It's been a while but the format is still the same; we interview a photographer with a particular passion for all things two wheeled, and then take a look at some of their favourite shots.
This week we get to know Reuben Shaul and take a look at some of his work.
Who/what are your main influences?
It all started when I took a cheap DSLR camera to Morzine (French alps), where I spent the whole summer riding my bike. There were days that I went up the mountain to take photos of my friends riding and got lots of good feedback from everyone. So I kept shooting when I got back home to Israel. One thing led to the another, I bought new and better gear, and then went back to Europe one year later to cover a few races around France and Austria. As for other photographer's influences, I'd say, Sven Martin, Laurence CE and Piotr Staron are some of the photographers I really like watching their work.
Do you have a particular favourite photo you’ve taken and why?
There are two photos I really like from Leogang's World Cup. One of Mick Hannah's final run – you can see Mick in a perfect attack position. Elbows out, face looking into the tunnel and one wheel above the ground. Another one is of Joe Smith in a practice run. The weather was s#!t and really not ideal for photos, with heavy rain, fog and no light. But somehow I got a nice shot of him in the air, doing a stylish trick with rain drops all around him.
What's the most challenging location you've ever shot in?
Rainy days in downhill races can be really challenging. The track becomes super slippery and not just for the riders. It's not easy hiking down/up the mountain to find the perfect shooting spots (sometimes you have to step in knee deep mud). Plus you need to take care of your gear so it's not getting wet all the time. However, sometimes the worst weather can get you the best dramatic shots.
Technique or tools – what's the most invaluable?
Tough question. Good technique will get you good shots with any tools given, whereas good tools with no technique is just useless. Not sure I could have taken half of my favorite shots with a cheap camera and lens, but I'll still go for technique.
Any locations or riders you would particularly like to work with in the future?
I'd love to join one of the best downhill teams and follow them the whole UCI world cup series. Also really want to try snowboarding/ski photography. Last time I did a winter season (in Wanaka, NZ) I wasn't into photography yet. so can't wait to spend another winter season in a place like British Colombia, European Alps or Japan, with all the gear and skills I have now.
Thoughts on Instagram – Good or bad?
The bad thing on Instagram is that photo quality there is based on the amount of likes. So, let's say a celebrity uploads a boring sunset photo he took and gets 10k likes. Does it make it a good photo?
If you weren't a photographer, what would you want to be and why?
The thing is, I started getting into photography while having my second university summer break. Although I decided I wanted to spend my life as a photographer rather than in mechanical engineering (which I'm studying), it'd be a waste to drop out. So I'm going to graduate in a few months and then will be finally able to do it full time. Getting paid for travelling around the world and getting to know amazing new people, instead of being stuck in an office all day sounds way better, no? Maybe I'm too naive, who knows. Guess I will have to find out! If it doesn't work out, being a mechanical engineer is definitely an option.
What's the one bit of advice you'd give to budding young photographers?
Be special and make your own style. Don't shoot the obvious. Everyone can buy a decent camera, learn the basics and shoot the same photo thousands of other photographers will do. Composition is the key. Be patient, look carefully around you and use elements (trees, bushes, people, tape…) to give depth to the photo and lead the viewers eyes to the rider.
Loic Bruni – Val d'Isere, France.
Cam Cole – Leogang, Austria.
Joe Smith – Leogang, Austria.
Ricky Crompton – Chatel, France.
Aaron Gwin – Val d'Isere.
Mick Hannah – Leogang, Austria.
Thanks to Reuben for letting us showcase his work and we wish him luck in his future ventures. For more images like the ones above check out Reuben's website: http://reubenshaul.com/sports/.
Which is your favourite image? Let us know in the comments section below.