National Geographic “Extreme Photo of the Week”

National Geographic has chosen one of my recent windsurfing images, which was shot while on assignment with Red Bull, for their “Extreme Photo of the Week” gallery on the Adventure page of their website. This image of top windsurfer Levi Siver (see above) was shot near Gold Beach, Oregon while hanging out of a helicopter. Levi broke the world record for the highest wind surfing jump and he used an extremely accurate measuring device to gauge just how far above the water he was able to get.

Below is the text from National Geographic:

Windsurfing on the Pistol River, Oregon

“I remember being really cold, but I wanted to get a few more moments in with the helicopter before the sun set,” says windsurfer Levi Siver, who was shooting for the upcoming film WindBoost. “I felt very blessed sailing late into the sunset having that beautiful canvas behind me.”

Located a six-hour drive from Portland, this coastal spot is always windy and picks up swell from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. “It’s a pretty remote place, but windsurfers from around the world have been coming here for decades,” Siver says.

“Using the wind as your energy, you end up riding five times as many waves as you would surfing,” notes Siver, who lives in Maui. “It used to bother me that mainstream America is so out of touch with how progressive the level of windsurfing is now. But popularity means more crowds, which equals less fun.”

Getting the Shot

“I shot over 800 images in an hour while in the helicopter,” says adventure photographer Michael Clark, who got this image while on assignment for Red Bull. “With such high winds, the helicopter gets buffeted around quite a bit. Just keeping the windsurfer in the frame can be difficult at times.”

A veteran of photographing from a helicopter, Clark worked closely with the pilot. “Cody, of Apex Helicopters, was an excellent pilot and was able to get us down low, only ten feet off the water, and moving at the same speed as the windsurfer.”

As Siver aimed for the highest windsurfing jump, Clark kept shooting. “It was incredible to see him go to work, and his windsurfing abilities were absolutely incredible to watch,” Clark says.

Clark photographed with a Nikon D4 and a Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm, f/2.8G ED VRII lens.

My thanks to Red Bull for yet another amazing assignment, to Levi Siver for being such a stellar athlete and a fun human being and to National Geographic for putting the word out there. If you would like to see more images from this photo shoot with Levi Siver please check out my Red Bull Windboost gallery on my website. Look for a full report on this assignment in my upcoming Summer 2013 Newsletter.

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