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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.

© Rutger Pauw // Athlete: Viki Gomez // Location: Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

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Making of series: Using a sun bouncer

For the third video in our throwback series, Red Bull Illume revisits photographer Leo Rosas' shoot with skateboarder Philipp Josephu. Leo demonstrates using a sun bouncer and its uses in a variety of settings, showing how it can be used as an effective way to fill-in shadows on an action shoot.

Catch Leo on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.

© Leo Rosas Morin
© Leo Rosas Morin
© Leo Rosas Morin
© Leo Rosas Morin
© Leo Rosas Morin

Making of series: Multiple exposures

The second video we revisit in our Throwback Thursday series is our video with photographer Marcelo Maragni, who demonstrates how to create multiple exposures at the Red Bull BC One Rio de Janeiro with b-boys Ronnie and Taisuke. Enjoy!

Equipment and settings:
Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: Nikkor 24-70mm
Shutter-speed: 1/250
ISO: 200
F-Stop: f/2.8

Athletes: Ronnie Abaldonado and Taisuke Nonaka
Credits: Photographer: Marcelo Maragni / Red Bull Content Pool

© Marcelo Maragni / Red Bull Content Pool
© Marcelo Maragni / Red Bull Content Pool
© Marcelo Maragni / Red Bull Content Pool

Making of: Morphing Sequence

In a Throwback Thursday style series, we’ll be revisiting some old Red Bull Illume videos. The first video we’ll be showcasing is this fantastic shoot on a Frankfurt rooftop with photographer Max Riché and trial-biker Petr Kraus. The pair took the idea of movement deconstruction and sequence shooting to a whole new level as Petr Kraus ‘morphs’ from amateur to professional in one sequence.

Equipment and settings:
Camera: Nikon D800 shooting tethered into Capture One
Lens: 14-24mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, and 50mm f/1.8
Lights: 3 broncolor Scoro 3200 S set on optimal flash speed, softboxes (for ambient and fill-in), a beauty dish for the key light and a pair of magnum reflectors, 1 kobold 800W HMI (creating the trail)

Athletes: Petr Kraus
Credits: Photographer: Maxime Riché / Red Bull Content Pool


© Maxime Riché / Red Bull Content Pool
© David Carlier

Matterhorn madness: A cool freeskiing gallery

Red Bull Illume photographer David Carlier recently attended the fifth edition of the Skiers Cup which took place on February 21-27 in Zermatt, Switzerland. In this unique freeskiing event, a team captain selects eight of the best riders from each region. In a face-off format during two days of competition, the teams compete in both Big Mountain (freeride) and Backcountry Slopestyle (freestyle) events. 

The conditions for the event were really good: “This year for the first time, the competition could literally happen on the Matterhorn, just below the gigantic North face, with huge glaciers in the background,” says David.

The result? Spectacular images – enjoy a gallery of David’s shots below!

Visit David’s website here and check out a video of the freeskiing action here!

© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© David Carlier
© Dale Tidy / Red Bull Content Pool

How to survive a freezing snowkiting shoot

Photographer Dale Tidy recently shot Red Bull Kite Farm, a ski and snowboard kiting endurance race, and the first of it's kind to be held in North America. We caught up with Dale to find out how it was to shoot the event in super harsh conditions…

How was it?

On the first day we had 70km/h winds and minus 39 degree temperatures including the wind-chill. Great conditions for the riders but not so joyful for the photographers! At those temps your camera starts to do funny things, auto-focus motors freeze in your lens, the mirror can seize up, my ISO was randomly switching from 200 to 1600 and back again without any notification, and accidentally breathing on the LCD screen would ice it over.

Having a second body stuffed down your jacket allows you to alternate between a frozen camera and slightly less frozen camera.Batteries at those temperatures drain rapidly too, I would keep one battery in my camera body and two in my pants pockets that had hand warmers stuffed in them. Once the body battery cooled down and died I would switch it out with a warm one that would be back up at full power.

A blizzard came through and started dumping snow creating “white-out” conditions that forced the event to be postponed until the next day. This made my frozen fingertips very happy! The second day was a relatively balmy minus 6 degrees and the winds had dropped significantly, making it an absolute pleasure to work in. 

How did you shoot your aerial shots?

When I decided that my key shots would need the advantage of height I looked around at various options. Helicopters, cranes, boom lifts, planes and of course, drones. I didn’t go with a drone for 3 reasons. 1) Drones, much like cameras, don’t like extremely cold conditions and they can freeze up. 2) There would be a good chance that it would be impossible to fly a drone in the high speed wind conditions required for the sport of Snowkiting. And 3) I am not a drone expert and the last thing you want to be doing when working in extreme conditions is using gear that you are not completely 100% comfortable with!

The two options I chose instead was one safe option, and one riskier option. The risky option was to rent a 4 seater Cessna airplane typically used for aerial photography, this would allow me to get the exact images I had conceptualized and proposed to the client. The rental price was reasonable but once again the cost of this option was putting yourself at the mercy of the weather. If the clouds were too low there would be no possibility of the plane being allowed to leave the tarmac let alone capture any usable photos, but the chance of this was smaller than that of relying on a drone. The safe option incase that failed was to get creative and strap a GoPro to one of the competitors kites, I used a specific mount which I had purchased online before the event. No matter what the conditions were this option would not fail. 

What's the hardest part about shooting an event like this?

Basically being prepared for anything. When you are out in the field you cannot ask for help, because there is no help available. You are the expert, it’s what you have been paid to do. Like our green friend Yoda says "Do... or do not. There is no try”. Pressing the shutter and “nailing the shot” is the easy part. The hard part is everything before and after that, all the planning that goes into it, and all the work you have to do after to make sure the image makes it out on time for the press release later that day. 

Check out Dale’s site and be sure to follow him on Facebook


© Dale Tidy / Red Bull Content Pool
© Dale Tidy / Red Bull Content Pool
© Dale Tidy / Red Bull Content Pool
© Dale Tidy / Red Bull Content Pool
© Dale Tidy / Red Bull Content Pool
© Dale Tidy / Red Bull Content Pool
© Dale Tidy / Red Bull Content Pool
© Dale Tidy / Red Bull Content Pool

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