Sterling Lorence is a legend in his field. Hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, his photographs shot in BC and around the world have inspired countless athletes and photographers alike. To celebrate the return of Red Bull Illume in 2013, we asked Sterling Lorence some questions on photography, his environment, and his experience as a category finalist in the contest.
Your image of Matt Hunter in Red Bull Illume features a location with a maze of trees. Was it a challenge to find the right angle where you could see him through the lens?
The largest challenge by far on this image was finding the best corridor to showcase the action and style best. I've shot into many forests of aspen before and when we finally found this grove, we knew we had found the right combination of focal length from the lens and depth into the forest. You are known for taking full advantage of natural light and the surrounding natural environments in your photographs. Does living in British Columbia have any influence on your photographic style?
Yes, British Columbia has such a wealth of mountainous environments that vary from thick temperate old growth rainforest and up to lunar-like high alpine and then across to dry grassland desert terrain. So much of my work is simply inspired by being in these incredible terrain environments and I love pursuing the execution of shots in these places with the added challenge of being there in the most dramatic lighting experience that nature can drape across the land. By growing up here and spending lots of time roaming around, I certainly was influenced by the varying moods that can be found in all of these amazing landscapes. Creative use of artificial light is awesome and fun, but it often isn't possible when amongst the huge terrain that mountain bikes can take us. You shoot a multitude of sports and subjects, but Mountain Biking features most heavily in your work. What intrigues you about the sport?
I grew up mountain biking on Vancouver's North Shore and it is the sport that I am most passionate about. Mountain biking is a relatively young sport and hadn't been overly photographed as I decided to pursue a career within it. There was opportunity to evolve alongside it and I have been lucky to be in that position. To me, having a close connection to the sports that you choose to photograph is an important ingredient to being able to produce quality evoking images. You were a category finalist in the 2010 edition of Red Bull Illume. How would you describe your experience with the contest?
Personally, I think the coolest part of this contest is simply viewing into the entire pool of photos entered and being completely floored by how much incredible photography exists in our action sports world and the amazing creativity that people push into their photography. There isn't a better place out there to see the overall vibe of the art in action sports photography. I felt that looking at the top 250 shots was as, or more, intriguing than once it reaches the top 50. That is a testament to the caliber of work out there!