Every year Red Bull Rampage produces some of the most jaw-dropping images of mountain biking. Here f-stop Icon Scott Markewitz talks us through what is going in his bag for Rampage this year, along with the shots taken with that set up over the years. This year Rampage moves to a new zone with riders building entirely new features and lines. Just like the riders, the photographers will have to navigate the vertigo-inducing terrain to find their angles on these new features. Scott grabs the slimmest of the Mountain Series packs for this, to navigate the Rampage course and still carry a two-body set up.
Words and photos: Scott Markewitz
The Red Bull Rampage is one of the most incredible events in action sports. It brings together the world’s best freeride mountain bikers for a contest and a show of massive jumps and insane riding skills on the rugged terrain around Virgin, Utah. I’ve been to every Rampage since the beginning and it’s definitely one of the shoots I look forward to every year.
Kurt Sorge sends a backflip over the media pack at last year's Rampage, shot with the trusty 70-200. See what else Scott packs below...
One of the challenges of photographing the Rampage is moving around and getting set up to shoot the riders during the event. The venue is spread out and every athlete takes a different line down the mountain. There’s not much time between runs, so you have to have to know where you’re going to shoot and move fast between each run to get in place. I like to have a pack that is large enough to carry everything I need for the event but light and agile when I’m running up and down the mountain between shots. For this year’s Rampage I’m taking a Lotus. It’s a great mid-size pack that fits a Large Pro ICU, but is lightweight and easy to move around with.
On the road to Rampage 2018: Packing 2 full frame pro body DSLRs, 4 lenses, and daily essentials in the 32L Lotus pack to stay agile working shooting among the Utah cliffs of the Red Bull Rampage course
I always have two full size DSLR bodies in my pack, a Nikon D5 for the majority of my work with a Nikon D4S as backup just in case the D5 fails. For lenses I bring a 70-200mm 1:2.8 GII, 24-70mm 1:2.8G, 17-35mm 1:2.8D, 12mm 2.8 Fisheye, a 1.4x converter to extend the range of my 70-200, as well as extra camera batteries, lens cloths and more than enough CF cards for any day of shooting.
The Southern Utah desert is hot, dry and dusty and the sun beats down on you when you’re out there all day. A water bottle is obviously important to stay hydrated, but I also bring a hat, a buff for extra cover and sun block (not shown), as well as a few GU energy gels and chews for a quick energy boost when I need it.
Brandon Semenuk at Rampage 2014, shot with the Scott's 16mm fisheye before it finally bit the dust after many years of abuse in environments like this.
All in: This is how you can pack a set up with two pro-body DSLRs in the smallest Mountain Series pack.
It doesn’t seem possible that the riders can go any bigger or do anything wilder, but at every Rampage the athletes continue to push the realm of what’s possible to new levels. I’m really excited to see what they are going to pull off this year. It’s going to be another incredible event!
Cam Zink doing what most of would want a parachute for, on his way to 2nd place at Rampage 2017, shot with the 12mm fisheye giving a sense of the wide open space the athlete is launching into.