A turbulent interview with Joerg Mitter A turbulent interview with Joerg Mitter 07/05/2013 created by Red Bull Illume Valery Rozov in Kamchatka ©Joerg Mitter/limeximages.com Austrian photographer Joerg Mitter is about experienced as they come. After covering more than 400 international events and logging more than 150 hours shooting from the air, we caught up with the head photographer at Limex Images for a chat… How did it all start?I started photographing with a friend’s camera during a snowboard trip so I paid him for a roll of film and had 36 shots! Later I worked a summer job for the Red Bull Air Race and bought a camera with the money I earned. I began taking photos of the crew and one day in the summer of 2005, a communications manager saw my images and asked me if I would be interested in working with him!How tough is event photography?The most challenging part of events is that everything just happens and there is no way to influence anything as a photographer. That means you have to be prepared and think about all possibilities before you start shooting and be quick to react! For example during Red Bull X-Fighters I try to figure out in advance if any of the rider is planning a new trick or a special use of the course. I also check to see if there are any interesting story angles during the event like crazy temperatures, strong winds and other relevant topics that could be interesting. You’ve been on some pretty tough assignments…Shooting with an 800mm lens in rainy conditions with 80km/h winds like during Red Bull Storm Chase can become pretty difficult, almost impossible! Also during a trip to Kamchatka we had to get out of a helicopter on a ridge and due to the super cold conditions, my camera froze after 3 frames. I had to warm the camera up inside my jacket and put the batteries in my pockets to keep them working.Some of my worst personal experiences in the past have always been shoots from airplanes while flying in formation or through the Red Bull Air Race course, sometimes even sitting backwards as I experienced forces like never before on earth and had to fight motion sickness and blackouts.You take on some risky assignments… Any close shaves?My worst experience happened during a shoot with aerobatic pilot Peter Besenyei in Turkey in 2007 as our helicopter almost crashed. Our idea was to keep hovering on a defined spot nearby while Peter flew over the stone formations of Cappadocia. I was looking through a long lens, focusing on the shot and when I looked up I saw this totally pale camera man screaming and I realised that we were almost freefalling due to rotor downwash. We lost a couple hundred meters within a second. Luckily the helicopter was powerful enough and our pilot managed to pull up a couple meters above the ground. How was shooting Red Bull Stratos?I joined Felix Baumgartner and the whole Red Bull Stratos team for the entire year. I also worked with Felix as I also photographed his jump from the Taipeh 101, the former highest building in the world. What was most impressive for me was the pressure, fear and in the end, excitement that you could feel within the team during and after the jump. Our regular working day started at 11 p.m. for the preparations and tests and lasted till the afternoon the next day. This was over two weeks and on the actually jump day I worked for more than 26 hours but never got tired because it was too exciting... Of course things are always more than interesting when an astronaut appears in front of your lens! How much has action and adventure sports photography changed?A lot, especially in terms of equipment. Less then 10 years ago it would have been impossible to shoot a night event without flash but nowadays the camera sensors are at such a high standard you can photograph with an ISO of up to 6400 and experience hardly any grain. New systems like GoPro have also opened up a completely new field with POV cameras. There are also more and more athletes who push their sports to the limits which opens up a lot of possibilities for photographers!Be sure to follow Joerg’s turbulent Instagram account here.