Travis Mortz Interview
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Monthly Archives: January 2013
I was first struck by the overwhelming blue in this photo, followed by the colored streaks in the middle of the frame, and then the fact that it’s Cam Wood in a roller rink. It’s definitely a fun photograph which translates nicely.
“This image was shot in Salt Lake City, Utah during the filming of S&M’s video, “Salt Lake Shake.”
Early on in the trip, the team was dealt with some crap weather for a couple days so Cam Wood made a call to his Uncle, owner of “fun-plex,” as I will describe it. A short drive up the road and I was unloading my bike and camera-bag out of the van. Complete with waterslides, a roller rink, an American Gladiator tennis ball cannon, and about 10 moon bounces; this place was an amazing photo location.
We rode around for a bit and I noticed a couple of the guys setting up the launch ramp/trashcan in the middle of the rink. My immediate thought was that I wanted to get the blue glow off the rink surface to come through in the shot, and considering the size of the setup, that I would shoot it Fisheye.
I setup 2 strobes: 1 out of frame left, slightly behind me and another out of frame right, just slightly out of the way of Cam’s approach. To get the saturation of the blue glow coming from the black lights I slowed the shutter and panned the camera with the action to freeze the rider. In addition, I adjusted one strobe to point up slightly, and set the other to Zoom. This was to keep from washing out the floor.
Camera: Nikon D300s, 10.5mm
Settings: 1/15 @ f/5, ISO 320
Strobes: 1 SB800 left @ 1/8 power- 8 ft away from subject
1 Sunpak 555 right @ 1/4 power- 14 ft from subject”
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Rupert Walker did an amazing job with the filming and editing of this four hour skatepark session in Coquitlam, BC. The whole foggy ambiance gives a slightly eerie energy that is perfectly counterbalanced by the soundtrack. One or two of the freehand shots are questionable, but the static tripod shots more than make up for it. With peaceful interludes and well-timed cuts, this edit is more for the cinematographer than the rider (no offense to the riding).
Maxime Bonfil by Simon Cassol
The colors in this photo slapped me in the face at first sight. Almost every hue is represented in the image. It is a very dynamic composition and the action is well-described. It’s a fun photo that touches a special place in my heart for skatepark gaps into grass.
“As many photos, this one wasn’t planned at all. It was just a quiet afternoon, riding and relaxing from last night. During the session, Max had this idea of whipping over a bench next to a bank, I wasn’t into taking photos this day, but he motivated me to try some and he was right ! So that’s about it, you never know when you’re going to shoot something cool !
This spot is a small skatepark, real good to ride, mostly street tech, and it’s near Toulouse in the south west of France. (And I’m assuming this was the last photo I shot in 2012, just for the non-sence fact ahah)
Concerning the specs, this was shot using a Canon 40D with a Tokina 10-17 fisheye.
Settings were 1/250s, F4 and ISO 100.
As for the lights, I used a quantum Q flash on the right (maybe at ¼?) and two vivitar 285HV on the left (both at ½ I guess).”
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Obviously the first thing that attracted me to this photo was Sam’s use of a color temperature filter on his flash, making the rider stick out amazingly. The angle is optimal and the frame contains a good amount of symmetry. It’s sharp and demands the viewers attention. I can vaguely remember seeing this photo on the older skateboard photography message board galleries, and it still strikes me just as much as the first time.
“The photo is of Alex Gonzales and was shot in January of 2007 at the Los Altos Skatepark in Albuquerque, NM. It was in the middle of winter, and the days were cold and short which influenced how I made this image.
The short, cold days meant that it got dark earlier, and the evenings had this cool, blue feeling to it. In order to accentuate this cool, blue color and make the rider “pop out” more I used a technique that involves changing the camera’s white balance and using a flash with a gel.
In order to make this technique work the camera needs to have its white balance set to Tungesten (3700K), and flash needs to be gelled with a CTO. A CTO gel is a orange filter that goes over the front of a flash and changes the color temperature of the light coming from the flash. Setting the camera’s WB to Tungesten makes everything lit by ambient light (aka natural light) a blueish color, and then by using the CTO gel on the flash I am lighting the rider and warming up the color on just him. With out the CTO gel the flash would still illuminate the rider, but it wouldn’t provide the warm, contrasting light that the CTO provides.
The image was shot with a Canon 1D with a 15mm fisheye. Shutter speed was 1/500th and the aperture was F3.5. I used a Canon 580ex flash with a CTO gel as mentioned. The flash was placed around 75 degrees camera left.”
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I was drawn to the strong vertical lines in the photograph, and the colors are very pleasing to me. TJ’s red hat really makes him pop out of the image. The lighting is good and the action is sharp.
“Rolling around New Haven, Connecticut with the shredder Tj Bank, we found this dope wheelchair ramp rail-hop. This was the last photo I ever shot with my Nikon D3100 along with the Nikkor 55-300. The settings were 1/200s, F5.6, ISO 400, and shot @70mm. I used two Vivitar 285HV’s infront and behind the ramp @ 1/1 power triggered by cactus v4’s. While shooting this, we had a huge crowd of random people standing behind me mad sketchy playing 20 questions about what’s going on. Once Tj did the railhop, they started to spazz out which made me super stoked.”
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