Viki Gomez in Flight
One of the images in the 2013 Red Bull Illume Top 250 was taken by Dutch photographer Rutger Pauw. The shot of BMX rider Viki Gomez has already received plenty of attention so Red Bull Illume caught up with Pauw to discuss exactly what it’s all about…
Can you give us some background to the project?
Last year I was in Japan on a job, and I noticed how graceful people looked moving around in their kimonos, which gave me the idea for the photo. Nicola Jane Gulliver then hand-made the suit out of 20 meters of parachute silk.
Was it spontaneous or did you have a shot in mind?
I knew exactly what I wanted to capture, Viki helped out a lot by suggesting different tricks. The challenging bit was finding a trick that fit in well with the shape of the suit. Viki's body position needed to complement that, so the choice of trick was a bit different than usual. It was funny walking out of a full day’s shoot with just one image.
It must have been tough…
I'm happy Matty Lambert did such a good job on the video (see above), because it shows people Viki actually pulled that trick! The shot means a lot to me, as it was made with people I care about a lot, and the fact that I had no clue if it would even work at all. Shoots like this are most exciting to me.
What gear did you use?
Leica approached me about trying out their new S system, it has central shutter lenses, which sounded very interesting because it allows for flash sync speeds up to 1/1000th of a second. No tricks with hypersync or special transmitters that fail with the slightest bit of interference, it just works. I used my 8-year-old Pocketwizard Plus2's that have never let me down. Nice peace of mind when someone wants to do a trick just once.
It's safe to say I've never taken a picture with so much detail and sharpness but it's pretty exciting when you see it on your screen!
I used flashlights with big reflectors to light the whole scene, I also wanted to freeze the flour that was being thrown in the background so it was definitely the way to go.
You must’ve needed plenty of windpower…
I rented the biggest industrial office fan I could find. 10.000 cubic meters of air per hour amazingly only made just enough wind to make the sleeves of the suit fly. Vik had to carve in sharply to give them extra lift, making it all more difficult for him to ride.
Congrats on your images in the 2013 Red Bull Illume Top 250…
To me the most important part of the competition is to get photos in the book. It'll be around forever, and in my opinion features some of the best sports images I've ever seen, so it's a huge honour!
Be sure to check out the project on Rutger’s new website and Leica’s Facebook page.
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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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.