Lights, Camera, Action with the KODAK EKTRA Smartphone
German photographer Lorenz Holder’s trademark shots have become a hallmark of the action sports photography genre. You can recognise Holder’s amazing work as the same elements align in each breathtaking image: stunning location, talented athlete, right trick, perfect moment… Click. We caught up with Lorenz to discuss what he’s been up to, and how the KODAK EKTRA Smartphone helps him during his shoots with his full frame camera…
So tell us a bit about this shoot….
I’m being featured in a short documentary on German TV – the documentary is showing how I shoot with a large-format camera in unusual locations like a gravel pit, capturing an athlete performing a trick – in this case Red Bull BMX rider Paul Thölen. For this shot we built a quarter pipe for Paul to perform a jump and I took the shot from a distance. We also took a few other shots at various other locations around the gravel pit.
So how do you find such unusual locations?
Well, I’m constantly on the lookout for interesting new places. I found the gravel pit on the outskirts of Munich when I was walking around during winter scouting for some new locations for landscape photography. I was totally fascinated by this place and even a gravel pit can look amazing if you go at the right time. I shot a few test pics and it looked so exotic a friend told me, “Hey man, I didn’t know you were in Bolivia!”
Talk us through your process with the large format camera?
Well, it’s quite a process. It takes about five minutes to set everything up before you can even see through the lens. And even then the large format image is flipped – horizontally and vertically. This is where my KODAK EKTRA comes in handy and helps me a lot with my shoots.
How exactly does the EKTRA Smartphone help your creative process?
The EKTRA Smartphone works perfectly for me as a viewfinder. It helps me understand what my final image will look like and it saves me time because I know exactly where to set up the camera and what lens to use, or whether to set up my camera at all. The images it shoots match the final shots from the full frame camera almost exactly, so I know exactly what I’m getting. In particular, I really like playing with the display – it’s really bright so I can see everything outside which is really important for me.
Is it challenging working with athletes?
If you start acting like the boss, and just telling them what to do… it simply won’t work.
For example, I will help shoveling snow and building stuff like half-pipes, and maybe the athlete will help me carry a tripod. You’re a team, and it’s about give & take. It’s all about building those positive vibes and solid team-work!
Any tips for photographers interested in shooting action sports?
Well, I would say it’s important to find a theme… for example the gravel pit. Then it’s important to find rideable spots in that location. From there, you can visualise the final shot – matching the puzzle pieces together. When I head off on a shoot I already have an image in my head. I really don’t like “Let’s see what happens” as the more I prepare, the better my final images are.