Red Bull Illume Finalist Ryan Taylor Reveals Story Behind Cranberry Bog Wakeboarder Photo

Ryan Taylor

Words and photo by Ryan Taylor

A few years ago I got a phone call out of the blue from good friend and producer Adam Buck who had been producing the Red Bull Winch Sessions web series along with director Alex Horner. He had an opportunity to winch a wakeboarder through a field of cranberries, but there was a catch--we needed to leave that night.

The berries were to be harvested in the next few days and our small window of opportunity was getting smaller and smaller. So we packed up all of our things and hit the road. The next morning we arrived at the field excited to start shooting, but since we were arriving blind it took us a minute to get used to our surroundings. As we pulled our rider through the field I realized that I really wanted to get above the rider and look down on the path that he carved through the sea of red. Unprepared and under equipped, I tried several things from ladders to a monopod but nothing was quite getting the look that I wanted. I knew I had to get higher and directly above to achieve the exact shot I wanted. At the end of the day, the shoot was a success but everyone involved agreed that being so rushed didn’t do the shoot justice. We knew we had to go back.


Two years went by and preparations were made for a second shoot. This time we brought a bucket lift that allowed us to get up and over the cranberry bog. Making that overhead shot a priority, we decided to shoot it the first night. Since cranberries are harvested in the late fall, the weather is often cold and gloomy, which was very much the case on this day. We woke up to a blanket of snow on the ground and a thin layer of ice over the water, so we waited until sunset to start shooting. Luckily for us the overcast day turned into an amazing sunset as soon as we began shooting. Shooting from the lift, I directed wakeskater Ben Horan through the line that was needed to make the shot. It took a few tries, but on the last one Ben snapped a little ollie in the middle of the carve. It was something I wasn’t expecting, but the result made me super stoked on the shot.

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