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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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Shooting the Seven Seas Expedition

Last year photographer Kelvin Trautman joined swimmer and ocean advocate Lewis Pugh as he undertook to be the first person to undertake long distance swims in each of the Seven Seas: the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean, Black, Red, Arabian and North Sea. This aim of the Seven Seas Expedition was to highlight the need for and importance of Marine Protected Areas. We caught up with Kelvin to discuss how the shoots went…

How did you prepare?
For this expedition, I spent a couple months doing long ocean swims to build up endurance and breath hold exercises so as to improve the time I could spend shooting underwater - in terms of the latter I had decided going into the expedition that, when shooting underwater I wanted to free dive rather than use any scuba equipment because of the flexibility it would give me.

What are some of the challenges you faced on this project?
As with most expeditions, a lack of time was our biggest challenge. Our travel schedule was really tight, leaving only two or three days in each location. This meant our shoot days were jam-packed but which also meant we had no contingency weather or logistic days to play with - we all needed a holiday after three weeks of this back-to-back schedule!

Any close shaves?
Capturing Lewis swimming between big oil tankers in the Bosphorus - the narrow stretch of water that runs through Istanbul and which joins the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara -  was a little hair-raising. On this particular shoot day we had gale force winds, cold water temps, strong currents and irate shipping owners to deal with!

How important was your participatory approach to telling the story?
Very important. I looked to swim with Lewis, my underwater housing in tow, for as long as possible during each of the 7 swims for two reasons. One, if any of you have swum before you'll know how lonely and detached this form of exercise is and so I wanted to try get the layman at home to relate to this swimmer perspective. And two, coupled with the obvious fact that the world beneath the surface looks and feels vastly different to that above, the purpose of the expedition was to raise awareness to as much beauty as well as destruction in each of the 7 Seas marine environs.   

What gear did you use?
In the water I mostly shot with Nikon D800 and a 16mm fisheye in an SPL housing.

Any tips on how to shoot with a waterproof housing?
Two things. One, remember saliva and saltwater are your two best ingredients in making a solution that prevents water droplets from sticking to your lens port. And two, remember your underwater housing is very buoyant and so if you plan on shooting below the surface then you likely to need a weight belt to keep you down.

What’s next?
Let's just say I have started to do some cold swim water training!

Check out Kelvin Trautman's Website and Instagram account!

Shooting sports events with Jesper Grønnemark

Thinking of becoming an event photographer? Join 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.

Black and white photography in skateboarding

In this video, 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. 

Making of: Infrared photography

Watch Danish photographer Esben Zøllner Olesen discuss 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

© Esben Zøllner OlesenRed Bull
© Esben Zøllner OlesenRed Bull
© Esben Zøllner OlesenRed Bull
© Esben Zøllner OlesenRed Bull
© Esben Zøllner OlesenRed Bull
© Esben Zøllner OlesenRed Bull

The Dark Night: a 3D-printed sequence

Red Bull Illume photographer Dan Vojtěch has spent the last 4-5 months working on a 3D-printed miniature model of a wakeboarder sequence shot. The project has finally been released – and Dan explains how it all went down: 

“I was doing a personal project for 3DGang print company and I saw a creative opportunity with this technology!

First, I had the idea to have shoot with a small 3D-printed figure – but soon the idea developed into a sequence shot. I phoned wakeboarder Zuzana Vrablova, who loved the idea and came to Prague.

We planned the concept together and decided to shoot 8 or 9 different poses for different moments of the sequence. As each ‘frame’ of the sequence had to be shot individually, Suzanna had to imagine what the correct position was – we had a big screen so she could check her body position was correct after each shot!

Afterwards, we printed the models – I was surprised at how much handiwork was required – the figures were fragile and also needed a kind of glue to make them harden. We also added colours, of course. 
The finishing touches came in building a cityscape at night and we also threw in the dry ice to create the moody smoky effect!”

Check out the BTS images below on how it all went down!

© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch
© Dan Vojtěch

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