“It’s swimrunners in action, scrambling up the steep cliffs, not bothered by the seaweed hanging from their arms, yet with colourful details in their Garmin wristbands proving it’s only a game.”
EQUIPMENT: Nikon D810 & D5 with a bunch of lenses and AquaTech underwater housings. DJI Phantom 4 drone.
CAMERA USED FOR THIS PHOTO: Nikon D5 with Sigma 15mm lens. AquaTech underwater housing.
By Josefine Ås
Taking this picture at the end of the legendary Pig Swim this year was truly a challenge, but so much fun! The wind, the waves and the rain were indeed tricky to work with, but for me, the highlight was surfing the waves like a rollercoaster. Since our boats could hardly dock any of the islands in the rough weather conditions, I was very limited in what pictures I could create early in the race. So it was a relief to jump into the wild sea and start working with everything in my own hands.
The many layers of the Pig Swim photo
What I like about this picture is all the layers it contains. It may look ordinary at first glance, but at a closer look, it shows many of the components that I like. It’s the rough sea spraying the rocks. It’s the athletes scrambling up the steep cliffs. It’s swimrunners in action. Their faces expressing life or death, not bothered by the seaweed hanging from their arms, yet with playful and colourful details in their handpaddles and Garmin wristbands, proving it’s only a game.
What the picture doesn’t say is that the athletes, Ida and Mattias, friends of mine from the swimrun community, are here taking on their first ÖTILLÖ World Championship challenge. Meeting them here in the water was such an inspiration for me, knowing that they are ordinary human beings, and a true example that you can achieve great results with some dedication and determination.
The official photographer tackling the conditions
Shooting ÖTILLÖ is very much about planning your shots: where you’re going to do the UV shots or the drone shots, what trails you’re going to run, when you expect to catch up with the different teams of interest and, finally, when and where you can upload your images to media. Since you are dependent on logistics, you schedule every minute in detail.
And, since you share the logistics with the film team, your plans need to be revised a few times. Finally, when you have weather conditions like at ÖTILLÖ WC this year, your plans are totally screwed. So you adapt to nature and improvise, using the experience you’ve gained from 8 years of working as the official ÖTILLÖ photographer.
For me, the way to tackle it this year was to keep it simple. One camera in underwater housing all day, no fiddling in and out. For the other cameras, no lens changes to avoid rain ruining the gear. On the windy islands, a large umbrella would protect my lenses from water dripping from the trees.
Of course, fewer islands to access by boat limited the number of places to shoot from. With a higher than usual crap ratio, due to the rain-soaked camera gear, I generated fewer images than I normally do from this race. But I must say I’m happy with the overall result, and especially this shot of Ida and Mattias on the Pig Swim.
Article first published in Swimrun Life Magazine Issue #4 (October 2017)