Disposable cameras were Tristan Shu’s gateway into photography. He then went on to dabble with digital cameras before he embraced his obsession by purchasing his first DSLR. This passion then became his profession, and there was no turning back since. His love for sports, however, has always been present. This dates all the way back to his very first snowboarding season, and he has since been hot on the trails of capturing sports in motion.
For Tristan, the process of capturing an awe-inspiring action image begins even before his hands touched his camera. His passion is to create and part of this lies in conceptualizing and fine-tuning, and finally discussing the concept with the athletes he collaborates with. He also makes sure to draw inspiration from the locations and people he works with.
Tristan made sure from the very beginning that he was always well-equipped no matter the situation. “At first, I was very focused on learning the technique. I found that mastering it is key, so you can focus on what is really important - what you want to tell, have and show in your picture. It is a bit like driving a car, you forget how you actually drive it and your mind is focused on other things. I spent a lot of time online at first reading tutorials. Then, nothing beats practice. Technique becomes one of your many tools that serve your ideas,”
He looks to his camera to perform too, choosing the D810 and D4 for their exceptional FX-format image sensors. “I shifted to Nikon gear three years ago, and Nikon sensors are in a different league. It definitely opened up many more possibilities to me, and some of the photos I made this last three years would not have been possible without them!”
One of his most captivating images was taken in Mont Blanc, one of the highest peaks in Europe, at sunset. “I had the idea of capturing moving sand from a Cappoeira athlete’s kick. I used flashes with gels to match the sunset light with the color of the light on the athlete. It took us several tries to get a good pattern with the sand.”
Tristan’s love for nature is one of his biggest driving forces. As an outdoor fanatic, it was easy for him to reflect the mood and power of a sport through his lens. Beyond that is the chemistry on set. With both the athletes and the location, he takes his time to familiarize himself with the crew.
With creativity at heart, it is Tristan’s playfulness that takes center stage in his images. His ideas allow for every shoot to be different, although the core subject matter boils down to capturing the brilliance of movement in a still. It is the thinking that goes outside the box that gives him variety like no other. With the subject matter of sports photography being traditionally straight edge and focused closely on the physical feats of athletes, his style is a refreshing repertoire that has been added to the mix.
Each of his images tells a story, from a shot with extensive movement to a landscape that seems to sprawl for miles; Tristan has an uncanny nature and dedication to get that picture perfect shot no matter the conditions. As an outdoor photographer, the weather always plays a huge factor into his images, but rather than allow this to dampen his works, Tristan has found that “from constraints comes creativity, I found that even on times when you think that nothing is going the way you want it to, you can create good pictures.”
Tristan Shu has been a professional photographer for the past 10 years. Living in the French Alps, he has earned his name capturing exquisite action, landscape and lifestyle portraits.
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