It all started with a dream of catching surfing under Northern lights. For the last three years, the photographers Mats Grimsæth and Emil Sollie made this an idea and in addition they got the world's best surfer, Mick Fanning, all the way from Australia.
Mats Grimsæth and Emil Sollie met for the first time in Portugal four years ago at the surfing camp Lapoint. Both of them are photographers and have a passion for, among other things, documenting and taking pictures of surfing.
Emil had the idea that it might be possible to have a wireless flash in the camerahouse itself. But both thought this could be a challenge , but they decided to test it. They managed to light up a wave with the flash and snapped a cool picture of a surfer. This allowed them to discuss further, they launched the creative mindset and pictured themselves this picture surrounded by tall, steep mountains in Lofoten and northern lights. But would this be possible?
"This was something nobody had ever done before, and we were very unsure if this would be a problem," Mats Grimsæth says.
After looking at this, both became more and more triggered by the idea of aving this dream come true. Grimsæth never got this picture out of his mind, and they both went three years back and forth with discussion about how to do this.
In the end, they decided to do it, and they contacted Redbull as they both worked for them, and presented a pitch for them about the plan they had. Redbull bet on the first hook and started to contact different athletes. Grimsæth and Solli thought nothing more about which surfer they were going to get involved with in this project. So they suddenly got a big surprise when they heard.
The worlds best surfer on the team
Suddenly they got a call that the world's best surfer, Australian Mick Fanning, wanted to join the project. The dream immediately became reality and the dream of catching a picture of this surfer, under the northern lights, surrounded by steep high mountains in Lofoten was now a
"We did not believe it at first, it was completely surreal. I knew who Mick Fanning was, everyone in the surf community knows who it is. The idea that he was willing to travel all the way from Australia to Lofoten to take this picture with us was crazy, says Grimsæth.
Mick Fanning though it was great to be in Norway.
-“Mick was so stoked when he surfed Lofoten's raw winter waves, underneath the red sky and the beautiful sunsets. But most of all, it was also sick for me, who layed in the water taking pictures with Mick Fanning, under a northern light that was strong enough to be able to shoot with a mobile phone”, Grimsæth says.
When they arrived at Lofoten, the tests started. If it was possible at all. They had two weeks to take this picture. The wireless flash in the water was a bigger challenge than expected, as it often disappeared under the water.
- It ended with swarming so hard I could, with the flash high above my head. My head was under the water, in order to get the flash high enough from the water. This made it difficult to meet the moment at hand, and the communication to land between me and Emil who was going to take a picture became a big challenge, "says Grimsæth.
Grimsæth and Sollie spent countless days studying. It was in the middle of november and that’s a hardweather month in Lofoten. The weather and conditions were impossible to predict, and they had little luck in getting all the conditions to vote.
Their plan was to perfect swell / waves, northern lights, and clear weather - which happens rarely in November. After many days of testing, it was technical possible and a big swell was announced. But with the swell the storm also came, which made it impossible to carry out a picture. The storm came, and they began to become impatient and save that this could not be done.
Just over midnight that night it suddenly cleared up. The northern lights were dancing in the sky, and after waiting many days at this moment, the crew were fast in the water. They were not going to miss this moment. Although it was clear sky, it was still cloudy, which made it incredibly difficult with communication. Then they were three pieces that might have to communicate to make it happen. Emil on land with camera, Mick who was going to surf and mats that lay in the water with the flash. Both Sollie and Grimsæth had great trouble watching the surf in the water, which meant that Grimsæth had to take the chance that the flash would hit right. After three hours in the water, we did not yet know if we had a picture when we landed. It was incredibly scary.
The dream coming true.
After looking through the pictures, we found out we´d got it.
- "We were so stoked. It was not quite clear to us that we had made it. Then it was very important for us to find out how we were going to do everything in terms of publishing and everything. We had to hold on to the picture and do everything right."
The entire performance and the trip had been filmed and documented so it became a movie out of it. This movie was posted on social media when the photo was posted. And soon this was spread out worldwide. (Watch at redbull.no)
- This day was a big day for us. It was a big dream come true - it was when we realized we had acamplished something big. All the feedback, and just that it spread all over the world. Absolutely surreal, concludes Grimsæth.