Pavel Alekhin: Capturing the moment

Photographer Bartek Wolinski shares his secrets behind shooting sequence
Pavel Alekhin © Daniel Kolodin/Red Bull Content Pool
By Kris Kurowski

The FMB World Tour season provides us with many incredible top-to-bottom runs at contests worldwide. The variety of events creates an awesome fusion of action-sports madness, attracting eager photographers who try their upmost to capture riders in that perfect moment. Every now and then an athlete will stomp a single trick that will grab us all in shock and disbelief. These are the moments that stay with us when the season draws to an end.

Year upon year – we see the fruits of their efforts, most of which are sadly forgotten as soon as they disappear from our news feed on Facebook. But some break free of this social media black hole and become something of an iconic memory of the season that was. There is one particular style of photo that never ceases to amaze us – sequence shots! And last year there was one rider in the scope of every lens: Pavel Alekhin ‘Vishnevij’.

So, how difficult is it to capture those precious air-time moments when everything melts together to create the perfect shot? FMB photographer Bartek Wolinski is no stranger to sequence shots. According to him, “you need to know the course, the riders and find the ideal spot to catch the atmosphere and scale of the trick. The best sequences are of combos – tricks that you simply cannot catch in a single shot because they are too complex. That is why Pavel is the perfect candidate. His tricks are so complex, sometimes even a sequence can’t catch the whole manoeuvre.“

Every photo has a story, here are the stories behind Bartek’s hottest sequence shots of Pavel from three FMB World Tour events.

Pavel Alekhin flip whip on snow
Pavel Alekhin flip whip on snow © Bartek Wolinski

Backflip double tailwhip
Bartek: I had to pull out the big guns to catch this sequence. The nighttime fog made it hard but I set up a couple of speedlights and my high amped lamp with a self-charging battery every 0.3 seconds – perfect for sequences. I walked back up the course to capture the atmosphere and this was the outcome.

Pavel: This was a crazy jam session. I love to ride in snow! That final booter was massive and because it was a one jump jam session I could take my brake off which let me spin my bike easier. The crowd had me amped so I didn't even try a single flip whip, I went straight for the double and somehow it worked!

Pavel Alekhin bars to flip whip
Pavel Alekhin's bars to flip whip © Bartek Wolinski

Backflip barspin to barspin to tailwhip
Bartek: At Vienna Air King I always try to capture the architecture and what is going on around the course, so the judging tower seemed like a good place to be. Pavel took Best Trick competitions to a new level that day!

Pavel: Vienna Air King is actually my favorite contest! Last year I prepared this trick specifically for VAK and landed it during my training trip to BCN. Luckily the biggest double at VAK was perfect – it was huge, soft and the lip was spot on!

Pavel Alekhin flip whip at 26Trix
Pavel Alekhin's flip whip © Bartek Wolinski

Backflip barspin to tailwhip
Bartek: When I scoped out the course, I noticed the last kicker had the perfect lip for big airs and combos. It was nice weather, so I put my flashes aside, found the tight angle and let the camera catch the sequence.

Pavel: 26TRIX has a crazy flowy course. However, as I always ride brakeless, it was hard for me to adapt. The last booter was great but a flip barspin wasn't enough, so I added a tailwhip. It worked and I was stoked to finish my run with it.

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