Catching up with… Roy Wimmer-Jaglom

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Roy is a world class cameraflyer, freefly coach, film editor and a super-nice guy. His passion for flying, coaching and capturing the beauty of our sport shines through his images and video. We sat down to see what makes him tick…

Meet Roy Wimmer-Jaglom – he just loves to jump
Photo by Raymond Adams

How long have you been flying camera, how many jumps? 

I’ve been cameraflying since I had 200 jumps, had my first set up all ready and got into it as soon as I could within the BPA rules – with the help of many amazing cameraflyers at Langar like Gary Wainwright, Chris Cook and others. I have 4,000 jumps, mostly freefly, FF camera and tandem camera.

What attracted you to cameraflying?  

I wanted to create memories of what we were doing. I think it’s one of the most beautiful things in this world, these people who wanted to fly so badly even though they were not born with the ability to, so we somehow found a way to fly. Now we do so above amazing scenery and clouds and I’m there to capture it so it can exist outside of the fleeting memory of those who experienced it.

Playing #onCloud9

How about freefly coaching? 

I am constantly on a journey of learning and discovering new ways of flying and developing my skills and my ideas. At a certain point when I had enough to contribute to help others on their path, as I was helped, it became natural to try to teach. I love teaching and I love progression and helping people achieve their flying goals. Also helping them be safe and educated in this environment. 

You combine your two passions –freefly and camera – with a lot of feeling of movement in your images, why does that fire you up? 

I think once I stated to do movement jumps, where we really try to use our bodies as wings and fly to our greatest capacity, I felt like I found what I was looking for. This feeling of exploring the sky with my body without the need of any wing or engine apart from myself just resonated in me. So even though I’ve done a lot of vertical flying and filming, my passion was always towards movement. And when it comes to stills and video these days, one of my main goals and areas of interest is how to translate the idea and feeling of moving and flying onto an image. It’s a never-ending challenge and one which really drives me.

I love teaching and I love progression and helping people achieve their flying goals

“I am constantly on a journey of learning and discovering new ways of flying and developing my skills and my ideas”

It seems, especially in Europe, most of the freefly dives are jumps exploring moving together in creative ways. Can you explain more about the process for us belly flyers, who almost always play with static formations. How do you choreograph and dirt-dive?

That’s a really interesting question. It all depends on the jump itself. On many amazing jumps there is actually no dirt-diving, when we’ve done enough work and have a wide range of flying skills, we can do entire jumps that go through the vertical, into head-up movement and really anything without any previous talking… just by following the flow of the leader, who might himself be improvising on the spot.

Other jumps might have very set moves and need meticulous planning, which can get really hard and confusing to imagine as people need to be in different speeds, trajectories and orientation in a three-dimensional space. So, a lot of it becomes building on experience in these situations to know what it is we’re talking about, as on the ground it’s almost impossible to actually dirt-dive in the way the jump is going to take place.

This is where years of training in this kind of flying comes in, you start to develop a library of moves and hopefully when you put them all together it makes sense. It also happens sometimes where we land from a jump and someone had a completely different idea of what was going to happen than what actually did. So we’re trying to build a language of shared concepts to make things more understandable, like a “flock and roll” which is a 180° turn while also transitioning through the vertical from back to belly or vice-versa. But if we want to adapt or change anything about a move like that, explaining that can get challenging. In reality a lot of it is trial and error over time to figure out what work and how to make the things that don’t work, work.

“A photo is a single perfect instance which can be a self-contained unit”

Do you think that’s your ‘signature’?  Capturing movement in still images? 

My signature is my name in squiggles at the bottom of a picture 😂

But really, I think what makes my photos my own more than anything comes from a desire to create photos from a different perspective of flying, to think of new ways to show things and yes, movement. It’s not always possible and doesn’t always come out but when it does it makes me very happy.

The other thing to every photographer is in the edit. If, in the end the raw photo looks very usual and bland, it then becomes our choice if we just want to create a photo to accurately depict what the camera saw or to imbue our own feeling of what we took into the image with slight colour and light changes. There’s also always the question of when you manipulate the photo too much so that it’s no longer a representation of reality, like moving people around and Photoshop. So we all have a line in the sand somewhere where we say “this is what I think is right” for me that’s just colour and light changes without any Photoshopping. 

Perfect dive 🙂

You take stunning photos and make beautiful films… which do you prefer and why?  

Thank you 🙂

Both are differently rewarding, a photo is a single perfect instance which can be a self-contained unit, while a video usually is compiled of many jumps into an edit where it has music and editing etc. They both have their own rewards and frustrations. Usually, the more I do one the more I miss doing the other, so I try to keep a good mix so hopefully I can bring new energy and ideas to each area every time I approach it.

In a single jump, can you achieve your desired results for both stills and film or do you prioritize one over the other? 

I used to try to do both simultaneously but realised I ended up compromising both elements as my flying needs to be different for each. These days I prefer to focus on one at a time if I can, though I still do both if the job requires it.

Over Bahamas 🙂

Do you have your desired shots and framing in mind when you leave the plane?

It really depends, sometimes I do but I had to learn a long time ago to be ready to drop any plans the moment something changes. So, I would say these days I have a rough idea of what I would like to do but try to be nimble to any change. Just because the jump leader says he’s going to do a left 270, doesn’t mean he actually will in some cases 😏

Whom do you admire, who are your mentors and who have you learned the most from?

There are many names, Alex Aimard is probably the biggest influence on my video flying… and Max Haim and Bruno Brokken on stills, but many other like Johannes Bergfors, Keith Creedy, Richie Scheurich and many, many others have influenced me over the years, either by conversation or by simply learning from their work.

Give us a link to one of your favorite videos and explain the feeling you were aiming for

The Angle Week video was one where I was really starting to focus on the idea of having the group move in the frame in the way they move in the sky, so when they go up or down or sideways it feels that way from the video. It’s a new idea for me and I’m still playing around with it lots so sometimes it works out the way I had in my head and sometimes not…. still a work in progress but I’m happy it’s starting to be something I can do and think about during the jump.

“I was starting to focus on the idea of having the group move in the frame in the way they move in the sky”

How do you choose the music?  Does that come before the edit/jump or you choose it to suit the skydive?

It really depends. Sometimes I choose the music months before and then completely change my mind the moment I start editing. It depends on my mood, what I got from the jumps and also the mood of the event and how that week felt to me.

How about a few favorite images, with the back story?

Here’s one that I love, I had this idea of angling the flyer to suit the angle of the mountains by banking a really hard turn while angle flying. Tex was great to work with for this he’s an incredible flyer and super-trusting. The lighting was amazing on the mountains, and I really have the most amount of joy when I can translate an image from my head into reality.

I really have the most amount of joy when I can translate an image from my head into reality

This one of the group we had here in Portugal is also a favorite simply because of the collection of people we were able to bring together. Both our little happy house we had here in Algarve and lots of the coaches from ToraTora’s Paradise in Portugal. I just love it cos it was a great jump and a collection of talent in the sky that’s very rare to see in one photo. This trip really helped me decide that I was going to make Algarve my home.

Why did you choose Algarve?  

I mean, it simply can’t be beaten. The weather, the food, the views, all of it. It’s a great dropzone with a really progressive vibe and atmosphere… but I also love the amount of other activities we can do around here from surfing to paragliding to climbing and we even have an F1 track ten minutes from my home. Portugal is just a special country and that reflects through the dropzone and how things feel here. It’s very hard to explain but when people come here they will feel it for themselves

What freefly coaching advice do you repeat most often? 

It’s actually the same to all flying and it’s all about visuals; if you look at the coach or leader or whatever it is you’re supposed to, you’re off to a good start. It’s amazing how much we repeat something that you would think is so natural but we all make that mistake when we learn something new and just look away into blank sky for no good reason.

“What’s next?”

What was your favorite skydiving moment of all time?

I don’t really remember one particular one. There are so many but they all have something in common, which is a sense of accomplishment. They are all times where I felt that I had actually fulfilled one of my goals and dreams. 

Whether it was mountain flying or filming angle week or just a jump that I finally unlocked another piece of the puzzle that is flying. Those are the ones where I’m screaming under the canopy and have a beaming smile when I land.

Do you have a motto, or favorite quotation?

“What’s next?”

Roy’s motto
Image by Hedda Andersen

What’s your pet hate? Inside and outside the sport

Ignorance, for both. We should all strive to have more knowledge to make us better people

Who are your sponsors?

Performance Designs, UPT, L&B, Tonfly, Vigil and Dekunu.

What would you like to be doing next? And any ultimate goals?

I actually have lots of goals, as soon as I manage to achieve one, several others appear. I’d love this year to be able to get some people together and create some really challenging and special jumps to push the level and explore what more we can do in the sky together. But most of all just to keep learning and teaching and exploring this flying thing. It’s a quest that will hopefully never end and I never want it to.

Spectacular image taken during one of Project 19’s events

Images by Roy Wimmer-Jaglom unless otherwise credited

You can catch up with Roy on Instagram or Facebook

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Meet: Lesley Gale

Lesley has been in love with skydiving for 35 years. She is a multiple world and national record holder and a coach on 20 successful record events worldwide. She has over 100 competition medals spanning more than 25 years and has been on the British 8-way National team at World events. She started Skydive Mag to spread knowledge, information and passion about our amazing sport.
Lesley is delighted to be sponsored by Performance Designs, Sun Path, Cypres, Cookie, Symbiosis suits and Larsen & Brusgaard

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