The Athlete's Perspective: Steve Fisher No one better understands what action sports photographers go through than the athletes themselves. Below, Red Bull athlete and kayaking legend Steve Fisher tells us why photography is essential – and why taking out the trash is a vital skill for expedition photographers. 05/03/2016 © Desré Pickers / Red Bull Content Pool “My connection to Red Bull Illume was that I was in a photograph that was the People’s Choice winner in the first edition in 2007. It’s a shot by my then girlfriend Desré Pickers of three kayakers looking over the edge of a waterfall. Red Bull flew me to Aspen for the award ceremony to give a speech so I know the event; I think it’s great and I’m a big fan.It’s easy to understand the importance of photography if you try and visualise the X Games with no photographs. Or if you take a ski town like Aspen and try to imagine its existence without any photographs. Media outcome on what would otherwise be a fringe activity is an essential part of the equation, and that means photography.For many of us, capturing the shot is the adventure. When we’re planning to run a drop, we plan the safety and all that but an equal layer is thinking where the photographers and filmers are going to be. We patiently set that all up. We become super closely involved. There are a lot of layers to being a good photographer, especially on difficult expeditions. One, the photographer has to do the expedition, whether that’s to hike along the side of a river or kayak down it himself. Remember, if the athlete is exposed to that environment, so is the photographer.The photographer has to be an adventurer. They have to be capable of taking care of themselves in that environment; you can’t have a photographer that you have to babysit. In addition there’s that all important team player aspect. The photographer has to be someone you want to hang out with in a difficult environment. Running an expedition is like running a small business in that everyone must be willing to do everything. If I have photographer on an expedition and I need him to take out the trash, I need him to be fully keen and willing to take out the trash! I personally like a shooter who likes to get uncomfortable to get the shot. Hanging off trees and cliffs, that should be a given. If I’m bringing a photographer on a trip I fully expect that he should know how to do those things. To get the shot a photographer needs to be able to do things nobody else can do – or is willing to do.Desré and I travelled together for many years and the story of how we worked it out is the same story for many athletes: we had two streams of income – through the photographs she sold and the other was the money I made because of the outcome that I got through the photographs. That created a viable way for me to do my sport.All of us athletes, skiers, dirt bike riders, any Red Bull athlete, the one thing we all have in common is that we would try and live our adventurous lifestyle with or without media and sponsors. We would try. We all start with passion. Once we realise that there are ways, you start coming together in groups and teams; we draw in filmers and photographers and we start creating the win win recipes.If you’re thinking about trying to be an athlete the conversation ends if you don’t have photographs. Red Bull Illume is at the apex at that exposure. It also gives photographers the opportunity to have a worthy tribute.”Keep coming back to redbullillume.com for your weekly dose of action and adventure sports photography and galleries of inspirational images. For more regular updates, head to Red Bull Illume on Facebook and Instagram.