What if your eye sees what the camera can’t? What if you look up into the skies and your imagination sees incredible lines and endless possibilities if only the rules of gravity (and trespassing) could be ignored? That’s where the Creative category comes in. It’s for images that have been digitally enhanced. It’s an open category, so anything goes. If you enter the creative category, you are free to create an image that matches what you want to see. And that is what finalist Luis Arriaga did when he wandered past Mexico City’s iconic Museo Soumaya. He explains more below.
Getting creative with Luis Arriaga
The Red Bull Illume finalist gives us the lowdown on his mind-bending shot.
Tell us how your winning image came about?
A skater always looks for where they can skate – a flight of stairs or a rail go from being a tool, to a perfect place to challenge yourself. The image was born while I was walking around in Mexico City. The building in the image is a museum but its shape is quite peculiar, which made me imagine what it would be like to experience skating on a structure with those characteristics. All you have to do is turn your head to give it a new dimension. It immediately became a colossal bowl with the architecture in-between. It's the dream of any skater, in my mind I visualized it immediately and decided to turn it into an image.
How did you do that?
I remembered that some time ago I had photographed Diego skating some quarterpipes and had the perfect image to achieve my idea. After achieving the ideal composition and applying some adjustments to integrate the athlete in the original image, this was the final result.
Was it part of the plan to submit the image into Red Bull Illume from the beginning?
I had planned to submit it to Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2021 since the idea of the photograph was born. When I started my career as a photographer, Red Bull Illume became one of my biggest inspirations and being part of the 56 finalists is a dream come true.
What was the biggest challenge of the shot?
One of the most complicated things was getting the images that would make up the final one and to have the light in the same direction so that the post-production process was as simple as possible, trying to respect the essence of the idea. I was very careful with the shooting angle of the athlete's photograph and when working with natural light the conditions change quite quickly.
How long did it take you to get the final image?
Considering the time it took to do both shots, it was about a week of the whole process.Having a clear idea in my mind and taking care of details such as the direction of the light, as well as the proportions from the shot helped a lot in the post-production process, which took approximately two days, being very careful with every detail.
Would you do anything differently if you were to take the image again?
Not really, the colors of the sky, the athlete's trick, each of the conditions created a synergy that made it a unique image.
Do you have any tips on adventure and action sports photography in general?
It is very important to know the lines of movement of each of the action sports to capture the exact moment of the action. Having a technical knowledge of how light behaves helps to have better control of the situation and to be able to create new atmospheres. Try different angles, perspectives, lose the fear of getting dirty, and lastly, bring enough batteries and memory cards for the session.
Follow Luis on Instagram to see more of his stunning work!