GUIDE TWO

Photographing Whitewater Kayaking

Lighting and shooting in Spirit Falls

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Join Michael Clark as he takes us into the world of whitewater kayaking as he works on the launch campaign for the Elinchrom ELB 1200. Michael Clark worked with world-class Red Bull whitewater kayaker Rafa Ortiz alongside Rush Sturges and Liam Field to create the award-winning “Lighting the Spirit” campaign at Spirit Falls on the Little White Salmon River near White Salmon, Washington.

In this extended 2-part guide, we start off with a segment covering the gear Michael used to shoot this project. He’ll then show what went into the creation of these images; how the lighting was built and how the entire team worked to set a new standard for whitewater kayaking photography on this adventurous assignment.

 
 

 
 

Part 1: Inside the Shoot

In this extended behind the scenes video, Michael shows you what it took to create these stunning Hi-Sync whitewater kayaking images for the Elinchrom ELB 1200 campaign with world-class whitewater kayakers Rafa Ortiz, Rush Sturges and Liam Field. Follow along as Michael, and his hard working assistant Tom Bear, set up the lighting, find the best shooting angles and work with the kayakers to dial in these images. Not only did Michael and his crew create inspiring action images but they also spent a good chunk of the assignment creating both lifestyle images and portraits to tell the whole story. See what it takes to build a set of images so that a client has enough marketing materials to draw eyeballs to their product and show off it’s capabilities.

 
 
 

Part 2: What to Pack & Why

In this video Michael Clark discusses all of the gear used for the Lighting the Spirit whitewater kayaking project including the extensive set of lighting equipment, two complete camera systems, and all of the other outdoor gear required to pull off this assignment. In this video Michael discusses why he took each piece of equipment, how it was packed to carry into Spirit Falls, and what was involved in getting everything to the location.

 
 

Equipment List

Adventure School Team

  Michael Clark    Michael Clark is an internationally published adventure photographer specializing in adventure sports, travel, and landscape photography. He produces intense, raw images of athletes pushing their sports to the limit and has risked life and limb on numerous assignments to bring back stunning images of rock climbers, mountaineers, kayakers, mountain bikers, big-wave surfers, sky divers and many other extreme sports athletes, often working in remote locations around the world. He uses unique angles, bold colors, strong graphics and cutting-edge, dramatic lighting techniques to capture fleeting moments of passion, gusto, flair and bravado in the outdoors. Balancing extreme action with subtle details, striking portraits and wild landscapes, he creates images for editorial and advertising clients worldwide.  A sampling of Michael's clients include Apple, Nike, Nikon, Adobe, Red Bull, Microsoft, Nokia, Patagonia, New Balance, Gatorade, Elinchrom,  National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Outside, Men's Journal,  and  The New York Times among many others. He has won numerous awards for his photography and  Digital Photo Pro  proclaimed Michael a "Master of Adventure" Photography” in their 2011 Masters issue.    Website  |  Blog  |  Workshops  |  Facebook  |  Instagram

Michael Clark 

Michael Clark is an internationally published adventure photographer specializing in adventure sports, travel, and landscape photography. He produces intense, raw images of athletes pushing their sports to the limit and has risked life and limb on numerous assignments to bring back stunning images of rock climbers, mountaineers, kayakers, mountain bikers, big-wave surfers, sky divers and many other extreme sports athletes, often working in remote locations around the world. He uses unique angles, bold colors, strong graphics and cutting-edge, dramatic lighting techniques to capture fleeting moments of passion, gusto, flair and bravado in the outdoors. Balancing extreme action with subtle details, striking portraits and wild landscapes, he creates images for editorial and advertising clients worldwide.

A sampling of Michael's clients include Apple, Nike, Nikon, Adobe, Red Bull, Microsoft, Nokia, Patagonia, New Balance, Gatorade, Elinchrom, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Outside, Men's Journal, and The New York Timesamong many others. He has won numerous awards for his photography and Digital Photo Pro proclaimed Michael a "Master of Adventure" Photography” in their 2011 Masters issue.

Website | Blog | Workshops | Facebook | Instagram

  Rafa Ortiz   Rafa Ortiz has garnered a massive legion of fans with his aggressive, all-out approach. He can regularly be seen hurling his boat off 100-foot waterfalls and down the gnarliest of whitewater runs. Ortiz learned to paddle in Veracruz but honed his skills in Canada and in 2005 became the first Mexican ever to compete at the World Freestyle Championships. During a expedition in Veracruz in 2010, Rafael conquered the second highest waterfall in the world, The Big Banana Fall (42m). In 2012, Rafael managed to land the tallest waterfall ever dropped by a man, Pallouse Falls (57.6m).  Now a top international kayaker in waterfall, Rafael has been the star of Red Bull Chasing Waterfalls, a two-year project designed to discover unknown routes, rivers and, of course, waterfalls. He can usually be found slaying whitewater around the globe. Rafa’s latest project was to follow his dream of kayaking Niagara Falls and it culminated in the movie Chasing Niagara, released in 2016.    Facebook   |   Instagram   |   Red Bull

Rafa Ortiz

Rafa Ortiz has garnered a massive legion of fans with his aggressive, all-out approach. He can regularly be seen hurling his boat off 100-foot waterfalls and down the gnarliest of whitewater runs. Ortiz learned to paddle in Veracruz but honed his skills in Canada and in 2005 became the first Mexican ever to compete at the World Freestyle Championships. During a expedition in Veracruz in 2010, Rafael conquered the second highest waterfall in the world, The Big Banana Fall (42m). In 2012, Rafael managed to land the tallest waterfall ever dropped by a man, Pallouse Falls (57.6m).

Now a top international kayaker in waterfall, Rafael has been the star of Red Bull Chasing Waterfalls, a two-year project designed to discover unknown routes, rivers and, of course, waterfalls. He can usually be found slaying whitewater around the globe. Rafa’s latest project was to follow his dream of kayaking Niagara Falls and it culminated in the movie Chasing Niagara, released in 2016.

Facebook | Instagram | Red Bull

  Rush Sturges   Rush Sturges is widely considered one of the best whitewater kayakers in the world. In 2011, he was a part of the Congo expedition team for a first descent of the largest rapids ever paddled. He also completed a complete descent of the steepest navigable section of whitewater on the Santo Domingo in Chiapas, Mexico. In 2008 Rush founded River Roots, a well-respected action sports film production house based out of Rush’s adopted home of White Salmon, Washington. He has won many awards including X-Dance Best Film as well as top honors at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. To date he has completed eight kayaking movies including the critically acclaimed "Chasing Niagara." Rush also writes and performs his own rap music. His latest album, “A Life Worth Living,” has over a million plays online.  Headshot by:  Mike Dawson     Website   |   Facebook   |   Instagram

Rush Sturges

Rush Sturges is widely considered one of the best whitewater kayakers in the world. In 2011, he was a part of the Congo expedition team for a first descent of the largest rapids ever paddled. He also completed a complete descent of the steepest navigable section of whitewater on the Santo Domingo in Chiapas, Mexico. In 2008 Rush founded River Roots, a well-respected action sports film production house based out of Rush’s adopted home of White Salmon, Washington. He has won many awards including X-Dance Best Film as well as top honors at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. To date he has completed eight kayaking movies including the critically acclaimed "Chasing Niagara." Rush also writes and performs his own rap music. His latest album, “A Life Worth Living,” has over a million plays online.

Headshot by: Mike Dawson

Website | Facebook | Instagram

  Liam Field    Liam Field is a whitewater kayaker from Portland, Oregon. At the young age of 13 he immersed himself into the Portland whitewater kayaking community and attended the World Class Kayak Academy. Even though he is still quite young, he has already kayaked in numerous countries including Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Canada. At 15, he descended the 70-foot Outlet Falls in Washington. His focus is on running steep rivers with high amounts of volume. In the spring 2017, he was able to knock off one of his huge goals, to run the Little White Salmon in Washington at an epic water level.    Instagram

Liam Field

Liam Field is a whitewater kayaker from Portland, Oregon. At the young age of 13 he immersed himself into the Portland whitewater kayaking community and attended the World Class Kayak Academy. Even though he is still quite young, he has already kayaked in numerous countries including Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Canada. At 15, he descended the 70-foot Outlet Falls in Washington. His focus is on running steep rivers with high amounts of volume. In the spring 2017, he was able to knock off one of his huge goals, to run the Little White Salmon in Washington at an epic water level.

Instagram

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