Appreciate All the Thrills With None of the Fractures

Inspiration
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We recently featured the winners of this year’s Red Bull Illume competition, “the world’s greatest international photography contest dedicated to action and adventure sports,” and what can anyone say about the images produced but… dang.

Still, we kept going back to one category in particular: Sequence. The effect these images have are different than the rest, and it got us thinking that effect must be quantifiable. Probably something like this:

Dang + Time = nfw

Check the math, see if we got that right.

2016 Category Finalist: Athlete Sebastian Alvarez shot by Jean Louis de Heeckeren in Santiago, Chile
2016 Category Finalist: Athlete Sebastian Alvarez shot by Jean Louis de Heeckeren in Santiago, Chile

The Story:

Sebastian Alvares, one of the few wingsuit flyers of Chile, wanted to fly through some iconic places of Santiago, Chile and make some noise about extreme sports in our country. That’s when we thought the Costanera Center building would be the perfect place for it. This building, which is pretty new and only finished in 2012, is the tallest skyscraper in Latin America, so it’s one of the main attractions of Santiago.

We did a lot of planning to get the shot, there were a lot of difficulties to get a good shot and we had only one chance. We managed to get a nice view from another building, and had a good rescue plan for the landing.

Sebastian jumped from a helicopter so high that you couldn’t even see the helicopter, so he used some color smoke to find him in the sky. After some seconds of falling the smoke was gone and he passed the building and landed in a park near the river. We had a friend on a bike in the park that took him away instantly.

I used a Nikon d4 with a 50 mm lens to get a wide shot remote triggered for the sequence and a Nikon d750 to get some tight shots as well. The camera settings I used were 1/1000, f9 and an ISO of 250.


2016 Category Finalist: Zack Mutton photographed by Graeme Murray at Tree Trunk Gorge, New Zealand
2016 Category Finalist: Zack Mutton photographed by Graeme Murray at Tree Trunk Gorge, New Zealand

The Story:

Elite kayaker Mike Dawson and I had talked about shooting down at Tree Trunk Gorge, a gnarly kayaking spot in the central north island of New Zealand. There are two big waterfalls, but the thing is that once you start the sections there is no turning back and having any form of safety is pretty much not going to happen.

The gorge walls are high so you can’t climb out if something goes wrong. Well, Mike decided to bring along 14-year-old Zack Mutton along the trip. Zack has a lot of talent and was super keen to become the youngest person to run Tree Trunk Gorge. In this picture he drops the first falls. Super impressive. You get one chance to shoot the drop; Zack made it look easy.

The camera I used for this shot was a Canon EOS 7D Mark II with a Canon EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM. The focal length was 41mm.


2013 Category Finalist: Brandon Semenuk photographed by Christian Pondella in Virgin, Utah.
2013 Category Finalist: Brandon Semenuk photographed by Christian Pondella in Virgin, Utah.

2013 Category Finalist: Gabriel Medina photographed by Zakary Medina, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii.
2013 Category Finalist: Gabriel Medina photographed by Zakary Medina, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii.

The Story:

This was not a large day by North Shore standards but sort of a lay day. When the waves are smaller, the surfers usually go out for a surf right before the sun sets.

I walked down the beach with my camera and a 70-200mm lens – I did not take a tripod, as it is easier to hand hold. I really love capturing the different elements of my surroundings, to be able to put the viewer of the image into the exact location of where I was and what I saw.

By pulling the lens back, I was able to get the sand and sky, so it is almost as if someone were walking down the beach and looking over to see Gabriel doing this massive backflip.


2016 Category Finalist: Sven Lämmler photographed by Ciarán Heurteau in Rauma, Norway
2016 Category Finalist: Sven Lämmler photographed by Ciarán Heurteau in Rauma, Norway

2013 Category Finalist: John Jackson photographed by Scott Serfas in Aniak, Alaska
2013 Category Finalist: John Jackson photographed by Scott Serfas in Aniak, Alaska

The Story:

I was in the middle seat of a helicopter with Travis Rice, Mark Landvik and John Jackson, circling around in the Tordrillo Mountains in Alaska when the three of them started talking about a jump they wanted to build below us. I had no idea what they were looking at, but after about 10 minutes of discussing it in the air we landed and got the shovels out.

I was in charge of shaping the in-run along with the other media team members on this particular “The Art of FLIGHT” trip. We shoveled for hours without even knowing what this feature looked like. From where we were working, all we could see was where the riders were shaping the take-off and the Alaskan valley in the background.

When it was time to shoot, I hiked up a few hundred meters and then traversed over to the side, trying not to disturb the snow in the foreground. When I got to the side, I was able to see what it was these guys planned to jump over and how big it really was!

I hiked up and down the slope I was on until I found the perfect angle. I held my breath and the boys dropped in. John Jackson made history that day by landing the largest backside double cork ever!


2013 Category Finalist: Ross Abblitt photographed by Stuart Gibson in Tasmania, Australia
2013 Category Finalist: Ross Abblitt photographed by Stuart Gibson in Tasmania, Australia

2013 Category Finalist: Brett Rheeder photographed by Sterling Lorence in Winton, New Zealand
2013 Category Finalist: Brett Rheeder photographed by Sterling Lorence in Winton, New Zealand

2010 Category Finalist: Orlando Duque photographed by Agustin Munoz in Negril, Jamaica
2010 Category Finalist: Orlando Duque photographed by Agustin Munoz in Negril, Jamaica

The Story:

In January 2009 I was called to cover the Nitro Circus Caribbean Tour show. I was told that Orlando Duque was going to be in Negril, jumping from a cliff to be shown in the program. Fortunately, I always travel with most of my toys and I discussed with Orlando which angle we could shoot from.

The idea of having part of the picture inside the water and the other half outside popped into my head. Orlando’s skills, the great weather conditions and the crystal water were the main factors that made the shot possible.

One of the things I love the most about my job is when ideas become a reality.


Source: Red Bull




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