We live in a world where we can access the most special photos on the internet just by opening our phones. Instagram and Facebook are full of amazing photos, yet that one cover or beautiful photo in a magazine still holds so much value for me as a kiter. A cover remains something special.
Capturing a beautiful picture is often not the most difficult trick, but it has everything to do with the creativity of the photographer and the kiter. In early August, I traveled to beautiful Brazil for the third stop of the Big Air Kite League. The competition took place in Tatajuba, a small fishing village six hours north of Fortaleza. The wind is often very strong there, making the conditions ideal for a big air competition. After all the training and competition, which unfortunately ended in the quarterfinals for me, it was time to see a bit more of Brazil than just the airport and the competition area.
I traveled further north to Barra Grande, a fishing village that has grown into a kite paradise over the years. The mangroves are about five minutes downwind, and the wind always blows the right direction so that you can kite a significant part of these mangroves. This gives a magical sensation as you suddenly find yourself kiting in a forest of low-growing bushes and trees surrounded by water. However, you have to be careful not to damage the mangroves or get stuck in them. After a number of sessions, you begin to know where you can and cannot go.
Soon, creative thoughts came to mind: possibilities for photos and cool videos, elements that I could jump over, and so on. Making videos was quite easy as I had complete control over them, but taking photos became a bit more challenging since you can't capture an action shot of yourself.
Taking beautiful photos is fun, but they deserve more than just being posted on Instagram or Facebook. By coincidence, a few days later, I received an email from Access asking if I had a nice photo for the cover of their new magazine. I didn't have one, but I did have all the ingredients to take that picture. Michal Jagniatkowski, the videographer from the event in Tatajuba, also traveled to Barra Grande. I called him right away and told him about the opportunity for the cover and if he wanted to do this with me. He wasn't so sure if this would work because he doesn't often shoot photos and therefore doesn't have much experience with it. But... he also thought it was a nice challenge and was up for it. You don't get an opportunity like this every day.
For a cover photo, you often go that extra mile, and this gives the photo a lot of value, especially for the kiter and the photographer. Seeing this photo on the cover of a magazine is something magical. All the hard work and effort to capture that one photo can now be held as a physical book, and every time you see the magazine, it takes you back to that moment.
|Access Magazine Cover Mangroves
|Kitesurfing Magazine Cover Mangroves
|Access Magazine Cover Sunset
The mangroves are incredibly beautiful and provide a unique setting for kiteboarding. However, this brought both advantages and disadvantages. One disadvantage was the overwhelming number of picturesque locations for taking pictures, making it difficult to decide where to begin. Fortunately, it didn’t take very long to get some unique photos that would perfectly complement the cover. Still, the thought lingered in both of our minds: "If only we could capture that perfect shot." The only challenge was that Michael had to swim to get those shots. Now, this wasn't a significant problem in itself, but he had to handle a very expensive camera while swimming. Eventually, after a nerve-wracking swim and maneuvering through numerous branches and mangroves, he reached the desired spot. Although it was far from ideal, we had to act quick. We strategically planned the shoot to coincide with the perfect lighting, tide, and wind conditions. After about 5 minutes, he had to swim back, hoping that we had successfully captured the image we envisioned.
Following that adventurous swim, we stumbled upon another picturesque spot—a small shipwreck nestled among a cluster of trees. This location posed an easier task for the cameraman, but not for me. I had to time my jump meticulously, considering the incoming waves to make sure I had enough water for takeoff. This approach worked well, but it presented another problem. By the time I was airborne, there would no longer be water to land on, so I had to kick out my board each time and land in the sand without it. This, on its own, wouldn't be too challenging if it weren't for the broken branches and bushes protruding from the sand directly in front of me. I had to synchronize everything perfectly to avoid any injuries. After around 10 minutes with a stroke of luck on my side, we captured the shot.
The sunset photo was taken without my knowledge. As I was riding downwind back to our starting point, I decided to perform a few jumps along the way. Suddenly, Michal started shouting at me, revealing that he had captured something beautiful. He showed me the photo, and we attempted to make it even better by trying various angles. Unfortunately, time was limited as the sun was setting, so after a few attempts, we called it a day.