South African adventure photography

out of africa

Words: Angus Powers
Photo (above): Tyrone Bradley      

The Red Bulletin brings you the best of South African adventure photography, where art blurs with adrenalin and the path less trodden is where you learn the most 
Tyrone Bradley
Tyrone Bradley

TYRONE BRADLEY

Who: Gielie Moller
Where: Hakskeen Pan, Northern Cape


This desert shoot – a collaboration between photographer Tyrone Bradley and driver Gielie Moller in his 1974 5.4-litre V8 Chevrolet Kommando – took place during Kalahari Desert Speedweek. One of the challenges was balancing four different light sources: for instance, if the headlights were on too long, the desert was overexposed.

“Most of my work is more like reportage,” says Bradley. “This was a chance to slow things down and be in total creative control. In a world that’s moving so fast, it was fitting to be able to escape the city, head out to the desert for three days and, in a cold, quiet setting, take time to bring an idea to life.”

South African adventure photography

“Sean ‘animal’ maasch is 54 and dreams bigger than ever. His new project is a 30m compression powerhouse thought to be in the realm of 9a+” Jacques van Zyl

© Jacques van Zyl

Jacques van Zyl
Jacques van Zyl

Jacques van Zyl

Who: Sean ‘Animal’ Maasch
Where: Main Crag, Oudtshoorn


“Last year, I was on my way to shoot and climb in the USA, and I asked Sean Maasch to train me up,” says outdoor photographer Jacques van Zyl. “I never got to the States, but the training didn’t stop. Sean is 54 and dreams bigger than ever. His new project is a 30m compression powerhouse thought to be in the realm of 9a+. If Sean sends the route, he’ll join an elite few who have climbed that grade aged over 50.”

South African adventure photography

“Two-Chain’s wheels made a funny noise from the speed, and goat-sh-t dust floated free from the surface. Every now and then, he’d let in a cheeky 5-0 grind” Jansen van Staden

© Jansen van Staden

Jansen van Staden
Jansen van Staden

JANSEN VAN STADEN

Who: Two-Chain
Where: Indigo Skate Camp, KwaZulu-Natal


Set against the backdrop of the Valley of a Thousand Hills, Indigo Skate Camp boasts a perfect concrete bowl with granite coping. “It’s steep and unforgiving,” says skateboard photographer Jansen van Staden, “but when a kid called Two-Chain started skating it, our jaws dropped. I’ve never seen anyone go that fast in a bowl. Who’d have thought that in this rural landscape, skateboard talent would have space to grow.”

South African adventure photography

“The wave was coming down with too much energy. All he could do was try to ride it out” Sacha Specker

© Sacha Specker

Sacha Specker
Sacha Specker

Sacha Specker

Who: Frank Solomon
Where:
Dungeons, Hout Bay

“Shooting Dungeons is all about expecting the unexpected,” says surf photographer Sacha Specker of SA’s premier big-wave spot. “There’s so much going on, you have to be prepared. On most days, there’ll be cameras capturing the action from a number of boats. To get unique content, look for moments when you’re far from the rest of the pack. Frank Solomon got into this wave before it was flaring. He had a smooth roll-in, but when he got to the bottom, it stood up fast, caught up to him and was coming down with too much energy. All he could do was try to ride it out. He did incredibly well to hold on as long as he did.”

South African adventure photography

“We got some good safety shots, but I know what Stu’s capable of, so I asked him to crank one a bit more“ Wayne Reiche

© Wayne Reiche

Wayne Reiche
Wayne Reiche

WAYNE REICHE

Who: Stuart Loudon
Where: Plettenberg Bay

Action photographers are known for asking their subject for “just one more”, but ambition must be tempered by an awareness of safety. As a BMX rider for 17 years, Wayne Reiche knew his friend Stuart Loudon had more to give at this set-up in Plettenberg Bay. “We got some good safety shots, but I know what Stu’s capable of, so I asked him to crank one a bit more,” says Reiche. “He snapped this cracker and I got the timing spot on.” 

South African adventure photography

“This is what adventure photography is about: having the creative dexterity to make a world of fleeting moments and changing light work for you, mixed with an unfailing willingness to be part of the action” Kelvin Trautman

© Kelvin Trautman

Kelvin Trautman
Kelvin Trautman

Kelvin Trautman

Who: Lewis Pugh
Where:
Mer Méditerranée, Monaco

“This was Lewis Pugh’s first swim on his Seven Seas expedition in 2014,” says adventure photographer Kelvin Trautman. “He swam 10km in Monaco to highlight the over-commercialisation and over-fishing of the Mediterranean. When Lewis swam close to this cruise liner, I hopped into the water to try to get him, the empty sea and the hugely intimidating liner in one shot. I swam with him for a few hundred metres while shooting. This is what adventure photography is about: having the creative dexterity to make a world of fleeting moments and changing light work for you, mixed with an unfailing willingness to be part of the action.” 

South African adventure photography

“A surf photographer has very little control over his subjects – ocean or surfer – so hard-earned experience and always being ready are critical” Alan van Gysen

© Alan van Gysen

Alan van Gysen
Alan van Gysen

Alan van Gysen

Who: David Richards
Where: Praia do Tofo, Mozambique


For a tropical African surf paradise, look no further than Mozambique. And surf lensman Alan van Gysen likes to get as close as possible to the action. “Shooting from the water means both you and the viewer experience it all in the first person,” he says. “What I did differently here was to sit on a bodyboard for elevation. A surf photographer has very little control over his subjects – ocean or surfer – so hard-earned experience and always being ready are critical.”

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05 2016 The Red Bulletin

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