Just received an exclusive release about Nikon's involvement with the Swatch / Red Bull Extreme Snowboarding event, the photography going on there (using Nikon D1's) and more importantly what's involved in getting those images back and onto a website.

Click here for the official Swatch / Red Bull Extreme
Snowboarding Event website

(check out the gallery)

Here's the press release:

Nikon have always looked beyond the means to shoot great pictures. Since the development of our first transmission scanners we understand the importance of not only 'getting the shot' but 'getting the shot BACK'. In other words a great picture is only great if it meets the deadline.

"Over the next few days (weather permitting) and in freezing conditions, photographers positioned on the near vertical slope of the Bec des Rosses at the Swatch/ Red Bull Extreme Snowboard event in Verbier, Switzerland are shooting digital pictures in rapid bursts with Nikon D1's straight across the valley. Here, a mini production unit edits the images, which are then relayed by ISDN to be displayed on the official event web site."

Lucent WaveLan technology is used to establish a wireless LAN across the 1.5km gap between slope and production centre (two laptops) and to then beam the selected images a further 2.4km down the valley to an ISDN router hidden up on the steel superstructure of the main resort telecabin.

Back on the slope each D1 has a built in IEEE1394 interface, which is connected to a tiny Sony, C1 Vaio computer stowed in the photographer's backpacks.

This 1kg sub notebook PC is loaded with Nikon Capture and FotoWare software which manages the automatic transfer of image files in from the camera and out of the WaveLan PC card to a FTP server in the production area. (It is actually two laptops on an old table hidden behind the judging tent!)

This whole process from camera to production area is automatic meaning that the photographer never has to stop shooting to send his or her pictures.

The Nikon staff even set things up so that in the unlikely event of a computer problem, the system can be restarted by removing the battery and pressing the start button; not the procedure stated in the manual but necessarily simple to carry out on the mountain.

So did it all work? Due to uncertain weather for the weekend, the first heat was brought forward from Saturday to Wed. 22nd March.

The first rider to tackle the extreme slope left the starting gate at 11:00 am and the first pictures were on the web in minutes. Serge Sozonov, Global Beach techno-king and starting gate event photographer had built an automated web server application to post the files up for public view as medium-res images with high-res pay per download for press clients.

The event finished four hours later with the photographer heli-lifted down off the mountain over the next hour. By this time over 600 images from the four D1 photographers had been received, checked and selected for the web.

All images copyright Freeride Association.