Ishaan Bhataiya of Wideangle Vigilante
Photographing Action Sports
At 14, I took a few photos on a phone camera. A few months later I walked into an electronics store and held a DSLR for the first time, only to be taken aback by all the numbers, icons and information on the screen. It was almost a year later that I got my first DSLR, a 1000D.
9 years later, I was the first Indian photographer to shoot the grueling Dakar Rally in 2019 and then again in 2020 along with various rounds of the FIM Cross Country Rally Championship.
Having worked with every automobile publication in the country, creating various editorial features, and I finally made a foray into the world of advertising, while working directly with several global companies and manufacturers.
I’ve recently come back from Saudi Arabia after shooting my second Dakar Rally. “This time though working with Rally Zone was on a different level altogether, with all 7 Factory motorcycle teams as our clients, the work was as exciting as ever.”
Action Sports is not all about shooting these immensely hardworking athletes. For me, its is a cue to cultivate a fitter lifestyle, to ultimately be more efficient and also to portray the inner emotion of every athlete in literally the truest form possible.
Only if you ride a dirt bike on a motocross track, do you realise what every 20-minute moto demands physically and mentally. You have to indulge in it to understand the level of perfection athletes bring to the sport. The better the level of understanding, the better the images. (Well, at least most of the times.)
A part of Red Bull Photography – dirt, action and adventure are the genres that really drive me to do everything that is needed to translate the thoughts in my mind into reality!! My fundamentals are very clear – ‘no shortcuts, hard-work and always remember to have fun, no matter what’.
Whenever you’re out shooting in a location. Always take time to observe your surroundings, take in what the elements have to offer around you and do all of this without your camera. Do the first few shots and then always review the images on a big screen and that will give you a lot of perspective on what really works and what can you add to make it better! So, always take time and take in the surroundings and elements around you without the camera in your hand.
Shakedown with the entire Red Bull KTM Factory Team
I’ve always heard this term, even before I knew what it was. Technically speaking, shakedown is a term used to describe ‘a team going out into then open to do the final bit of adjusting and testing before they start racing at an event. Since everything is shipped in from different parts of the world, including the riders, its important for them to get a feel of the bike, for the mechanics to put everything together and this also helps in setting everything up for the scrutiny the coming days.
My first FIM CCRC rally was the Rallye du Maroc in 2018, and thats where I first heard the term ‘shakdown’. Kin Marcin, Marian Chytka and Edoardo Bauer, who work for different agencies/companies would head out into the desert with the different factory teams and would get the opportunity to shoot with the riders in controlled environments, to get them to do the wildest things ever – everything to make it look good on camera. You’d never see this action in a rally, cause they’re competitive in those moments and every second counts. So the shakedown is an opportunity for a photographer to make images that you can’t imagine.
Six months later, I got my first opportunity to shoot a shakedown with the Monster Energy Honda Team, Red Bull KTM Team and the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Team, out in the desert in Abu Dhabi, a day before the scrutiny for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. It was nerve-wrecking to say the least. To be surrounded by the world’s best Rally Raid Pilots, in the most professional environment out in the dunes, while they ‘perform’ for you and you get to ask them to do specific things. It’s literally a dream come true.
Just a few years ago I remember saying that, ‘Man, just once if i get to go to the Dakar and see these guys, it would be awesome’, and boom a few years later, here I am, standing amidst greatness, with my cameras by my waist making images I only dreamt about.
What’s in my bag
- BlackRapid Sport Breathe
- Camera Bodies: 2 – Canon 1Dx Mark, 1 – Canon 7D Mark2, 1- Canon 10-18mm
- Lenses: Tamron 150-600mm Sport G2, Canon 17-40mm, Sigma 18-35mm, Canon 70-200mm
- Accessories: Large Accessory Pouch, Polaroid Filters, Sandisk Extreme Pro CF Cards x2, Sandisk Extreme Pro CF Cards, LP-E19 Battery Charger, External Flash and Trigger
- Passport, Dakar 2020 Accreditation, Notepad
- Computers: iPad, MacBook Pro, Wacom Intuos, ADATA SSD, ADATA External HDD, Pen Drive, Sandisk Memory Card Reader
- Misc: Red Bull, Polaroid Sunglasses, SIM cards, iPhone X Pelican Case
- The outside pocket has the extra phone, notepad, pen, earphones, microfibre cloth, keys, zip ties, and maybe some batteries or things I need to store for the time being and also an iPad.
- The inside pocket has more important things like my passport, documents, Identifications cards, SIM cards, pen drives, another note pad, dog tags, lens cleaning solution and cloth, stickers.
Social Media – https://www.instagram.com/ishaanbhataiya
Website – http://wideanglevigilante.com