As far as jobs go, it’s hard to beat T.C. Worley’s. A Minneapolis-based cinematographer and stills photographer, Worley specializes in capturing people on the move. He shoots everyone from mountain bikers shredding urban single-track in Minneapolis and adventure racers in Patagonia, Chile, to climbers in the Swiss Alps and ultra trail runners on the alpine ridgelines of Big Sky, Mont.
When he’s not behind a camera, Worley often leaps into these varied adventures himself.
“I don’t ever sit still,” he said. “If I’m outside, I’m fist-pumping.”
From brand marketing jobs to more hard-hitting projects for outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, Worley, 37, is a visual storyteller at heart.
In a recent interview fresh off a camping trip in northern Minnesota, Worley discussed his career and what he loves about working out of doors. Here are edited excerpts from the interview:
On his work as a labor of love
Early on I leaned toward work that I thought would be the most fun thing to do with my life, and that’s a thread I still follow.
Any time I’ve come to a crossroads of what I’d most like to be doing vs. where the money was, I went with what I wanted to be doing.
There have been some bumpy years, but it’s not like I ever went without what I needed. I feed off that challenge, and now I’m doing as well as I ever dreamed I’d do.
On how his recreational interests have guided his career
I’ve been into so many different activities myself. When I was young I was really into jumping bikes (BMX). I’ve been into surfing and rock climbing and kayaking and gravel bike racing. I just get excited about trying new things that get me outside.
You should see my garage. Those are the things I love doing, and I also love seeing other people doing those things. When I’m shooting outside, that’s the best day ever. I think, ‘How did I get this job?’
On his favorite projects
The cycling work I’ve done has been a labor of love. It’s hard for me not to do a lot of cycling work because I love it so much, but a lot of things I shoot are similar in many ways. I just did a speedboat piece at Lake of the Ozarks, for instance. It’s intriguing — a boat moving at 200 miles per hour. I get excited about a lot of different types of projects, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say cycling is my favorite.
On teaching his sons (12 and 14 years old) to love the outdoor world
We have a little club we call “men of the woods.” We live in north Minneapolis near a creek, and when it gets dark in the winter and there aren’t a lot of things to do, me and my boys bundle up and go out and look for animal tracks. We’ll carve our names in a tree, and we look for wildlife. We are very much an outside family. It’s important to value and get out and enjoy those untouched outdoor places.
On being a year-round cyclist in Minneapolis
It really is the two-wheeled freedom machine. When I leave my house on my bike, I’m instantly having fun, smiling, and pumped about what the next few hours will bring. I’m that guy who hoots and hollers when I’m on the trail, and this city definitely rewards people like myself. All the bike paths and the infrastructure are incredible. I can get on single-track 2½ miles from my house and ride for 10 miles, and turn around and ride back. I don’t know of many urban cities of this size that offer that.
Mackenzie Lobby Havey is a freelance writer from Minneapolis.