There are few things this side of the galaxy that are more impressive than Danny MacAskill, and grey clouds or no grey clouds, a solar eclipse is just about one of them.
Anyway, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, as the old saying goes, and MacAskill did just that this morning, teaming up with the solar phenomenon to produce one of the most memorable mountain bike photos we’ve ever seen.
The breathtaking shot was taken by Rutger Pauw on the rider’s hometown of Skye. Between ‘The Ridge’ and this amazing snap, the tourism board up there must be just about ready to build MacAskill a statue.
It wasn’t just a matter of point and click, either. The concept behind the shoot had been the brainchild of Pauw for some time.
“I saw a picture by a photographer in Austria,” he told Red Bull. “He used a really long lens – a 1000m lens to shoot the moon with a guy on a bike airborne in front of it.
“It’s a bit like the scene in ET: if you can find a point between you and the moon that actually fits that focal length, then it looks amazing.”
When Rutger heard that the biggest solar eclipse in 16 years was about to arrive then, he started counting his lucky stars, and it didn’t take much convincing to get MacAskill on board from there.
The guys started off trying to shoot the eclipse on the Faroe Islands, but for a number of reasons were left frustrated. Cue the move to Skye and a new chapter in the epic photo shoot.
From there, it was just a case of getting the conditions right, finding a cliff to drop that faced the right way, arranging the shot via radio mic, and finally, nailing the jump and the shot first attempt before the eclipse disappeared and Rutger’s flash ran out. Simple.
Of course, in the world of Danny MacAskill, that series of events is probably just a walk in the park. Or a cycle in the park at least.
“I’m happy whatever happens,” Danny said before the shoot. “I think everyone knew roughly how risky this was when they got into it, but that’s part of it.”
It certainly was, but somehow, the rider and the man behind the camera managed to pull off the shot, Rutger timing it all perfectly, and MacAskill stomping the landing despite having a flash in his eyes and no clear landing.
Thanks for yet another insane addition to the biking community Danny. You’re only a few more shots away from sainthood.