Red Bull Rampage is serious. Seriously big, seriously scary and seriously cool. It’s also seriously well documented, with a small army of our sports’ best shooters mining megapixels and frames-per-second like they’re in the midst of the latest desert bonanza. Or perhaps like they just came from striking it rich elsewhere, and pit-stopped at Best Buy on the way—the amount of fancy camera gear thrown into dusty battle at Rampage is staggering.

Multiple helicopters, geared up to shoot a feature film, spin lazy loops overhead, while drones make sure the lower airspace never gets too quiet. Closer to sea level, dozens of broadcast cameras stake their claims atop cliffs and at the bottom of the valley, ready to share the wealth in real-time with viewers around the world. Between them all, overladen Indiana Jones-wannabes with “Media” wristbands scurry from landing to landing, hunching under the weight of too many lenses and too little sleep.

All—as our modern world dictates—to bring you as much content from as close to the action as quickly as possible. I even saw a guy with three cameras slung across his shoulders (each with a different lens, of course) and a GoPro strapped to his head, clicking the shutter with his right hand and live-streaming from the smartphone in his left.

With all of that going on around me, I decided to take a half-step back and slow things down a bit. Perhaps, if I was lucky, get my own take on such a heavily shot event. So, out came my special bag of tricks; a 21-tall stack of Polaroid film and a camera with only two AA batteries and not even enough WiFi to check my email.

This was my first Rampage, and admittedly there was no way I was going to forget about my ‘real’ camera when some of the big moments were going down. But, I also promised myself I’d put the digital camera away here and there, focus on taking everything in and try to tell a story of Rampage with just the stack of blank film I showed up with.

Here is my version of Rampage on polaroids.

Ethan Nell with his signature flatspin, while Bike contributor Justin Olsen gets the shot below.We ripped in and out of the venue each day on some deadly cool shuttle vehicles.T-Mac.Clockwise from top left: To the victor goes the spoils … and the throne; Adolf Silva goes big even in the wind; it takes no small amount of hard labor and water to get this mountain ready for showtime; T-Mac goes upside down through the vision of a whole pile of cameras.Masterful dirt work near the bottom of the line shared by Tommy G and Vinny T.

One big landing, and an even bigger party in the desert.Lacondeguy ejects just moments before potentially stealing the win from Rheeder, but still landed in 2nd on the day.The other members of the podium (Nell and Rheeder) reached the bottom in a more grounded fashion, yet certainly with enough stoke to feel like they were flying.Rheeder and Mom; the moment she was certain her son was safe, and a champion.
Consider it sent.

Photos and Words: Satchel Cronk

Find Bike’s full, hi-fi coverage of Rampage here.