Shooting at the trails can be fun and frustrating at the same time. It can be fun because there are all sorts of angles you can get and the only obstruction, more or less, is trees. But, the beautiful thing is that you can climb said trees and get crazy angles no one has seen before. It can be frustrating if you choose to light your photo with flashes instead of using ambient light. You need the right equipment and it needs to be used properly. Jacob pretty much nailed it in this week’s photo.
“As a ton of bmx related photos are, this was sort of a “spur of the moment” opportunity to snap a few photos on a set that rarely gets seen on a computer screen. Initially set up to shoot a photo of Will Blount, everyone got in on the session and I sat back, and snapped and grinned.
I set up an AB800 far left at 3/4 power and then a SB-800 behind the lip you see in the foreground mid right at 1/2 power. Shooting with my D300s and a 50mm 1.8 I snuck far back into the trees on my stomach to get a nice foreground and feel that is worthy of the woods in the winter.
The initial set up was 1/250th f8 at iso400 but it was later into the session and the sun was going down quickly so I ended up at f4 for this photo. Its always a struggle shooting strobes in the woods with the sun constantly being pushed behind clouds and lighting HUGE landings as you see here.
All in all I walked away content with a solid 4-5 photos as the sun dropped out of view and I didn’t have anymore ambient light to play with.
Shout out to all the locals who put up with my strobes and antics. Go balance some ambient light with strobes, its a challenge each and every time.
D300s w/ 50 1.8
AB800 w/ vagabond
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My name’s Matt Hildebrand and I’ve been shooting photographs for 6 years now. I started riding my last year of middle school and going into high school I wanted to take electives that related to BMX. My grandma sent me her Pentax K1000 which was the only camera I really shot on for the next four years. My high school teacher gave us the option of whether to shoot film or digital and since I already had my Pentax I went with it. All of my skater friends shot photos and took art classes so I kind of just fell into their group. I went to a pretty well off high school so all of the pretentious kids had expensive digital cameras, the darkroom had a completely different vibe for me. Towards the end of high school all of my older friends had graduated and I would eat lunch and make chemicals with my photo teacher. She sort of made me realize that I should go to college if I had the opportunity. Around that time George Marshall
came to Oklahoma to shoot an article for the first issue of The Albion and I got to see him shoot firsthand. Needless to say his work ethic and shooting style inspired me enough to buy a Hasselblad 500c with my graduation money. I’m finishing my second year at OU and working to get a major in graphic design, the university is structured so that graphic design falls under the art school umbrella. I get to take darkroom classes and can check out all sorts of equipment for free. I love both photography and riding because they’re constantly refreshing one another. I never get bored riding with my friends because there’s always an opportunity to get a clip or shoot a photo of something I don’t want to forget. BMX and Skating both have a unique and intriguing subculture which I think is important to document. There’s so much tangible passion in riding for me, whenever I shoot a photo I try and convey those feelings. This is why I feel it’s important for a photographer/filmer to keep pedaling, being on both sides of the lens makes it easier to decide camera angles and timing for me personally. When it comes down to it, the most important thing you can do is help BMX grow into something you can be proud of. Whether you dig trails, wax ledges, film clips, or shoot photos remember it’s all for the same love. (Photo by Luke Mouradian
James Anderson decided to hangover this rail even though the camera died. He really just wanted to do it for his own satisfaction and I offered to shoot a photo. This rail is wobbly and I was surprised with how much of it he managed to slide. As for the angle I wanted him to be coming towards me instead of across the frame to reduce motion blur.
Mikey Babbel spent a decent amount of time on this curved rail to hop over. The clip was well worth it and the photo turned out better than I thought it would. I set up the photo so that you could see the entire rail while also giving Mikey room to move about through the frame. My favorite part of this photo are the reflections in the windows and the overall tonal range.
I got to tag along with Jeremie on a trip to San Francisco last summer and I really benefited from it. I made friends with new riders and shot this photo of Caleb Quanbeck gapping out to wallride at one of millions of Cali school spots. I shot It from the roof with my wide-angle and was nervous about dropping my camera from the impact of the wall. It turned out the shake of the wall I was hanging over helped with my timing and I took it right when he was sinking into the wallride.
Jabari Winters let us stay at his place one year when Cody Anderson, James, and I were on spring break. When you stay at someone’s house for a trip you get a better impression of who they are then just riding a spot. Jabari is easy going and will spontaneously send himself down some pretty heavy stuff. More than that he’s a very hospitable and helps everyone enjoy themselves. I’m hesitant to shoot photos like this sometimes because I don’t want the photo to turn out posed or make people nervous or act differently because a camera is out. Luckily Jabari didn’t seem to notice I was setting up and I shot this portrait of him in his old back yard.
Jeremie Infelise rode off this roof “completely blind”. The twig he had said up to mark where he should ride off at had blown away and he went for it anyway. Sometimes a simple hop looks the best and this was a nice treat after the hell he went through filming a clip around the corner. Both clips are in a James/Jeremie split edit for Delic.
James and I ride street together more often then not. It’s hard to tell from his current style that he used to live in the skatepark. When we started riding mostly street he kept up with table’s and can pop one out of anything including this steep bank. The horizontal lines in the architecture helped me compose my photograph and the cheaper quality film my professor gave me for this shot works well together.
In this week’s photo, I was taken in by the excellent lighting- that rim light on his left shoulder is clutch, without it his black shirt would just fade into the night. I really like the scraps of concrete flying out from under his peg. The composition is proper, with lines as visuals cues pointing your attention to the subject. There is a nice range of tones from black to white (it isn’t muddy like a lot of converted B&W images are). Obviously the shot is perfectly timed.
“Decided to go riding at the local skatepark with my friend Jaron Turnbow on my day off and try out some new gear. I had just received new light stands a few days before and after a park session I asked Jaron if he wanted to shoot a few things with my new set up.
We shot a few other tricks before this but as it got darker I started seeing sparks and dust when Jaron would downside chink the hip in his lines. I had an idea to capture the dust and hopefully some sparks when he did it so I had him do it a couple of times.
The first few weren’t exactly what we were hoping for so he started trying to slide them a bit more and we ended up with this shot. Getting the timing right was difficult for the first few tries but after I got that down the shot panned out and I was able to capture a couple of sparks and some dust like I had wanted.
I grayscaled the image in post because I liked the dramatic effect it had on the scene.
As far as equipment and settings go, the photo was shot with a Canon 5D mark III with a 24-70L at 57mm, ISO 640, f/2.8 at 1/200th. Strobes were two Canon 580ex flashes, one camera right at 1/16th power, and one to right and behind the subject at 1/16th +.07 power triggered with Pocket Wizard plus III’s.”
More of Joshua’s work can be seen here.
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I chose this photo because I enjoy the ambience- you can almost feel the silence of that night. You hear a faint cassette hub in the distance and the sound grows louder. From behind the bushes emerges Rob Philips as he heads straight for the fence. For a moment, in mid-flight, everything is silent again. The next noise is a subtle “pop” from the flashes of George Herbert. All you can see for that split second is the rider in a perfect stylish hop, clear over the fence with no more worries than rolling away clean. That split second has become the photo of the week.
“This photo was shot a month or two ago when the English winter was providing us with its finest cold weather and short days. This spot is a bust in the day when people are working in the building conjoining the carkpark so after a bit of a warm up at the local we set out to go have a session on it.
I’d bust my thumb up a couple of days earlier so wasnt to keen to ride but asked around if anyone was up for shooting something and Rob was keen. He started to scope out what he was feeling whilst I set up. Rob’s a stylish dude and got serious pop so when he opted for a straight hop I was definitely down to shoot it.
As for set up it was shot on my Canon 550d with a Pentax SMC 50mm f1.7 with a K mount to EOS adapter. I used two Yongnuo 560 mk II’s one slightly camera left and elevated on a stand at 1/32 power and one further camera left at 1/16 power. Camera settings were 1/50 f5.6 ISO400. The main issue I had was balancing the exposure of the ambient light to the flash. I’m really pleased how the image turned out I particularly dig the colours and the shadow on the wall. Think it could of benefited from some gels on the flashes to balance the nasty orange light from the streetlights but thats just nit picking.”
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This composition is untraditional with the action taking place directly in the center of the frame, but I feel that with the red frame sticking out of the predominately blue surroundings, it’s a great place for the subject to be. The yellow lines on the ground and on the sign on the right make the blue even stronger. The lighting is simple and creates a natural, pleasing vignette around the edges of the image. Icepicks are always nice to shoot, and that ledge looks like a good time.
“So after a lazy day after coming off shift I had a phone call from Tom in the evening asking if I was up for “Duzzy ledge” for an hour or so. Duzzy ledge (industrial estate ledge) is pretty sweet set up to be honest, very rare that you get hassled there, waxed up a treat, doubles up as a manual pad and is almost a bank to sub with the gradient of the parking spaces too.
Recently I’ve gotten myself into a habit of making sure my camera bag goes wherever I go and I’m glad it came with me on this venture. After having a good shred with Tom and Che, I thought I’d have a play with the camera. Instantly I knew I wanted to shoot something dead pan, I feel this setup worked well for that approach, the paint on the floor gave a form of symmetry which I wanted to include. I asked Tom to do a few icepicks and fired off a few shots before capturing him as central as possible. Good job Tom liked to slide icepicks…
I had two Vivitar 285hvs plugged into a FlexTT5 (one in the hot shoe and one into p2) to the left out of frame about 15ft both at 1/2 power and two Canon 540ez same again into FlexTT5 on the right out of frame at 1/2 power, triggered by a miniTT1 and shot with a 60D at f6.3 1/160 ISO320.”
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