Red Bull Photography special project BMX W2D that I recently finished caused huge media attention because of the unusual approach to the subject. Several months of preparations, unusual ambient, one of the best young BMX riders in Europe and special camera equipment made this project unique and totally different comparing to other I did so far. How it all was made you can find out in this post.
Serbian photographer Predrag Vuckovic likes nothing more than taking on a big challenge, and even more so when it comes to shooting incompatible entities and situations.
BMX W2D (BMX Water 2 Dust) took final form in Predrag’s dreams. Having been a scuba diving instructor for more than 20 years, a former BMX rider, and working currently as a professional underwater photographer, it’s easy to conclude how the original idea came about.
The main goal of the project was to photograph a BMX rider in an environment with unusual circumstances for the sport – a water pool. The additional involvement of water splashes would create unique and spectacular moments in a way that would be physically impossible to repeat image after image.
The biggest challenge of the project was the preparation of the whole site with all the necessary elements, in order to make the shoot as perfect as it could be.
Planning the project and seeking out the right location took several months, with the exact preparations and creation of the bespoke water pool taking 11 days in itself. The construction of the pool was no mean feat – built by 15 workers, it took 14 trucks, 145 cubic meters of dirt, 25 cubic meters of sand and 15 cubic meters of concrete. Although designed to have a maximum depth of 15cm it would also be possible to have a smaller depth due to the fact that no-one could predict how feasible it would be to perform tricks in the water. The bottom of the pool was made with a special material to enable grip and avoid the rider slipping whilst in full flow.
When it came down to choosing a subject the initial plan was to choose a Pro Rider with competition results under his belt, who would be able to perform without question. Predrag then started thinking about all the times when he was a young rider just waiting for that chance of a lifetime – it was this thought that helped him in making the final selection. He wanted to give the chance to a young and ambitious riders, who still had yet to prove themself on the BMX scene. And so it was… one of the most promising young European BMX riders on the scene right now – Alvaro Hernandez from Spain.
Pulling off tricks in a pool full of water was not easy. First impressions for Alvaro were akin to feeling like riding with “flat tires”. Every trick required additional time for practice and additional time for adapting to conditions in which he had never before found himself. What made this shoot all the more unusual was Predrag’s choice of photography equipment, specifically the underwater housings and specially made accessories. It was absolutely impossible to shoot all this with a regular unprotected camera. The main reason being that Predrag wanted to be right in the center of the action with his wide-angle lens so as to ensure he could capture the whole scene. Knowing also that the water splashes out of the BMX rider himself wouldn’t be enough to create the visual spectacle he was after he used several assistants with shovels so as to create a separate water background.
After a few exhausting hours for the whole team, all the preparations were complete and it was just a matter of waiting for dark – the required lighting conditions for the shoot to happen. Many attempts, lots of water, lots of energy and a few hours of continuously wet shooting resulted in the dream becoming a reality. The forms and conditions that were created with the help of water were fantastic. All the effort and energy invested in just this one photo shoot had paid off – in the end the result was absolutely exceptional.
The dust element was the second stage of the shoot. Predrag wanted to create a similar set of images but using a different element though in the same environment. Ultimately powder was used and the explosions of it hitting Alvaro created beautiful dust clouds that when colliding with the motion of the BMX moves made the visual end result all the more captivating.
Photographer: Predrag Vuckovic www.extreme-photographer.com
Bmx Rider: Alvaro ‘Varo’ Hernandez
Photographer assistant: Bogdan Kosanovic
BTS photographer: Ivan Miladinovic
Video production leader: Luka Jovanovic “LCF MEDIA”
Video edit and postproduction: Aref Zaabi
Video camera 1: Nemanja Novakovic
Video camera 2: Aleksandar Karaulic
Audio: Nikola Radivojevic
You can see the whole project with highlights and making of images on official web site of Red Bull Photography.
You can also see my project with Nokia Lumia 1020 and stunning images made with this mobile phone on this link.