Red Bull X-Alps. For athletes, it’s the world’s toughest adventure race. But for photographers, it’s also one of the toughest assignments around.
The race starts in Salzburg, Austria and sees athletes race over 1,000km across the Alps to Monaco by foot or paraglider.
Getting into shape is vital, says Ludvik. “It’s more about physical preparation – running and cycling! I have to be in good shape to keep up with these guys as well as carry my equipment.”
He adds: “I also go through all the images from previous competitions and see which worked the best. It’s a good starting point for inspiration.”
Although the Red Bull photographer has covered the race before, knowing where great spots are doesn’t really help: “You never know where the athletes are going to be or the route they will take. I just try to catch them when they’re getting ready for the day and stick with them as long as I can. Then it’s back to the car to upload images and wait for any instructions to shoot other athletes coming my way.”
Sometimes the biggest challenges are the ones you least expect: “Keeping my shoes dry is difficult!” laughs Ludvik. “But in the beginning when these athletes are full of energy it’s really tough – I have keep up with them and still find moments to shoot. Finding an internet connection is also pretty tough in the Alps!”
For an expedition of this magnitude, Ludvik can’t take too much gear: “I have two camera systems, various accessories and a computer, but you have to carry what you bring! I have a lighter camera this year, the Olympus OM-D which I’ve been testing out over the year. I hope it’s going to work out well,” he says.
But for all the challenges and pain, Ludvik is really looking forward to it: “It really is a lot of fun!”