Lights, Camera, Wakeboarding
The lengths to which photographers and athletes go to nail a shot is often extreme — especially with sights on an entry into Red Bull Illume in mind.
Just a few miles down the road from the lights and magic of Disney World and Universal studios was the setting for this light-painting photo shoot at Orlando, Florida’s OWC Cable Park. Onsite were Red Bull wake riders Adam Errington, Dallas Friday and Mike Dowdy.
After the park closed to the public, photographer Patrick Rochon shot the Red Bull Riders as they attacked the sliders and kickers on boards tricked out with intricate LED lighting. Play the video above for a behind-the-scenes look at the shoot, which took place over three nights in late March.
The shoot – which was done in conjunction with a local Red Bull-supported photography event called Snap! Orlando – included many challenges in preparation. It’s hard enough to shoot high-speed action in the dark – add in the tasks of outfitting the boards with the waterproof LCD light systems to staging the cameras, lighting and athletes in proper position to secure the shot, and you have yourself a serious photographic mission.
Some of the most inspired by the project were the athletes themselves. “It really is my movements painting this picture and helping this photo come to life!” says Errington, the 24-year-old wakeboarder at the top of his game.
For Rochon, the set-up and planning were extensive, but the motivation while shooting was simple: “Focus on the art, the creativity, and the beauty,” said Rochon, mid-shoot. Fortunately for him, he knew he could rely on the riders to offer performances worthy of the occasion. “I’m really impressed by the athletes,” he added. “They are so fluid in the water, and they understand naturally what we are trying to do here.”
Will the effort pay off? The best images have been held back to enter into Red Bull Illume. It will now be up to the judges to decide...
How hard would you work to get a shot into Red Bull Illume Image Quest? Don’t delay – show us your stuff. The submission period ends at the end of April! Enter here.
Snap! is a 4-day photography celebration showcasing the work of renowned photographers from May 2nd-5th. snaporlando.com
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Tell us about the shoot.
“For night sky photography, it’s very important to select the right place and time. We selected a place close to the small village of Stedra in Czech Republic. It’s a dark sky area with special streetlights that don’t corrupt the dark night sky. You can see more than 2000 stars – normally in the city, it’s 10 times less."
So the setting was the perfect huh?
"Yes. There are also several ponds, so it was perfect. When you want to shoot stars, you have to select a date when there is no moon so you can see more stars."
Who’s on the canoe?
"It’s one of the best world canoe athletes Martin Fuksa, who is the new U23 1000m canoe world champion."
How’d you go to work?
"I had a new Nikon D810A camera, which is designed for night sky photography. We also had several flashes. Some of them were in waterproof cases so we could use them on or under water. It wasn’t easy to shoot, because we had to capture Martin from the water and could only use the lights during action.
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Hit up Dan’s website & Facebook page for more of his inspiring work.
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Tell us about it…
“13 Faces of Valais” is all about outdoor sports in the Swiss region of Valais. As I was directing the movie, I also took still photos on every set. In this case, the hang glider is well-known skier Jeremie Heitz who finished 2nd in the last Freeride World Tour. The images were shot at sunset above Lake Geneva.
How did you manage to get the shots?
We filmed the action from a helicopter using a Cineflex. I shot from up-close, while sitting next to the Cineflex operator with the doors open.
How did you prepare?
I’m a keen paraglider and know the area very well. So I proposed the location to Jeremie and his friend Pierre – and off we went. We travelled there twice to prepare for the flight and to find the perfect shooting angles.
What challenges did you face?
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What gear did you use?
The Leica S system with a 35mm and a 120mm. It’s the only camera capable of catching that amount of light while still getting the low light information. The dynamic range of this camera is huge!
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He was for real.
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Check out Tim McKenna's and Ben Thouard's unique shots in the gallery below.