The Spirit of Ironman large format Polaroid project

Nov 10, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

The Spirit of Ironman large format Polaroid project

Nov 10, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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The Ironman Kona Championship is one of the toughest races on the planet. With over 200km of swimming, cycling and running, it’s pretty challenging. The strong wind, lava, and high temperatures add extra risks. Some people just like to really push themselves, I suppose. The same is true of photographers. Like Czech photographer Dan Vojtech.

Working with Red Bull Photography, Dan chose to photograph the Kona event with a large format Polaroid camera, and the results are quite intriguing. Dan shot the Polaroid camera alongside a Nikon D810 with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens to confirm lighting and exposure. He tried to create the exact framing between the two cameras at the same distance for comparisons.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=or0u1fAdDds

Dan faced several challenges throughout the project. There’s the size and weight of large format gear for a start. Hawaii’s also pretty hot and humid. In fact, the humidity even threatened the whole project. Along with the heat, it resulted in a lot of fogged up lenses, and even affected mechanical parts in the old large format camera.

For a single shoot that would be a lot of work, but Dan was photographing 9 competitors during the race. With minimal time during their prep phase, Dan only had the opportunity to take one shot. From composing to developing and fixing a single shot could take up to 18 minutes. Your subject’s already left before you’ve even seen it.

bike_transition_745

It’s an interesting project, and the animated gifs showing the transitions between the two shots is pretty cool. It’s difficult to say which is “best” as it’s all really subjective. Personal preference. But, I’m still kinda leaning toward the Polaroid myself.

You can find out more about the project on Dan’s website or at Red Bull Photography.

How about you? Which were your favourite shots in the project? do you prefer the Polaroids over the more modern DSLR? Do you still shoot Polaroids? Only Polaroids? or digital, too? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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2 responses to “The Spirit of Ironman large format Polaroid project”

  1. Chris Hutcheson Avatar
    Chris Hutcheson

    I’m assuming this was done using Impossible Project materials, am I right? Or did the lucky devil have a stash of old Polaroid product?

  2. Mark Robertson Avatar
    Mark Robertson

    And just a quick correction to your text, the images were shot on a large format camera (Linhof) with a Polaroid back, a small but important difference to shot with a large format Polaroid camera!