A Mind-bending Shoot with Claudio Casanova

Red Bull Illume photographer Claudio Casanova recently completed a mind-bending shoot inspired by the Olympic Games and the subject of ‘rings’. The final concept is in an illusion – with Casanova seemingly hurling a ring in the air and a rider jumping through, but it is clever trickery. Red Bull Illume ask the Swiss photographer how he did it…

“For this project I needed a crew of riders that harmonized well, so it was only right to get the creative head and multi-talented Mike Knobel, the always motivated and positive thinker Deniz Cinek as well as perfectionist and style wizard Roger Schuler. These guys are familiar with each other and have already proven to work well as a team,” says Casanova.


“We headed to one of NBCs sacred grounds, where countless classic NBC Shots such as my top 50 Red Bull Illume Photo have been taken. During the summertime this spot is a soccer pitch, so it is perfectly flat and has a great inrun and a landing attached to it as well as a fence surrounding it.”

“We borrowed both soccer goals which we flipped on their sides to achieve the height of the whole construction so we wouldn’t have to remove any undesired objects in the framing in photoshop. We then hauled a gigantic tree trunk on top of the goals so we had a big frame where we could hang the ring from.


“We were really sceptical as it wouldn’t have been unlikely to see one of the riders get caught in the ring and tear down the whole thing and injuring himself. The ring was solely held up by some silk strings, so they wouldn’t be to visible in the shot.”

“The challenge here was to get the timing right as i could not see the rider as I was shooting because I had to look like I was throwing up the ring and looking after it (basically staring into the blank white sky). The camera was placed on top of the drop-in, equipped with a tele-lens and a pocket wizard receiver, where Deniz was giving me the countdown when to shoot. Luckily I didn’t need a flash so I could just shoot in sequences. After a couple of tries we got the hang of it and started having fun with trying different tricks and positions such as also holding the ring in my hand to get a more compact framing.


“In the second part of the shoot, we had set up this gigantic construction and were having fun riding it (how many times do you get to jump through a ring on a snowboard) and so it was only right to try to get some single shots with flashes from another angle to achieve a totally different look. This session was more of a ‘bonus’ because we just had some leftover energy and the evening was still young. So shot into the night until my flashes gave up!”

Visit Casanova’s website: www.novaphoto.ch

More on: www.redbullillume.com