse
What films of yours will be featured at the Mountain Running Film Festival?
*Kiwi Tracks  – Two top ultra- runners head to New Zealand’s South Island to run in as many diverse and amazing places as possible.
*Mountain Miles: Trails To Live By – featuring 5 accomplished trail runners exploring Montana’s diverse and incredible terrain
*11 miles to Paradise- a film capturing the beauty of a trail and the energy of the event.
Capturing a sunset shot during the Crown Traverse on the “Red Dragon”. PC: Mike Foote
What do you enjoy most about being a trail runner?
Bobby enjoys trail running because it is an easy way to get outside in the wild, take a break from things and explore with minimal equipment. Bobby often runs up Mt Jumbo, Mt Sentinel, or the Rattlesnake from his house and enjoys the easy access. Bobby says running on trails allows him to feel like an animal. “I get so caught up being on the computer editing sometimes it is so nice to drop it all and get out and explore and breathe fresh air.”

What is it you want to say with your photographs/films and how do you actually get your photographs/ films to do that?

“With what I do I am lucky enough to do some really fun things and meet some amazing people that I want to remember and share. I have never been an overly talkative person so film is a way for me to tell my stories and connect with people. And almost more valuable than the sharing is how great of a way it is to listen and learn things about a person or location you are working with. “
“In my films and photos I try to give people a glimpse into what they may not be familiar with or try to invoke a feeling or a memory inside them as if they were out there exploring for themselves. There are some beautiful moments, people, and places out there and I just want to share and experience those as best as I can and maybe inspire someone to go out and do something fun, I guess that’s the goal really.”
Bobby says he tries to accomplish this by keeping it real. Bobby will often shoot a runner then go back later to capture all the little details. He prefers to go out and film adventure un-staged which allows him to tap into what is actually going on to get that feeling across.
Bobby capturing the beauty of the golden larches at Snow Bowl
Does being a trail runner help you to be a more creative filmmaker / photographer?
Trail running indirectly helps Bobby to be a more creative film maker by helping him with the tedious editing process by providing a mental break. “I like being able to get out from the house and just go for a run. Running outside in a beautiful setting is inspiring and helps me think of ideas for future filming projects or things I would like to shoot. Running allows me to just be with my thoughts for a while which helps me think things through.”

Bobby summiting East St. Mary’s in the Missions. Photo Credit: Ian Hamilton

What was a typical day like for you filming the 600 mile Crown Traverse Adventure?

“A typical day would involve getting up before sunrise and we would eat a quick breakfast which usually involved a whole package of bacon cooked by our Vegetarian Chef, David Steele. We would then go over maps and do our best to feel out what would be coming for the day. I was working with another filmmaker named Matt Irving. We would leave before their run and start hiking up in the dark and try to get up into the alpine before sunrise. We would wait for them to arrive and when they did it was game time. They had their own mission and we didn’t want to hold them up at all so we would film every run and gun style which is film what we could get and then try to run with them as long as possible until inevitably they would drop us. At a certain point we would decide to head back and usually involve driving for several hours to the other side of the mountains. We would hike in and re-do the same thing, which is find a nice spot, get a few shots and then follow them back to the van. Most days we would be capturing the beginning and the end segments of their runs. Evenings were spent backing up footage and looking over maps over for the next day. I worked on this project for 18 days and was living out of my tent or car most nights .The biggest challenge was figuring out where we could find them. Once we got to Canada the maps became challenging and a lot of time was spent on Google Earth plotting out where to find them. We are hoping to have the film out this time next year at film festivals if all goes well.”

Tranquil shot taken at a high alpine lake, Rockies Park BC, during the Crown Traverse Adventure
PC: Bobby

Bobby filming striking scenery during the Crown Traverse. PC: Bobby

For a beginner photographer what equipment would you recommend and what advice would you give?
“The best camera is the camera you have with you. You can do amazing things with a camera phone or point and shoot cameras.” Bobby suggests learning the camera settings and take pictures during the golden hours of the day which is right at sunrise or before sunset. It’s all really about practicing and shooting every day.

Any new projects coming up that you would like to mention?
“I am about to start filming another episode of Mountain Miles featuring ultra-runner badass Kristina Pattison who is also a former smoke jumper. During the winter I will be traveling to Japan to ski and will be working on some projects there and back home in Montana.”


Bobby and his girlfriend, Erin Williams. Erin is also a trail runner and takes beautiful photos.
PC: Erin Williams

Thank you, Bobby, for all that you do. Your passion for outdoor adventure and your creative skills give rise to films and photographs that really capture the special moments of life and tell a story that positively impacts people’s lives.
For more information about Bobby visit Jahrig Media.