Shoot. Fail. Repeat. Succeed
Snowboarding beats office life, right? That’s what Marc Gasch thought as well, making a quite drastic change from life as a lawyer to becoming adventure and action sports photographer, starting out with an analog reflex camera back in 1998 with a little help from his snowboarding friends. Nowadays, he shoots a lot of bikepacking adventures, so Red Bull Illume decided to pick his brain on the topic.
How did you get started in shooting adventure and action sports?
Well, it all happened around 1998, when I was working as a lawyer (yep) after finishing university, but it quickly bcame clear that I was not going to be sitting in an office for a long time. I was snowboarding all the time with my friends back then, and I had a reflex camera. My grandad was a photographer…so all the pieces just kind of came together and I decided that I had to make a change…
When it comes to bike packing adventures, what’s the biggest challenge when it comes to shooting?
I still shoot some snowboarding, but my focus has somehow shifted to bikes and more specifically gravel and bike packing. As the photographer for the XPDTN3 project, the main challenge is that those trips, even if some of them are short, are fully self-supported and self-documented. There are no support cars and no photographers on vans. I have to carry both my bike packing gear and also my photography gear, so the goal is to have a kit that is as light as possible.
How about challenges when it comes to packing?
I carry a lot of stuff to the destination, just in case, but once we set up “basecamp” in our first hotel, before starting the bike trip, I choose only the gear necessary for the next 3 days on the bike.
This usually means I’ll bring 1 pro camera (the Sony A7RII) + 1 extra backup P&S (Sony RX100IV) and a couple of lenses. The ones I use most are a wide angle and a 85 1.8mm.
Of course I also need to carry all chargers, batteries, cards, mics and accessories in my pack. Sometimes I move those to the bike packs to get some weight off of my back. A good backpack is key for this, and I normally try to get the smallest one possible. Right now, I’m using the GURU UL from the guys at F -Stop Gear.
What’s the coolest bike packing assignment you’ve been on, and why?
Hard to say, but Iceland and Israel have probably been two of my favorites. Everything just comes together in those places and you travel through some amazing landscapes and very remote areas. It’s just pure nature!
You can check out Iceland here: https://xpdtn3.club/trip/westfj%C3%B6rds-of-iceland
The trip through Israel can be experienced here: https://xpdtn3.club/trip/the-negev-desert
What makes shooting bike packing different from other adventure sports?
I think it all comes down to the compromises you have to make when it comes to gear selection. With only one body and two lenses (for photo and video!), you definitely need to get more creative when it comes to composition and really work on the angles.
On some trips, one of the other riders help me carry the a drone for some aerial footage, but to be honest, video makes everything much more complicated! (hahaha).
You can check out a video I did in Galicia
What is one piece of gear you never leave home without?
A dust blower and the “Capture” clip from Peak Design, which lets me have my camera strapped to my backpack strap, so I don’t have to stop all the time and get off from my bike to get photos. This makes for a smoother workflow and allows shooting on the go instead of having to stop the action and the crew every 10 minutes to take my backpack off my back in order to get some shots.
Any cool projects coming up?
All XPDTN3 trips are cool (can you tell I’m in charge of choosing the destinations? :-) and we are already working on a couple of trips in Asia for next spring, in 2 countries where I have never been before, so that’s always cool!
Any tips for starting photographers?
Shoot. Fail. Shoot. Fail. Shoot. Succeed. Non stop.
Check out more of Marc’s work on www.marcgasch.com