As a photographer, you have to be almost as fit as the athletes you are shooting in order to follow them in their playgrounds. Craig Kolesky is challenging himself every year with extensive training and recently competed at the Cape-Epic, one of the toughest mountain bike races on the planet. We've interviewed the South African photographer about staying fit and how this helped him in his photography career.
Does the extensive training for Cape-Epic help you to stay fit as a photographer when chasing world class athletes out in the field?
While I doubt I will ever have the fitness of the athletes I shoot, I think having enough fitness to somewhat keep up with them has helped me tremendously.
Riding and training for Cape-Epic has certainly allowed me to gain a level of fitness that helps with the kind of photography I do. Whatever sport you take part in will also give you a better understanding of what you are shooting. Being fit is just the first part of getting good images in remote outdoor locations. Shooting when you unfit, tired and under pressure is not fun and before I started cycling and training I suffered a lot on shoots.
Does the experience as an athlete competing for Cape-Epic help you to shoot better images during such events? Does that help you to get deeper into the sport as well?
Yes definitely, as a rider in the Cape-Epic you get to see the other side of the event. When you go back to shoot it, you have a good understanding of what is needed and how the system works.
How do you manage to train hard and manage your photography business at the same time?
The first two times I struggled to fit in all the training and shooting for clients, add a newborn to the mix and you can imagine how crazy life was. But I have always believed that if you really want to achieve something you give it all and make it happen, whether it is my photography or my cycling. You pretty much eat, sleep and breath. Cape-Epic training lasts for almost 6 months of the year.
I think now, after a good few solid years, the training does become a bit easier and you also get a better system in place. It has been a big learning curve for me as a rider and a photographer. But also having great support from my family is a big help.
Any other tips to stay fit as a photographer?
Take the stairs, not the lifts… ha ha ha.
No, I suggest to just always keep moving and try to get involved in what you love to shoot, the athletes will also respect that you do what they do. Understanding the sport is also key to getting a good shot, and if you are fit you can get to those locations a lot easier if no other transport is available.
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