Playing with fire
Richard wanted to demonstrate the speeds at which the surfers travel, so he asked them to light rescue flares while riding the waves. "The concept was to bring fire into the game," he says. "I like playing with fire."
A number of elements needed to come together for the perfect shot – wave, action and light – complicated further by Richard travelling in a fast-moving boat close to the water. "The rider had to surf and light the flare, leaving about 45 seconds for the trick," says Richard. What's more, with a limited supply of flares, each with up to a minute's burn time, he had just five minutes to capture his vision. "That puts a bit of pressure on," he laughs. "Luckily the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III shoots at 20fps."
At 16fps with the optical viewfinder and 20fps in Live View mode, the frame-rates on the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III are faster than its predecessor's. "The moment when the board, surfer and flare are in the perfect position is very short – a split second," says Richard. "But if you can shoot at 20fps, boom – you have the shot. When the light of the flare was behind the surfer's body and he was silhouetted against the background glow, it was magical."