This photo was taken for the most prestigious adventure-sport photography competition in the world, the Red Bull Illume Project. The concept had been imagined over a few beers after a climbing mate told a tale of BASE jumpers flying past him. So we found a location, secured the guys, and headed out.
On the day, we arrived early to set up ropes, harnesses, check angles etc. As everything had to be perfect (we would only get one chance). And, I had to be hanging off the cliff to get in the right position as well. We nearly bailed on the whole project when the clouds and wind rolled through. But our patience was rewarded when less than 10 minutes before sunset the sun finally dropped below the clouds. However, the climber needed to work through the crux (hardest part of the climb) to get into frame, so it was only a few minutes before sunset when the BASE jumpers could launch…
I shot 9-frames per second on my used and abused Nikon D4 but knew it could handle the knocks while abseiling and would allow so many quick high-res frames continuously. It was damned close, but we nailed it and made it to the semi-finals of the contest. But ‘no gold’ unfortunately, so we’ll have to ‘step-it-up’ next time.
BASE Climb – the Red Bull Illume Project
To find out more about Mark Watson, visit www.inciteimages.com.