Every year Red Bull Rampage produces some of the most jaw-dropping images of mountain biking. f-stop Icon Scott Markewitz breaks down his gear and talks us through what is going in his bag for the Red Bull Rampage, along with some shots taken with that setup over the years.
Words and photos: Scott Markewitz
In 2018 f-stop Icon Scott Markewitz documented the Red Bull Rampage as the Event also moved to a new zone with riders building entirely new features and lines. Just like the riders, the photographers have to navigate the vertigo-inducing terrain to find their angles on these new features. In order to navigate the Rampage course and still carry a two-body setup, Scott grabs the slimmest of the Mountain Series packs for this.
Kurt Sorge sends a backflip over the media pack at last year's Rampage, shot with the trusty 70-200.
The 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
On the road to Rampage 2018: Packing two full frame pro body DSLRs, 4 lenses, and daily essentials in the 32L Lotus camera bag to stay agile working shooting among the Utah cliffs of the Red Bull Rampage course.
One of the challenges of photographing the Red Bull 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.
The Lotus is a great mid-size camera pack that still fits a Large Pro Camera Insert but is lightweight and most importantly easy to move around with. This is especially important on an Event like the Red Bull Rampage.
I always have two full-size DSLR bodies in my camera backpack, a Nikon D5 for the majority of my work with a Nikon D4S as a 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.
Cam Zink doing what most of us 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.
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 sunblock (not shown), as well as a few GU energy gels and chews for a quick energy boost when I need it.
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 in the future.
It’s going to be another incredible event!
Scott Markewitz is recognized as one of the most influential outdoor photographers in the industry. His passion for photography and the outdoors comes through in everything that he shoots, whether it’s action sports, active lifestyle, or environmental portraits. His images have appeared in advertising and promotional campaigns for many well-known outdoor and consumer brands