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© Philip Platzer /Red Bull Content Pool

Philip Platzer’s Rowing Shoot

Austrian photographer Philip Platzer recently tackled a tough assignment, shooting a relatively un-photographed sport: rowing. Platzer was tasked with shooting the Lightweight Double team of brothers Paul and Bernhard Sieber as they trained for their next big goal – the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Due to his experience in shooting motorsports, Platzer decided to take a different approach by using a rig-shot and triggering the camera remotely even though the conditions were not ideal: “Through the longer exposure time one can get great movement photos with the subject crystal clear in the centre of pure movement. Sounds great, only here, there was no car, and the oars would add to the rocking of the boat creating a parallel movement which makes the photos unfocused,” says Platzer.

After discussing this problem with the Sieber brothers, they agreed to try a movement shot with the oars still: “I secured the camera with suction cups and a tripod to the boat, secured the whole thing with leashes, with the hope that should it fall into the water, it wouldn’t detach itself from its moorings and sink. I employed an ND-Filter to enable me to use daylight to achieve an exposure time of 1/10 to work with. I took the shots with a Pocket Wizard from a secondary boat, travelling slightly behind the main boat.”

However things were a bit rocky: “As we began, it became apparent that we had a problem – in order to capture both athletes, the camera had to be positioned at least 50cm from the middle of the boat to one side. This, however, along with a tripod, camera and rig. This created a balance problem for the boat, which had become side heavy, making it extremely strenuous for the brothers to travel at full speed, whilst shifting their balance to compensate for the weight – however, the brothers maintained this long enough for me to get some shots.”

Platzer was happy with the final results: “As I was unsure of the results of the shots, we then did a second take with the camera in a more central position, to ensure we got our action shot. As it turned out, all of the shots came out perfectly, achieving exactly what we had been hoping for, a credit to the brothers and their balance!”

© Alex Steinbauer
© Alex Steinbauer
© Alex Steinbauer
© Alex Steinbauer
© Philip Platzer /Red Bull Content Pool
© Philip Platzer /Red Bull Content Pool

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Jimmy Chin on capturing moments no one else can

“I had this sense that life is really short… even when I was young, it just seemed like I didn’t have that much time. And there was this urgency to live in a meaningful way – in a way that made sense to you.”

What made ‘sense’ to Jimmy Chin, was to become a world-class climber, adventure junky and extreme photographer. Check out this behind the scenes video of Jimmy as he talks about what drives him to tackle the world's most difficult expeditions with his camera in hand.

You can also visit Jimmy’s website here, or follow him on Facebook here.

© Jimmy Chin / Red Bull IllumeVICE Sports

Making of series: Shooting sports events

In our very latest throwback videos series, Red Bull Illume revisits event photographer Jesper Grønnemark as he heads off to shoot a sports event. From location-scouting to gear, to positioning and final selection, find out what it takes to shoot an event and get a good idea of what you can expect!

Visit Jesper's website or find him on Facebook.

© Dan Vojtěch

Dan Vojtech sheds some light on night sky photography

Red Bull Illume photographer Dan Vojtech recently captured a series of awe-inspiring shots of canoe athlete, Martin Fuksa in his native Czech Republic. The Red Bull Illume team caught up with Dan to discuss how he went to work...

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. 

But we had a great team and it was really fun! After the shoot we made a fire, cooked some meat and enjoyed this great place."

Hit up Dan’s website & Facebook page for more of his inspiring work.

© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© David Carlier

Letting it all hang out above Lake Geneva

As part of his adventure film and photography project “13 Faces of Valais”, Red Bull Illume photographer David Carlier recently found himself sitting in a helicopter, shooting two hang gliders high above Lake Geneva, Switzerland. We caught up with David after his latest excursion:

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?
Trying to understand the flow of the action and large amplitude maneuvers. Jeremie flies at over 100km/h, so it doesn’t last very long and there’s little chance to repeat the flight. We also wanted to catch that amazing orange golden light just before sunset, so timing was essential. Then you have to factor in the wind, the challenges associated with two hang gliders taking off simultaneously and shooting from a helicopter.

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!

What’s next? 
Lots! A downhill MTB shoot, a portrait series for US Powder Magazine, some sailing shoots in the Mediterranean… and probably some time off! I also have the “13 Faces of Valais” premiere coming up, which includes the hang gliding footage.

Check out the “13 Faces of Valais” trailer or visit David’s site for more of his work.

© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© Ben Thouard / Red Bull Content Pool

Barrel of Fire: A Human Torch Goes Big-wave Surfing

Two action sports photographers, Tim McKenna and Ben Thouard recently captured some unique shots – of a surfer on fire. The surfer, Jamie O'Brien, is known as a barrel-riding master, movie producer, web series guru and all-round game changer. What people might not know is that Jamie O’Brien is also a complete madman.

After asking fans for stunt ideas for his original web series, he received a direct message on Instagram: “They said ‘it would be cool if you lit yourself on fire’ and I thought, might as well. So I went into Red Bull and I said ‘hey, I want to light myself on fire and go into a barrel at Teahupo’o,’ and they looked at me like are you for real?” Jamie recalls.

He was for real.

Over the course of the next 12 months, Jamie prepared for the challenge of his life – to ride a notoriously ferocious wave that happens to break over an extremely shallow, sharp coral reef off the coast of Tahiti – while on fire.

A year of preparation and numerous safety tests later, Jamie and his nearly 25-strong team were ready to make his fiery surfing dream a reality. “They were telling me how some people panic and react differently around the fire. So I was like god I hope I don’t panic,” says O’Brien. He didn’t, and the result was indescribable. “When you’re on fire in the barrel, the whole wave lights up fluorescent orange. It’s a really crazy feeling that you can’t even explain.”

It’s not an easy (or safe) process, but the result is a brilliantly illuminated surfer in the middle of the dark ocean. “It was pretty insane,” he says.

Check out Tim McKenna's and Ben Thouard's unique shots in the gallery below.

© Tim McKenna / Red Bull Content Pool
© Tim McKenna / Red Bull Content Pool
© Ben Thouard / Red Bull Content Pool
© Tim McKenna / Red Bull Content Pool

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