Raisting, Bavaria, Germany
Time / Date:
21:17 / Feb. 15. 2012
Camera Body: Canon 5D Mark II
Lens: Carl Zeiss 18mm f/3.5
Lighting: Elinchrom Strobes
Shutter Speed: 4 seconds
Focal Length: 18mm
For me a really strong action picture, is a shot of a great location combined with a strong action move. I always try to find locations that are unique and have nothing to do with the sport on the first look. I try to surprise the viewer – first he sees a good landscape or architecture photo and than on the second look the viewer finds the action sport athlete in this picture. The moment when people find the athlete in the picture is so much fun to watch, because it’s something they don’t expect. I pretty much always follow the rule, that the picture without the athlete most be so strong that people would hang it on their walls – if you then add the action to such a picture you have a really good action shot.
When I found this huge satellite dish in the summer, I was just so fascinated by the structure and the architecture. The dish stands in the middle of an open field in the bavarian countryside with nice mountains in the background. I drove there about 5 times just to shoot landscape pictures of it. I didn’t think about that this could be an interesting shooting location for snowboarding. But during one landscape shoot, heavy fog came up and it got darker. I had a pretty big flash in my car and I set everything up the shoot the dish as a silhouette in the dark with fog in the background. After this shooting, I had the idea to use this dish as a snowboard spot for the first time.
I used a Canon 5D Mark II with the 18mm Carl Zeiss and two big Elinchrom Flashes to get the silhouette of the dish. But I also had to use a 4 second exposure time to get a little bit of light from the moon into the dish itself because there was no other way to light up the inside.
Making the Shot:
For the picture that I had in mind, I needed either heavy for or heavy snowfall to create a white background that would silhouette the dish and the snowboarder. So it was all about the right timing. I had to wait till the middle of February until enough snow was on the ground and a heavy snowstorm was forecasted. I called up the rider Xaver Hoffmann and we decided to give it a try. It was not too much fun to be out in that heavy snowstorm but worth every minute when we both saw the result on the display of the camera. After that day, the weather got warm and it was pretty much the only day during a whole year where this shot would have been possible. I’m more than happy that we made it on this day.
Editing & Processing:
Due to the fact that I had to shoot the picture at ISO 1000 I had a little bit of coloured grain in the picture, so I decided to convert the whole picture in b&w and colour the lights and shadows afterwards in Adobe Lightroom. That was the only post-processing I did.
I’ve chosen this picture because it pretty much describes the way I love to see actionsports photography. It was a well planed shooting where everything turned out exactly the way I had in mind – even a little better.
The best thing is to create your own style of photography. When people see a picture you have made, they should see your handwriting. I think this is pretty much the key in every genre of photography to be successful. Create your own style.
I get inspired by a lot of things. I try to see the world with open eyes. A location can be everywhere. I also love to hang out in photo-bookstores to get inspiration for locations for actionsport shootings.
About the Photographer
I grew up in Munich, close to the Bavarian mountains, and it is those mountains that have always played a major role in my life. I was a semi-professional snowboarder back in the day, until I injured myself badly and I pretty much had to quit snowboarding for a whole season in 2003. In that time I discovered the pleasure of photography for myself.
I was fascinated by photos that could describe a whole scene, a whole story or even a whole day, in just one small moment caught on film. This fascination was one of the biggest motivations for me to start my career as a professional photographer.
Right now I work as senior photographer for Pleasure Snowboard Magazine and as a staff photographer for Nitro Snowboards. I travel pretty much the whole winter, always on the search for the best snow conditions and creative locations. I love shooting snowboarding in fresh, uncommon locations.
In my photos I like to show the viewers a different angle, something they normally wouldn’t notice, even if they were there at the scene. I might use colorful flashes, different camera angles or tilt and shift lenses – always trying to capture something a bit different. On the other hand, I also love the documentary style; simple black and white documentary is something very real.
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