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Margus Riga: The Interview

11th, May 2017   |   TAGGED: Margus Riga
Earlier this season we launched the Sombrio X Margus Riga Forest Collection - an artist collaboration with B.C. mountain bike photographer Margus Riga. We caught up with Margus to get an inside look at life behind the lens. 

How did you get into photography? Do you have any formal training?

I feel as though I am a visual person, and have always been attracted to the photographic process and the impact of the single image from ever since I can remember. My first formal training was an “Intro to photography” course I took in high school. This taught me the basics, and I haven’t look back since.

What was your first camera?

The first camera I ever took a photo with was one of those mini Kodak cameras that fits in the palm of your hand and you could buy eight packs of flashes to plug in. I believe it was called the Kodak Instamatic. My first REAL camera that I could control the settings on was a hand-me-down Nikon F401 that my dad gave me.

What made you want to become a bike photographer?

I don’t think I ever wanted to become a “bike photographer” specifically. I knew that I loved photography, but I equally loved riding bikes and the adventures it allowed me. At one point, I just started bringing my camera with me on my adventures and started sending my shots away to sponsors and magazines, and the rest is history. My photography just became a part of what I did.

How would you describe your photographic style?

Immersive. I always try and portray the feeling of what it would be like to be the athlete doing the things they do in the environment they are in. Sometimes I can show this by taking the rider deep in the action, by shooting very close to the rider. Other times, I take elements of their surroundings, like dirt, and eerie light, and make sure it is first and foremost in the composition of the photograph.

What inspires you?

All art inspires me. I constantly wander through visual imagery any chance I get. Whether it be magazines, the web, galleries, or images on Instagram. It doesn’t have to be sport either. I love fine art and fashion photography just as much as sport photography.

What grinds your gears?

When I trust other people like trail guides to show me where the best place and time to shoot is. This never works. Sorry trail guides…you know the trails, but you don’t know what I like.

What’s in your gear bag for a typical day of shooting in the mountains?

One camera body, a 70-200mm, 20mm, 16mm fisheye, and 50mm lenses.

What’s the one piece of photo gear (other than your camera) that you just can’t live without?

My 70-200mm lens. I probably shoot with this lens more than all my other lenses combined.

Favorite place to shoot?

Any place I haven’t yet been to.

What has been your scariest experience while shooting mountain biking so far?

Dropping a $2500 lens off a cliff and watching it smash into a thousand pieces before my eyes. That sucked, both for my shoot which was a long way from home and my wallet.

Black and white or colour?


Film or digital?

I like the look and craft of making a film print, but digital just works for the type of photography I do. Film is a slow, long process, usually involving just one photo. Digital allows me to acquire many images quickly, and that is required of me with the type of shooting I do, which is fast-paced commercial work.

Coffee or beer?


Shooting on trails, weather conditions can be a key element to getting a successful shot. How do you handle unpredictable factors?

Shooting outdoors is always unpredictable. That’s why I like it so much…it’s always different and always challenges me to come up with new ways at looking at what I shoot.

Any words of wisdom for aspiring photographers?

Just get out there and shoot. It doesn’t matter what equipment you have. You just have to have the motivation and passion to shoot images…period. Everything else just falls into place. Also, with so many images flooding the world through social media, and basically everybody being a self-professed photographer these days, you need to try and get shots that you can’t just go out and get with an iPhone. Use flashes, long exposures, hard-to-get angles…anything that will distinguish yourself from the herd.
For more information on Margus Riga and the collaboration check out the Sombrio X Margus Riga Forest Collection

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