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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Black and white photography in skateboarding
In the next video in our Throwback series, Red Bull Illume photographer Fred Mortagne talks us through his passion for shooting black and white film and why he prefers to capture images that are not perfect replicas of reality. Despite his passion for analog, the Leica M Monochrom has tempted him to convert to shooting black and white digital as well.
A B&W Surf Photography Odyssey
Red Bull Illume photographer Jair Bortoleto began his journey becoming one of the most prolific Brazilian surf photographers by shooting exclusively in B&W. Our team caught up with Jair to discuss his style & his journey…
“B&W is my color. It's where I identify my style and aesthetics. I think you actually can see color in a black and white photograph!” says Jair. “I don't believe in a perfect shot. A lot of photographers look for the perfect shot, and I think it's impossible. We are imperfect human beings and it's impossible to create something perfect. What I believe it's in the pureness in the imperfection. We can be pure, at least a bit, and find this gap on the imperfection to create something unique, imperfect, but unique.”
It all started at a young age…
“I started taking photos when I was 9 years-old. My mom gave me a broken Yashica camera. Yes, broken... I used to run around the neighbor faking news photos!” laughs Jair.
“After living in the metropolis of São Paulo, my family moved to the coast, where I fell deeply into surfing and surfed my brains out for years. When I was 18, I went to Peru and Hawaii to surf, and took a point-and-shoot camera with me. After coming back some friends told me that I had a good eye for it!”
The age of B&W…
“I lived for a few months in Boston and fell in love with black and white photography. I soon started to shoot B&W exclusively. In 2005, after getting married in my local town of Santos, I started a photo project about the surf lifestyle in the city and shot the most iconic surfers from Santos, where the surf born in Brasil in the 30's. I published a book a year later and then kept shooting, contributing for various magazines and some group shows around the world in the following years.”
“In 2010 I was invited to become the editor of The Surfer's Journal Brasil, which would be released in 2011. I learned how to edit a magazine from the beginning. My teacher was the legendary editor Adrian Kojin. I scored the first cover shoot with a photo of João Mauricio Jabour, father of North Shore local hero Kiron Jabour."
"Right now I am working for Romeu Andreatta, editing and curating the Almasurf platform. I also just had my first real solo exhibition in NYC at the Picture Farm Gallery in Brooklyn, curated by legendary editor Toddy Stewart…
Be sure to follow Jair’s journey via his website.
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