Behind the scenes at the Pannonian Challenge Shooting action sports can be overwhelming and strenuous if you lack the proper knowledge before going out to shoot. So we went on assignment with photographer Stephan Bednaic to get his take on how to handle a big action sports event – like the Pannonian Challenge in Osijek, Croatia. 08/09/2016 © Stephan Bednaic What goes into planning a day of shooting at such an event? “First of all take notes about the schedule – where do you need to be at a given moment? When do you have time to go to the media tent and transfer/backup images? When to do live social media posts? If the event is in the open, have the weather forecast in mind – where will the sun be and can you use the golden hour/blue hour during the contest? It’s good to have some kind of plan prepared and work around it.“What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far while shooting big events? “Be fast and move often! You can cover and document so much more if you move around. Be at two places at once. Even during runs, don’t be afraid to change your location. Yes, you’ll miss a trick or two but the new angle and different perspective can be rewarding. Riders often have two runs, so use that to your advantage. I usually try to photograph one run on the safe-side and then experiment on the other run. Have variety in the pictures.”How do you decide what gear to bring? “Since I had full access to the event and freedom to move where I want, I could minimize the gear I had on me – a Canon 1D4 with a 70-200 on one shoulder and a Canon 5D3 with a 16-35 on the other. As far as lenses – all I had on my belt was a 50mm, 45mm tilt-shift and a 15mm fisheye. Depending on the situation I would switch between them, usually while changing locations keeping in mind what I want to use next.”What’s the biggest challenge of shooting a BMX comp? “Definitely the unpredictability. You don't know what lines and tricks a rider will perform. You could be waiting on one side of the park while the rider will be using the other side and you’ll be missing shots. My tip would be to look at the first run and learn to predict the rider. It can help you set up creative photos because you’ll be at the right place in the right moment.”What’s your favorite event to shoot? “The Pannonian Challenge without a doubt. It’s been going for 17 years, and it’s just growing and growing. I have so many friends and colleagues working on it – it feels like home there. It was especially big this year since it was one of five FISE World Series stops, and the crew did a great job around it. You should definitely check it out and mark your calendars for next year!”What’s the one item every photographer should have in his or her bag while shooting? “This might sound generic but trust me on this one – food and water. There’s nothing worse than working hungry or dehydrated. I always have a water bottle on my belt and protein bars/gels in my bag just in case. Make snacks or sandwiches if you know you’ll be working for a long period. I was at the park from 11am to 10pm capturing the event and doing side projects, running from one location to another. A delicious snack when you’re exhausted is a great energy booster. Other than that, I would recommend putting deodorant and sun protection into your bag.”Any tips for newbie photographers? “Get in touch with the event organizers and try to get a press pass. It will help you get to locations you wouldn’t be allowed otherwise. If you get rejected don’t stop there. Go as a visitor and capture the perspective from the crowd, move to the fences to get a little closer and tell your story. Don’t limit yourself and try to socialize with people in the industry. The point where you are now and the goal where you want to be is closer than you think.”For more of Stephan’s work, visit his website or Instagram.While waiting for the unveiling of the winners on September 28, 2016, visit the Red Bull Illume social channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a sneak peek of this edition’s entries. These randomly selected shots showcase just-how impressive the 2016 Red Bull Illume submissions really were.