Capturing fast action

Born and raised in Bled, Slovenia, sports photographer Samo Vidic started as an amateur photographer at the age of 17. Fascinated by what could be done with different cameras, lenses and film, he gained knowledge fast and soon realised that this could be his dream job.

At the age of 23 he started working as a professional photographer and since 2005 has been shooting for Red Bull, travelling the globe and photographing many of the world's best athletes.

As well as contributing to Getty images, Samo’s photographs have appeared in some of the world’s most prestigious sports magazines, such as Outside, L’Équipe and ESPN. In 2013 he was the winner of the ‘Wings’ category of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest; he is also a multiple winner of the Slovenian Press Photo competition.

We caught up with Samo as he prepared to shoot stills of our latest Come and See film, City Surfers.

© Samo Vidic - Canon Explorer. Taken using a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with an EF300mm f/2.8L IS USM lens; the exposure was 1/250s at f/3.5, ISO 400.

Getting ready for the shoot

“I've always enjoyed shooting sports and capturing action. So shooting local surfers Alex, Karine, and Tao on the river of Eisbach in Munich against the backdrop of Munich is amazing. It’s cool to have something so unexpected like surfing in the city where people can just turn up while others watch from the bridge. However, it’s challenging to work on an open set where people can just walk around - I don’t have control of anything except my equipment!”

Capturing dramatic action

“I want to capture great action with the city in the background so that we can show that this is actually going on in Munich. I'm using lights to heighten the drama and I'll freeze the action by using strobes. This works well as we will mostly be shooting during sunset and at night.”

Samo’s kit list

“The new Canon EOS-1D X Mark II is perfect for these kind of action-filled, night-time shoots because the auto-focus is very fast and the ISO is really, really good. It means I can be sure I'll get sharp, detailed shots. It's a very responsive camera and I really trust it.”

The lenses I'm using for this shoot are a Canon 24-70, 70-200 and 35mm. The 35mm lens allows me to shoot at a really open aperture, f/1.4, to get quite a blurry background. With a 70-200 lens I can go far away and still I can shoot really close. Shooting from this position means I’m more flexible, so I can adapt to the situation and get the best shots.”

© Samo Vidic - Canon Explorer. Taken using a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with an EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens; the exposure was 1/200s at f/5.0, ISO 200.

Getting the best from athletes

“You can get the best out of the surfers, or the athletes in general, if you know some specifics of the sport you’re shooting. I always talk to them before the shoot and I'll often show them the photos during the shoot as well. Sometimes they are cold or hungry but when I show them really nice pictures they get an extra energy.”

Shortcuts to being a great photographer

“People sometimes ask me if I have any shortcuts to be a good photographer. I just tell them there are no shortcuts if you want to be good.”

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Coming next: Seeing the world without a viewfinder.

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