Flat light is usually the photographer’s worst enemy and photographers spend hours looking at weather forecasts to find those moments when the light is at its best to bring color and contrast to a shot. But when you’re shooting mountain bikers in a forest, the opposite is true.
“For shooting in the woods it’s usually better when it’s cloudy,” says Moritz Ablinger, whose aerial shot of freeskier Tao Kreibich was one of the top 256 images of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2021. For that reason, he cancelled the shoot on a day when nine hours of sunshine was forecast, instead, opting for a day when it would be overcast. The reason? Flat light ensures your athlete is evenly lit, making sure they stand out more, without the need for artificial filler lighting. To compensate for the low light, he explains that he uses a wide 2.8 aperture lens to get the sharpness.
This is one of the advice Moritz gives as he takes us behind the scenes on a mountain bike shoot with pro athletes Vali Höll and Peter Kaiser in two locations in the Austrian mountains – Nature Trail Rossbrand and Bikepark Schladming.
“One of the reasons I enjoy shooting with Peter so much is he’s a videographer and photographer himself so he knows what it’s about,” adds Moritz.
As an athlete and Downhill World Champion, Vali also appreciates good photography. “It’s super important because it captures the most amazing moments of my career,” she says. “I’ve known Moritz for quite a few years – he saw me growing up, which is cool.”