Sports photographer Robert Snow captured Flatland BMX pioneer and Red Bull athlete Terry Adams performing tricks in woodlands while illuminated by the light of glowing fireflies.
Extreme Sports and Fireflies
Snow started his sports photography career in college, capturing his friends who surfed professionally. Since then, Snow has worked with numerous brands and athletes across different sports.
“One of the things I love most about sports photography is the beauty in the moments that happen so fast but when stopped with a still frame the athleticism truly be appreciated,” he tells PetaPixel.
The same held true for his shoot with Adams, a gold medallist for the X Games, which feature the best athletes competing in extreme sports. Having seen a picture of fireflies a few years ago, Snow knew he wanted to create something that combines sports and fireflies, which is how his photo project with Red Bull arose.
“The team at Red Bull helped facilitate it by nailing down a concept, athlete, and location,” Snow explains. “Lots of people behind the scenes made this one happen. This wasn’t my first time shooting for Red Bull, they have been a client since 2010 and I’m an ambassador for Red Bull Photography.”
Adams was just as thrilled to be a part of the project.
“There’s a little bit of mystery in Flatland BMX, and the same goes for the fireflies,” he says. “You don’t have to know the science behind either to know you’re looking at something special.”
Finding the Right Shoot Location
Working with the natural world has its considerations — Snow and the Red Bull team had to identify locations where they could capture the fireflies without disturbing them. At the same time, simply finding a good shooting location filled with fireflies didn’t guarantee they will be there later during the night of the shoot.
Environmental changes, like temperature, rain, and light, including moonlight, can all affect fireflies. At one point, as the night was well underway, only a few fireflies were visible, which added to Snow’s anxiety. Luckily, cloud cover appeared, darkening the moon, which in turn encouraged the fireflies to glow up.
“Terry was a true professional, we had a limited window of time to shoot his action and could not move the cameras once our angles were set,” Snow says. “He nailed his action and landed one of the hardest tricks in Flatland BMX during the shoot.”
Image credits: Photos by Robert Snow/Red Bull Content Pool.