River surfing on the Eisbachwelle Munich and surfing in the Eisbach at the Canon commercial shoot there. Surfing in Munich was completely unreal for me many years ago and when you think of Munich, the first thing that comes to mind is the Oktoberfest, the Viktualienmarkt, the mountains and Bayern Munich, but with surfing I rather associate the North Sea in Germany. After moving to Munich, a visit to the Eisbachwelle was on the agenda, but never really made it. It was only a special project with Canon that brought me to Munich’s Eisbach – to go river surfing and it was a great project with many beautiful impressions.
Behind the scenes of the advertising shoot with Canon
Now that the “Come and See” campaign with Canon has been launched, after almost six months I may also tell you about the special day at the Munich Eisbach and the experiences with the surfers and the team of Canon, the various photographers and video team. The project – without anticipating it – was absolutely worthwhile and shows what is possible in this day and age with photography, videos and websites.
If you drive past the Eisbach in Munich as a visitor, using the S18 train on public transport, you see a few people standing on the railing of the bridge and looking into the river.
A few surfers walk by with thick wetsuits and some tourists look irritated. Surfers in Munich? It’s true – and the two waves near the English Garden are now absolutely famous and the perfect location for a special photo shoot or river surfing.
When I arrived at the Eisbach in Munich on this day in April, everything looked completely different. Where there are usually ten to twenty visitors during the week, there were suddenly more than a hundred people. The bridge railing looked like a large workplace.
Anyone who, like me as a blogger, has already worked with various television crews and radio teams, is usually in contact with three to four employees for the production – here it was felt fifty people and incredible equipment.
The bridge railing was peppered with many monitors, next to it many cable harnesses and radio stations, in the background there were trucks with more equipment and the first small “golf cars” came straight towards me. Employees positioned large light balloons for a pleasant light in the evening and the simulation of the well-known moonlight, in addition there were mobile cameras and large cinema equipment at the “Canon Come and See” at the Eisbach in Munich.
Staff could be seen with the familiar steady-cams, a camera was moved across the Eisbach on a long floating arm, and sitting on the sidelines was Samo Vidic, who was filming some tips for Canon’s social networks, excerpts of which are also available as YouTube clips, giving tips on how to get more out of your images.
Samo Vidic as a photographer – known from Red Bull and as a Canon Explorer.
Samo Vidic is known for many of his famous action photos and as a Red Bull photographer for Red Bull Formula 1, Red Bull AirRace or also Red Bull Art-of-Motion among others and at the same time working as a CANON Explorer and responsible for the photos of “Come and See”.
Samo gave after a short acquaintance then also directly some tips on how to make better action photos and what you should pay attention to. In addition to good equipment with good lenses, the most important thing is to get a feel for the situation and for the sequence of events.
A shutter speed of 1/500 seconds or even faster is recommended, choose continuous focus tracking with AI Servo or Servo AF, and most importantly take lots of photos.
Samo uses for the photos with the river surfers at the Eisbach e.g. his Canon EOS-1 Dx Mark II with 14 frames/second and it is really fascinating to hear how he prepares for it and that he is not afraid to go all the way to the action for the perfect picture, no matter if it is freezing cold, going up in the air or hovering in front of the wave at the Eisbach like now at night.
It is simply important to be directly in the “action” to also convey this feeling to the viewers and this succeeds in many pictures of Samo just perfectly. There are also many examples of this on Samo’s website.
Samo also immediately gave an insight on his smartphone, how he imagines the photos, what he hopes for and how close the perfect light mood is only in the day. Within a few minutes, the surf shots have to be taken on the water on the way to the Eisbach, the video sequences have to be recorded almost in parallel, and if it doesn’t work out, everything is restarted again the next day. The only problem – the schedule in river surfing is limited…
Important in all these actions is always a team around Samo, which keeps the overview and gives him the opportunity, as on this day, to concentrate on the photo and to exchange with the surfers in advance again and again. Where does the surfer go, how does he attack the wave while river surfing and what are the moments that are especially important for Samo.
Since this is not just a purely promotional photo, but at the same time interactive content is to be launched for the website, clips are to be shot for YouTube and moments are to be captured for the social media channels, it is necessary to divide the shooting location exactly as in river surfing.
What could be photographed from different positions in a promotional image is of course not possible when shooting with a 360° camera. There, you would see the props in the background directly and have to rebuild the set more often in between.
River surfing in Munich at the Eisbach – the surfers Tao, Karina and Alex
In order to be able to successfully shoot an appropriate river surfing campaign, Canon directly chose the people who know their way around the Eisbach and have been part of the regular Munich “river surfers” and river surfers for years. For Tao, Karina and Alex, the Eisbach and river surfing have become an integral part of their lives. Whether you meet surfers at the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean or as in the shots at the Eisbach in Munich – the relaxed impression and the absolutely pleasant mentality is automatically present.
If you talk to the river surfers and learn what has become of a “random” visit to the Eisbach in Munich in recent years, can often be compared to a blogger. You start a small blog and at some point you are everywhere and report from fashion shows in New York, from great hotels in Miami or are at a great advertising shoot while river surfing for Canon.
For Karina as a surfer it also started five years ago with a 50 EUR surfboard from the flea market to try it once and today she is European champion in surfing and is supported by various brands and has not only found a lot of fun in river surfing at the Eisbach, but with Alex also her partner at the same time.
Alex is one of the top 10 river surfers in the world and also has a big soft spot for photography and has previously worked as a photographer and now makes the waves and rivers unsafe while river surfing around the world. Of course, it looks particularly interesting when the two of them share a wave at the Eisbach while river surfing.
The third in this group is Tao, whom I Munich practically everyone knows and who was so infected by the virus “surfing” after various surfing experiences worldwide that he could not stop and is one of the co-founders of the Eisbach surfing scene in Munich.
As European champion in the stationary wave (which will be back at Munich Airport in September), he has built up a lot of respect and is also an absolute cheerful soul. Besides surfing at the Eisbach and various other competitions around the world, he is co-founder of “Big Ding”, which ships professional surfer kits worldwide and has caused a stir with “Lost and Drowned”, in which he shows items that people have lost in the Eisbach.
Now you can surely understand how much fun such a production is when you meet many creative minds from CANON, surfers who really live out their passion in river surfing and you have a special location to go with it.
River surfing in Munich – Impressions of the commercial shoot
For me, besides the great location for river surfing and the interesting setting, especially the conversations with Samo Vidic, as well as the surfers and the countless employees of Canon were an inspiration – on the one hand for my blog, but also for my YouTube channel.
Especially when you are with creative people, as I am often with the large Instagram community in Berlin, you get a lot of new ideas and thoughts yourself again and see many things and contexts quite differently.
You get the first information about how the finished product should look in the fall and of course you also know – there are still five months until September, but it’s often hard to imagine yourself how much work is involved. But when you see the finished product, as well as the backstage videos, you really have the feeling that you were there.
What you can do today with a digital SLR camera, such as the Canon 80D, is simply incredible and also always reassuring that even such elaborate productions are produced with “everyday products”. I have also used my Canon 80D several times for my blogposts and YouTube videos and find especially the kit lens very good (even for beginners).
If you are a blogger and blog reader and you are always thinking about how to make some videos or blogposts even better from the lighting or from the setting while river surfing, you will find on the site of the Come and See campaign in addition many tips and settings for portrait shots, zoom action photos or even night shots that you can easily implement yourself.
For me it was a very interesting day with the different staff members, the surfers river surfing and also the responsible people from Canon, like John Maurice (Lead Product Marketing Specialist) and Hin Pang (Consumer Product Specialist), as well as Barry Christie, Tim Rijpert and Serge Teulon, who were responsible for the production and campaign.
I’m already looking forward to introducing you to many great Canon products in the future, as well as giving you some behind-the-scenes insights. I’m sure there will soon be more reports about the new Canon 5D Mark IV and various beautiful lenses that I also use for my productions…