“It will make you a better photographer and save you time in the end.”
“I’d like to say thanks to my grandpa”
“Cold hands definitely”
Always enthusiastic, up for missions and dreaming of travels we were lucky to spend a few days with the renowned photographer and our great friend Lukas Riedl from www.lr-pho.to
Lukas is an infamous German based photographer, you will see him escaping to the Austrian mountains in the winter and hanging around the German cable parks in the summer. He shoots for various pro riders with talents that stretch from being behind the lens, to drone driving and editing action-sport films.
Over a few beers I got to pick his brain on photography and life behind the lens.
First of all, cheers, Skål.
So, simple question to start with. How long have you been a photographer and what inspired you to start?
Its actually hard to say from when I can call myself a photographer, but around 6 years back spending a season in Austria is when I had the first real DSLR in my hands from a friend from Sweden. Actually when I just pressed the shutter the first or second time I realized I wanted to have that as well, I thought “That’s cool”. I actually bought the exact same model as Johnas and started from there.
You do some awesome photography as well as video shooting and movie making for some epic Austrian riders. The likes of Werni Stock and Mario Wanger from the DJUDES, how did you get into shooting for them?
I know the guys quite well. They are all hanging with Andi Pfister the man from Mooreboards in Mayrhofen. That’s where I met them the first time, working for that shop. Then, just asking them [to take photos] and then once and a while they would ask me as well. At first it was just making friends, then later realized that good snowboarders with half decent photographers makes great photos in the end, haha.
Was that always the idea to shoot snowboarding?
It came along with the other passion of snowboarding, what snowboarding is and showing people what we do. Then pretty soon found other photography like portraits and shooting in a studio as well. Also looking at other peoples photos and thinking oh that’s cool and trying to do it.
Any upcoming travel and events planned for photography?
If I’m really lucky, I have the opportunity to go with the Austrian’s, Mario and Tom Klocker to MT Baker in Washington, USA, in February. Otherwise going back to Austria and shooting with the boys and just taking the camera wherever I go anyway, there is always the opportunity to take photos even when you don’t expect it.
Where do you get inspiration from and are there any photographers and artists that inspire you?
I have to say, most of my inspiration and what informed me the most was living with an awesome photographer, a real talented guy in Austria, Mike Wechselberger, and umm I dunno, I lived with him in the same flat for a half year or something. His passion and motivation for doing something everyday was just blowing my mind. Still, Even if he isn’t doing that much photography anymore for whatever reasons, when ever he posts something they are always mind blowing.
That’s always key to have, someone who is keen to go and do missions.
What is your most preferred lens when shooting action sports, do you have a quiver of lenses or mainly stay with the one?
It depends on the shot definitely, because another lens makes another shot. But, up in the mountains its probably 70 – 100mm 2.8 either Nikon or sigma, it’s a price question as well because there is pretty expensive glass. Then always a fish eye as well, for some fish eye fun effects. Now with GoPro and these lenses for your iPhone, the fish eye is pretty over used, but for sure those two lenses.
With all the snow around How do you combat the large amount of reflected light in the snow environment?
Its all pretty sketchy, because up on the mountain the conditions change so fast, you need to be on to it and up to date. What comes in handy is definitely a grey filter, it takes out about 2 f stops. Or, you have adjustable ones as well so you don’t over expose so easy. A grey card as well is pretty useful.
So you do all this in camera, or you get the references to tweak your photos after?
I try to get it all as close as possible on shot already, it saves a heap of time after editing, of course it doesn’t work out all the time too. Its for sure a fast sport, they are not going to wait for you they are just going to jump and that is the moment you will need to capture. Sure, try to get it perfect or as close as possible on the shot already. It will also make you a better photographer and save you time in the end.
Speaking of being a better photographer, are you a manual shooter or do you shoot in a priority mode?
Probably a personal opinion thing, but ah haha, I prefer to do it all manually, even if that is more work, you always have to think and worry about all the stuff. Sometimes it comes in handy to use the shutter priority or the aperture priority, it depends on the situation. but ah, running around most of the time I try to use manual because making mistakes also teaches you a lot, like fuck that shutter time was to way short, then you have to extend it. Otherwise the camera is doing your job and its maybe not always what you want.
Yeah that’s a good point.
What is the biggest issue you face when shooting skiing and snowboarding? Cold fingers right ?
haha, definitely cold fingers.
Hahaha, and also, carrying around all the shit. I mean I bring my camera and gear, maybe some tripods, maybe a glide cam if I want to do some videos. It’s bringing all the shit up the mountain is one of the issues. Then you leave thousand of euros lying somewhere in the corner then try and follow the riders and run around.
Then depends on the conditions but cold fingers is something shit, with all the small buttons and reels you cant feel stuff and cant press stuff anymore then it just doesn’t work. So it’s going to be lovely to have your gloves.
I know you are also into portrait photography. How did that come about and can you relate portrait techniques to snowboard photography?
How that came about.. haha, actually people asked me for biometric passport photos. You see them a lot nowadays on face book etc and then just thinking I can do it better or just the same and actually you don’t need much for portrait photography, just a background. It’s great to teach you about depth of field and focus area and ah, it’s a different field of photography but it also teaches you about the camera and how the camera and lens work together
So, do are you able to you use those techniques for snowboarding?
Well, not exactly straight for regular snowboarding but with working with a flash, and working with low light and flash effects. Portrait photography taught me a lot about where the light needs to come from and how reflections are and all that stuff, so yeah it works well together.
Do you have any advice you would tell yourself when you first started which can relate for the up and coming photographers?
Ah, yeah. First of all I think the most important thing is just do it first of all and don’t worry about if it works out. Don’t be in doubt, they will mostly not work out in the first shot but have a picture in your mind then try and get it with the camera. Then the more you try the more you learn, the more you fail, that’s actually the biggest part, learning after the first shot that it doesn’t work this way and needs to be another way. So just go out and shoot as much as possible.
Awesome, any last parting words?
I wanna say thanks to my grandpa haha, just kidding. Ah, I dunno. Take lots of photos and show people, post them and print them. There is nothing cooler then seeing your photo printed on your wall the first time.
Champion! thanks Lukas.
Want to see more from lukas?
Check out his website http://www.lr-pho.to/
or follow him on instagram http://instagram.com/lukassan
Christian Hoiberg: This winter I spent three full months living and guiding in Arctic Norway. While I’ve spent a lot of time there previously, staying there for this extended period of time led to me getting a more intimate understanding of the surroundings.
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