Michael Mueller: Extreme Sports, Extreme Conditions

Written by Fredrik Franzén on . Posted in Sports Photography

Bookmark and Share
Profoto Michael Muller Dynafitwinter 01 600x337 Michael Mueller: Extreme Sports, Extreme Conditions

©Michael Mueller

First of all, to avoid any confusion: the Michael Mueller who shot these images is not the same photographer who shoots sharks and invents waterproof Profoto heads. No, this is the Michael Mueller who shoots action sports and brings Profoto strobes with him to a snowy mountaintop.

“I like being outside,” says Michael. “I also like photographing people who are outside, and I find it rewarding to try to capture all the positive things I associate with this: the adrenaline, the forces of nature, the changing weather, the feelings you get when you’re riding your bike or skiing down a slope.”

It all started when Michael was in his early twenties and his snowboarding friends asked him to take some action shots of them. Michael soon realized that not only did he enjoy the assignment; he actually had a knack for taking photographs that inspires people to get out of their seductively comfortable sofas and head out into nature.

Needless to say, the encouraging, positive feel of Michael’s images has made him sought-after amongst brands that want their customers to feel just that – encouraged and inspired. The images in this article were shot during one such assignment, and the client in question was ski mountaineering brand Dynafit.

“The current trend in that particular market is quite realistic photographs, shot with available light only,” says Michael. “But Dynafit wanted something different. They wanted something that felt natural yet extraordinary. So, after discussing it with my agency Pascher & Heinz, I decided to bring strobes with me to the shoot.”

Said and done. Michael and his crew packed an Pro-B3 battery generator, spare batteries, a ProHead and a spare Pro-B Head too, just in case. Then they headed for the slope.

DYNAFIT SPEED TOURING 1 600x800 Michael Mueller: Extreme Sports, Extreme Conditions

©Michael Mueller

75K5539 1 600x399 Michael Mueller: Extreme Sports, Extreme Conditions

©Michael Mueller

Profoto Michael Muller Dynafitwinter 03 600x450 Michael Mueller: Extreme Sports, Extreme Conditions

©Michael Mueller

75K5632 1 600x399 Michael Mueller: Extreme Sports, Extreme Conditions

©Michael Mueller

Profoto Michael Muller Dynafitwinter 05 600x450 Michael Mueller: Extreme Sports, Extreme Conditions

©Michael Mueller

“It wasn’t easy,” says Michael. “The weather conditions were quite rough, and because of the avalanche risk, we had to walk for half an hour in the snow in -20°. As you know, batteries don’t work very well under those conditions, but we solved that problem by putting ski boot heaters next to the generator in the backpack. This actually worked so well that we ended up using only two batteries for the entire shoot.”

Looking at the behind-the-scenes images of frost covered laptops and flash heads, you almost get the feeling that Michael’s shooting day ended in frozen tears. But as the final images are a clear evidence of, Michael got the shots he needed. Even more importantly, the client loved them.

“Yes, the client was super happy and the response from the community has been overwhelming,” says Michael. “Like I said, they usually prefer more natural looking images. My guess is that it worked because we didn’t fake anything. The weather is real. The snow and the wind are real. These are not models and they’re not acting. These are real athletes and they’re really struggling to climb that mountain. And even though we did use artificial lighting, we didn’t create light out of nowhere. We just enhanced what was already there.”

See more of Michael’s stunning images on his website or on his blog.

Profoto Michael Muller Dynafitwinter 04 600x450 Michael Mueller: Extreme Sports, Extreme Conditions

©Michael Mueller

Profoto Michael Muller Dynafitwinter 06 600x399 Michael Mueller: Extreme Sports, Extreme Conditions

©Michael Mueller

Profoto Michael Muller Dynafitwinter 07 600x399 Michael Mueller: Extreme Sports, Extreme Conditions

©Michael Mueller

Profoto Michael Muller Dynafitwinter 08 600x450 Michael Mueller: Extreme Sports, Extreme Conditions

©Michael Mueller

Profoto Michael Muller Dynafitwinter 10 600x400 Michael Mueller: Extreme Sports, Extreme Conditions

©Michael Mueller

Tags: , ,

Trackback from your site.

Comments (25)

  • Interview . Profoto

    |

    [...] A interview i gave for Profoto “The light shaping company ” on their new blog about our Dynafit Shooting. Check the link [...]

    Reply

  • Profoto Blog Sports Photography

    |

    [...] welchen Problemlösungen Action Fotografen arbeiten. Auf dem Profoto Blog gibt es einen sehr netten Behind-The-Scenes Beitrag über ein Ski Shooting von Michael [...]

    Reply

  • Jamie Milnes

    |

    Fantastic images, and great insight into the process. Superb!

    Reply

  • Heron

    |

    Fantastic!!!!
    I would really love to use this equipment!!!

    Reply

  • Pana

    |

    what was the temperature and did the cables from the flash heads curled up
    in to litle curles??? that was the only issue for me,but no problems after.
    ,like my cables all came to be like that after a shoot in northen quebec canada
    -25,the gear has been indistractable,very heavy duty,

    Reply

    • Michael

      |

      I think it was around -17 degrees celcius. we didn`t have any problems with the cables.

      Reply

  • Vusumzi Peter

    |

    i like your work, your composition, cropping style, the use of natural light. Well done mn:-)

    Reply

    • Michael

      |

      Thank you

      Reply

  • Dean Casavechia

    |

    Love the shot of the frozen laptop. Crazy.

    Reply

  • Michael

    |

    Ha ha ha…me too…and we really tried to hide it from the snow but the wind was circuling around us and using each little whole

    Reply

  • masoome

    |

    profoto number 1

    Reply

  • JJ Waller

    |

    Inspirational, cant see even my Norman 200B’s pulling that off.

    Reply

  • Michelle

    |

    Brilliant

    Reply

  • nick muzik

    |

    Awesome pics, did you use just one head for most of the shots?

    Reply

  • Pete Dancewicz

    |

    Michael, sensational work. My ProFotos have never failed me, and I’ve never taken them into the extremes, good to know should I ever go into a cold environment, they will hold.

    Well done.

    PS: did the mac work after it got defrosted?

    Reply

    • Michael Müller

      |

      Hi Pete, unbelievable, but he did survive…;-)

      Reply

  • Scot

    |

    Your pictures are awesome! Would you mind going into more details into your equipment? It seems like you brought more to shoot than listed?

    Also, what camera were you using? Did you have any problems with camera at -17?
    Cheers,
    Scot

    Reply

    • Michael Müller

      |

      Thank you,
      the camera equipement we used was a Hasselblad HD4, with a PhaseOne DigitalBack

      Reply

  • View photos from equestrian sport

    |

    After I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify
    me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time
    a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment.
    There has to be an easy method you are able to remove me
    from that service? Appreciate it!

    Reply

Leave a comment