What Does Pain Look Like?

I have to be honest. I’ve been photographing crossfitters for some time now and I never understood why they dropped on the floor as soon as a workout finished.

A few days ago I was introduced to a lovely benchmark exercise on the assault bike, with the suggestive nickname "Pain Test". It consists of going as fast as possible for 3 min, for max Kcal. Needless to say that, despite my ridiculous result, as soon as I dismounted I felt like I was going to collapse and had to sit down for a while!

In CrossFit (and interval training in general), the pain is proportional to the intensity and the intensity is the key to progression. Hence the saying “no pain, no gain”!

Photographically, I’ve always been drawn to the intensity of CrossFit because it adds a lot of drama to the shots. And I find this double journey of shooting and experiencing it more interesting every day!

The CrossFit Games Open - Cátia

Last, but certainly not least, Cátia.

I’m not sure what best characterizes her, a heart of gold or a will of steel, but if you’re one of us who can call her a friend, you have one more thing to be grateful of.

(Also, she looks great in front of the camera, but that’s just an extra.)

Workout 19.5

33-27-21-15-9 reps for time of:

65-lb. thrusters, Chest-to-bar pull-ups

Time cap: 20 minutes

I did my own little workout during this shoot, climbing up and down a stepladder, hauling a 70-200 mm on a Canon 5D Mk IV.

Not that I wanted to punish myself, but in order to "clean up” the background I had to get extreme angles, from above and from below.

The CrossFit Games Open 2019 - Andreia

Andreia is the next one up in my photo series of athletes in the CrossFit Games Open 2019, at AlphaDen CrossFit.

I’m a big fan of this coach's classes! Her "tough love" both in class and in competition (took several no reps from her during the Open!) remind me that training is not just the act of moving the body, but setting and meeting goals, big or small.

And because there’s nothing like teaching by example, when competing she shows that focus, resolve and excellence are not words, but actions.

Specifically, these photos show a wod (workout of the day) where the athletes had to complete the following list of exercises, as fast as possible (up to 10 min):

60 m dumbbell overhead lunge, 50 dumbbell box step-ups, 50 strict handstand push-ups, 60 m handstand walk

The CrossFit Games Open 2019 - Coach T

“What was that?!..."

“That”, was Tiago going by, leaving everyone behind!

Tiago Lousa (Coach T) is an absolute machine when it comes to endurance and speed wods. He is also the engine behind Alpha Den CrossFit, having co-founded it almost 3 years ago and leading it by showing what a true athlete should be.

Over the years, I’ve developed my photography skills just by trying to keep up with him. After “321 GO!” I know there will be no mercy, as he devours the reps, going relentlessly from one exercise to the other, until the word is done. You blink, you missed it!

The CrossFit Games Open 2019 - Phelps

The CrossFit Games Open 2019 is over (the first one that is, because exceptionally there is going to be another later on this year, but that’s not why I’m writing this).

I had the opportunity to shoot a lot of pictures at CrossFit Alpha Den (when I wasn’t doing the wods myself) and ended up with a few small series that I’m really happy with, showcasing athletes that I truly admire. Like my dear friend Nuno “Phelps”, who's the very definition of a CrossFit athlete - focused and competitive, but always ready to support everyone around him.

Nuno is one of the most experienced crossfitters at the box, and a long time athlete before that, with a wealth of knowledge that he is always happy to share.

Finding Order in Chaos

There are few things I enjoy more than going to a sports event with my camera in hand, free to capture whatever I like.

And although I can never turn away from a classic action shot, I also find myself looking for a more abstract type of scene, where the athlete, never ceasing to be the key element, shares some of his/her spotlight with other aspects of the image, like the landscape and the equipment.

While organising my recent photos from Crossfit and OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) competitions, I also found that by grouping certain images the resulting sets (of 3 photos) became much more interesting than the individual photos.
This is common practice in the editorial world, but nonetheless fascinating. It’s like finding order in chaos.

 

Wild Challenge Cascais 2016 - Obstacle Course Racing

 

Wild Challenge Cascais 2016 - Obstacle Course Racing

 

Wild Challenge Cascais 2016 - Obstacle Course Racing

 

Loures Urban Obstacles 2016 - Obstacle Course Racing

 

Wild Challenge Cascais 2016 - Obstacle Course Racing

 

Manz Cross Games 2016 - CrossFit

 

Manz Cross Games 2016 - CrossFit

Lifestyle, Travel & Photography

One of the upsides of being a people photographer, is that you get to meet very interesting people, like Karl-Heinz Limberg, who I photographed last year at the stunning Palácio Belmonte, in Lisbon.
His interest in travel, fitness and great atitude towards life in general made us friends on the spot!

He recently featured an interview with me in his lifestyle blog, talking about photography and some of the life decisions that lead me to becoming a professional photographer.
If you are at all interested in lifestyle, fitness and travel, you should definitely check out what he is up to.

 

        Karl-Heinz Limberg at Palacio Belmonte

Incredibly Sweet Photography

(Forgive the pun, couldn’t resist it…)

No Ponto (Portuguese expression meaning something like “just right”) is a project that aims to thoroughly document Portuguese confectionery, and Cristina Castro, the mastermind behind the project, invited me to make the images of the individual sweets that will be published in a book series.
For more than a year now, we have been gathering and photographing Portugal's sweets, which will be distributed throughout several books and this year the very first one comes out: sweets from Northern Portugal.

Besides the books, the project lives online, with a blog - On The Road - that describes the travels and a number of videos with interviews on the website No Ponto and Youtube channel. You can also follow this adventure on the Facebook and Instagram accounts.

I can hardly wait to see and share the final results, but meanwhile, here is a sneak peek...

 

Clarinhas de Fão - Esposende, Portugal

Clarinhas de Fão - Esposende, Portugal

Melhor Bolo de Chocolate do Ribatejo, Portugal

Melhor Bolo de Chocolate do Ribatejo, Portugal

 
Valencianos - Valença do Minho, Portugal

Valencianos - Valença do Minho, Portugal

Especialidades Clautrais - Santo Tirso, Portugal

Especialidades Clautrais - Santo Tirso, Portugal

 
Foguetes - Amarante, Portugal

Foguetes - Amarante, Portugal

 
Amores de Viana - Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Amores de Viana - Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Rochedos - Alfândega da Fé, Portugal

Rochedos - Alfândega da Fé, Portugal

 
Rebuçados da Régua - Peso da Régua, Portugal

Rebuçados da Régua - Peso da Régua, Portugal

Life In a Box - Photographing CrossFit Athletes

“I have a good feeling about this”. That’s what I thought when I walked into a CrossFit box for the first time.
I was looking for a theme for a sports related photography project and had found it!

 

 

CrossFit has all the ingredients that I was looking for: the intensity, the interaction between people and the raw quality of the environment and the equipment that enhances the emotional charge of the images.

Also, I had a free pass to shoot, thanks to the amazing friendliness of the instructors and members at Ironbox, who have been putting up with me for the past few months!

 

I had seen (and felt) some really strong fitness programs before, but this was a whole new level, mostly because of the variety and high intensity of the workouts.

“What is CrossFit?” is answered in many articles all over the internet, including this one (in Portuguese), on the In Shape website. But I prefer to use photographs to show the dedication, the intensity, the sacrifice and the power of these athletes.

You can see more of my CrossFit photos in this gallery - Life In a Box - which will be updated as I go along.

Vanessa Pereira - The girl behind the athlete

 

It was a great day, the one I met up with Vanessa for a cup of coffee to discuss “making a few pictures for her”.

Not only did the (5x) triathlon national champion give me total creative freedom, but she also agreed to let me turn this into a longer project, with several sessions in different situations, that would illustrate the girl besides the athlete. An irresistible challenge for me!

Over the next few weeks, expect to see a lot of triathlon photos both here and on my social media. So get ready!

 

Dozens of climbers light up the Matterhorn first ascent route

This video shows what can be achieved when a company has the right vision and spares no effort in showing it. In this case, Mammut decided to prepare for the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Matterhorn’s first ascent, by creating an epic image.

The Matterhorn is one of the most famous peaks in the Alps, with 4478m, and in the photo, the red headlamps of dozens of climbers illuminate the route that the Edward Whymper expedition took back in 1865.

Btw, if you would like to have their image as your desktop wallpaper, they were nice enough to make it available here.

How to get photos from the internet (without hurting the photographers…)

How to get photos from the internet (without hurting the photographers…)

In one way or another, we all create, reproduce and publish content on a regular basis, be it on a blog, Facebook, a forum, etc. and we need images to illustrate them.
So we can go ahead and make the image we need or we can look for it… on the internet.

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