Lucas Gilman on photography, filmmaking, art and a career spent in adventure sports
Adventure photographer and filmmaker Lucas Gilman creates dramatic photos and videos that show adventurous athletes performing some incredible feats. We had a chance to interview Gilman to talk about how he shoots and how he approaches adventure photography.
What's the latest trend in action sports and how has the demand for your kind of work grown and changed in recent years?
The demand for adventure and extreme sports has grown from being a niche industry to going mainstream. The latest trend in action sports is to continue to push the envelope and the limits of what's humanly possible, and you see examples everywhere—even events like ESPN's X Games making prime time television.
How do you work with the athletes themselves?
The relationships with athletes are paramount. In a perfect world you will grow together in your respective fields. It’s a team effort. It has to be a win-win relationship, and there's a lot of trust involved. The athlete is putting their life on the line, and you have to get the shot. There is no "take two"…no second chance.
As I look at the photograph of Cam Brensinger, this is much more than a cool action shot. It's a photo of an incredible landscape with intense action happening within it. As an adventure sports photographer, how much does the landscape itself figure into your photography?
I always start with the background in a photo. The landscape or scene is pivotal in the success of the action shot.
Modern camera gear is so good these days that anyone can take a well-exposed, sharp image right out of the box. Back in the day, camera skills were the first factor to separate photographers. You had to know how to expose and focus. Today, to be successful, you, have to find a truly unique style and work hard to develop strong relationships with clients and athletes.
How does G-Technology gear factor into your workflow?
G-Technology gear is the cornerstone of my digital workflow and backup strategy. As an independent filmmaker and photographer, if I'm not able to deliver content to my clients, I'm not going to get paid. And once you've lost the trust of the client, there is no going back. I like the G-DRIVE ev's and G-DOCK for use in the field. The system allows me to seamlessly download and backup content in the field thus ensuring success.
Your job appears to involve risk for the athlete, as well as the photographer. What are the personal risks?
I've almost been kidnapped in Mexico and held up at knifepoint. And hanging off of ropes on sheer cliffs isn't normal for most people. So, I guess you could say there are some risks involved.
How do you use G-Technology storage solutions to avoid risks with your photographs and videos?
I use G-Technology products for my backup strategy because I know that I'm getting a premium product and that I can trust their enterprise-class drives to be rugged and reliable. I had an image I took on a kayaking expedition in Mexico. It didn't sell for six years. Then it ended up being the opening spread in National Geographic's 125th special edition Explorer's issue. Having a well-organized archive of images that I can access quickly allows me to distribute content quickly and efficiently.
What G-Technology product features are most important for you when you shoot in the field?
I love the new Evolution Series drives, which are super durable and allow me to plug in via USB 3 in the field to backup data. Then I insert the EV drive directly into the G-DOCK back at the studio and offload data using the blazing-fast Thunderbolt connection.
Meet the Evolution Series by G-Technology
It’s no secret that creative workflows have become more fluid—but until now, the way you capture, transfer and share your work has been frozen in time. That’s why we designed the Evolution Series — a swappable, expandable dual-bay storage platform that gives creative pros the speed and flexibility they need today. The hub of the system is the G-DOCK ev™ with Thunderbolt™, plus two stand-alone G-DRIVE® ev USB 3.0 portable drives that each move up to 1TB seamlessly from capture to post to distribution. Use the drives out on location. Then, once back at your workstation, insert the drives into the dock to transfer your work with its ultra-fast Thunderbolt interface. And the whole solution is RAID 0 and 1 configurable. Swap in. Swap out. The evolution starts now at g-technology.com.
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