Putting a shot together with Vitek Ludvik
Vitek Ludvik is always looking for innovative new ways to find a new angle. The 2007 Red Bull Illume photographer recently got busy with some DIY tripod construction to capture an image that had been growing in his mind for a year.
It was a plan to capture some breathtaking white water images with Honza Lasko, the extreme kayak champion, kayak designer and manufacturer.
“I only knew him from the pages of white water magazines," says Vitek.
"But when we finally met, we made a plan to work together as soon as possible.The pair agreed that conditions were best in Norway and began planning a trip.
“I did not want to destroy my camera because of a poor mount and Honza refused to have an Eiffel Tower on his kayak,” says Vitek. “We tried with an old tripod, but it buckled after a few minutes of testing. We knew we needed a more solid camera mount and drew up a new layout. My neighbour, a craftsman hobbyist, helped construct the mount just two days before the trip began. It was light, solid and reliable.”
Vitek also tried to find the right camera with the size and weight of a compact but with DSLR performance. “Olympus had just released a model called the OM-D. When I pulled the camera out of the box, I was rather skeptical as it was like a toy. However after a successful test shoot with the Flying Bulls in Jaroměř, Czech Republic, where I hung the OM-D with a Pocketwizard under my paraglider, I knew it could do the job.”
Overall, the photoshoot was a success. “The project was exciting," he says. "Best off all was meeting the crew and making new friends, Honza Lasko, Honza Muska Musil, Honza Kolar and Eva Filova!”
And the final image itself?
“The photoshoot went fine and the image looks great. My idea was slightly different as I was looking for a higher waterfall with a sharper edge, but the rest of the image looks the way I wanted. I’m happy!”
Vitek is no stranger to kayak photography, watch his shoot with London 2012 silver medallist Vavra Hradilek on a Prague slalom course. www.sharp-pictures.net.
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Freezing the 400m Hurdle Champion Kariem Hussein
Red Bull Illume photographer Gian Paul Lozza recently completed a cool shoot with Kariem Hussein, the European Champion of 400m hurdles, using the broncolor Scoros.
“For some time now I was preparing this shoot with Kariem. He is an amazing guy and really cool to work with. It is obvious that we tried to capture his speed and especially his jumping over hurdles. But as always, I tried to do it differently,” says Gian Paul Lozza.
“Under the Ahtletic stadion in Zurich we found a perfect location for this shoot. There is a concrete tunnel with an indoor running track. We had different ideas of what we wanted to try out. One was to work with reflecting tape and reflective clothing. Another idea was to do something with mirrors and to finish, a classic, the all-in-one sequence.”
“As always when I want to capture something fast, I use the broncolor Scoros. This power packs together with Pulso Twin heads works perfectly if you need a lot of power and you want to freeze motion. And because I shoot everything with my Hasselblad with their bigger chip, I need even faster flash duration. The only way to control this, is bron’s cut off technichnology which is unbeatable.”
“For the sequential goal I needed power packs, which can recharge super-fast but also a lot of power, because I wanted to close aperture as much as possible to freeze the motion. For these kind of ideas, the Scoros with Twin heads are the perfect solution. Superfast recharging time with a lot of power. I’m used to capture these all-in-one sequences from my time as a snowboard photographer with natural light, but now it is cool to do the same with flashes. It opens a lot of new possibilities and I can develop new ideas to create images.”
This article originally appeared on the broncolor blog.
The Return Of The Ring of Fire
After recently showcasing an epic shoot by Claudio Casanova, the Red Bull Illume photographer has shared two more interesting shots with us and explained how he pulled them off with the help of his crew.
Steel wool shot:
“Roger nailed it in this session on what was arguably the smallest jump we've ever shot with this air method. This photo was taken just outside my hometown of Einsiedeln. I had the idea long before I scouted the spot and was lucky to find this tunnel just a short drive away from my house. Thanks to a very long exposure time it seems as if Roger was jumping through a ring of fire, but in reality the circle you see was drawn by myself before I snapped the picture as Roger hit the jump.
The effect of fire was simply made by a piece of burning steel wool attached to a wire whip which was tied to a rope. I triggered the camera via Pocket Wizard, fireman Deniz lit it up and I started swinging. After a couple of seconds of swinging I ran off and cleared the jump for the riders. Luck was also on our side due to the fact that we had a full moon that night, so no extra lights for the riders were needed.
Almost everything was perfect, which is rarely the case when shooting snowboarding!”
“For this project the timing was really crucial as we only had 30 seconds for the whole procedure. We built a perfectly symmetrical jump and started sessioning it as I positioned the camera. After we knew the approximate height of the jump, we set up a little scaffolding on a table I could perform my display of firework magic.
For this photo of Deniz, Mike was standing by the camera to check if the flashes and camera were working and gave a 30 second countdown for me to light the flare and start the exposure. Everything from removing the scaffolding to the rider dropping in was set to happen at a certain time during this countdown. If there were any delay it would not have worked.
The only source of light for the rider in the run in was a small headlamp, which also worked as an indicator in the shot if the action was captured at the right moment. As we were clearing the jump for the rider, Deniz was already getting closer. I rushed over to my flash setup and got ready to shoot. As soon as Deniz busted out his method, I fired the flash thus freezing a single shot into the long exposure photo.
We had a good feeling about this one so we rushed down to check the photo. All we heard was, “BOOM! That's the one!”… The position of the rider inside the ring was perfect and not something to take for granted. Most likely it would’ve taken another 50 tries to get it right like that!”
Be sure to check out Claudio’s website.
Making of: Infrared photography
Our next throwback video features Danish photographer Esben Zøllner Olesen discussing his basic workflow when shooting infrared images with an IR-converted DSLR camera. Infrared photography may seem quite daunting, but Esben Zøllner Olesen delivers insight and tips for every stage of the process, right from gear setup to post-processing to create a nice overview of the technique which can capture some stunning results.
Photo credits: Esben Zøllner Olesen
Developing a Unique Surf Photography Style
As a photographer, one of the hardest things to do is to develop your own distinct style. Photographer Toby Harriman’s goal was to do just this and in order to separate himself a little from other surf photographers he focused on creating fine art rather than journalism-style photos. The Red Bull Illume team caught up with Toby to discuss his ongoing Modern Surf collection…
“One day after finishing up some of my black and white architecture shots, I decided to try a similar technique on my surf photos and experiment with long exposure surf shots. I have seen it done before, so I knew it was do-able. Just needed to find my style for it. That blurred look you see is mostly created in camera, by doing a shutter drag, leaving the shutter open and basically tracking the surfer trying to keep him in focus and everything else blurred,” says Harriman.
"The surf photographer explains how he further developed his technique with post-production: “I then use software like Photoshop or Lightroom to give it that dark mono look which I like to call 'Modern.' I am always trying to perfect and adapt this style, which gets me excited to keep it going. When I look at this series, it really allows me to focus in and to see the connection between the surfer and the power of the ocean, which is what I am trying to create for the viewer. Something with deeper meaning and something that makes people look at a subject in a whole different perspective!”
Visit Toby Harriman’s website here and catch up with him on Facebook.
Making of: Shooting news pictures
The latest in our Throwback Videos series, sees us rejoining Romina Amato, a freelance photographer from Switzerland who specializes in news. In this vid, Romina offers her advice on launching a successful career in news photography and explains the many skills an aspiring news photographer must demonstrate. She also offers her insight on different camera lenses, image format, delivery, and most importantly, creativity.
z.B. Canon 1D Mark 4, Canon 7D
z.B. Canon Fisheye 15mm f2.8 , Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, Canon 16-35mm f2.8, Canon 50mm f1.2, Canon 100mm f2, Canon 24-105mm f4, Canon 70-200 mm f2.8, Sigma f120-300mm 2.8, Canon 400mm f2.8
Memory card: SanDisk Extreme
Tools: z.B. Photoshop CS4 & CS5 , Photo Mechanic, Adobe Bridge
Photographer: © Romina Amato