Category Archives: Gear

TCU TV – Kevin Conners Interview

Kevin does a lot of the legwork for Fiend as well as shooting most of their photos. I had only met him a couple times before conducting this interview and I had no idea that he was so experienced and informed. Needless to say, a lot of important topics are touched and Kevin brought an insightful twist to everything mentioned. He talks about what it’s like to shoot with riders like Garrett Reynolds and what dealing with energy drink companies entails. As a veteran of the industry we commiserate over the decline of print but as active lensmen we discuss the best ways of dealing with this universal shift from paper to pixels. We discuss how (or if) someone could live off of shooting BMX photos alone. Thanks to him, a lot of us may be much more inclined to post our photos directly to Instagram… maybe.

The SoundCloud player is embedded below. Click here to listen on iTunes.

0:24 – Introduction and Kevin’s backstory
12:20 – The formation of Fiend in San Diego
15:28 – Thoughts on San Diego (vs. Los Angeles)
16:42 – Day-to-day operations, website, shooting a roll per week
20:04 – Video work / shooting weddings
20:48 – Valuing both photo and video
22:01 – Putting a price on photographs
23:20 – Thrasher Magazine’s segue into web
26:27 – “Why is everybody doing the same thing?”
27:36 – Can we survive as BMX photographers?
30:08 – “You can’t just do one thing as a photographer anymore”
32:52 – We check out Kevin’s backpack
41:39 – Full-frame vs. crop sensor
44:12 – Ty is outed as an exceptional photographer
45:53 – What film do you load up in your Bronica? (and the pains of shooting film)
48:24 – Shouts to skate photogs Ben Clemens and Brian Gaberman
50:30 – Sleeping in the field
51:52 – When riders pull it first try
53:20 – Two strobes is all you need
55:05 – Old school strobe sequences
57:04 – Shooting a bar crank bar and making sure Red Bull includes both barspins
1:00:01 – Having to shoot vs. wanting to shoot
1:01:26 – Kevin’s digital workflow
1:04:52 – Shouts to Josh McElwee
1:05:16 – “Whatever you take, you better be willing to put back into it”
1:07:12 – You can’t put extra pressure on the rider
1:07:38 – Shooting barspins
1:09:49 – Weekends
1:11:30 – Kevin confesses to having applied to be a Lyft driver
1:12:49 – The longevity of a photograph and Instagram
1:15:30 – Separating between inspiration and imitation
1:16:03 – Instagram is about convenience
1:19:48 – Shouts to Alex Donnachie and Fred Murray
1:20:59 – “What’s the oldest photo you’re sitting on?”

TCU TV – The Filmer’s Podcast

We gathered three of today’s most prolific filmers (Tony Ennis (Deadline), John Hicks (Onsomeshit) and Christian Rigal (Markit)) to spark productivity and inspire creativity in anyone looking to advance their camera-using skills. We talk experience, travel, music, gear and more… Tune in!

If you’ve got any questions, just leave them in the comments. Listen to this on SoundCloud below and on iTunes here.

0:34 – “Still Searchin'” (End Search sequel that never happened)
1:40 – Christian talks about a sequel to Markit Zero and his new RED camera
5:47 – Hicks speaks
7:13 – Christian talks about dividing time between camera and bike and his newfound passion and respect for still photography
11:46 – Tony talks about his current projects and the Garrett Reynolds Red Bull video
14:34 – “Did you ever think you’d be in the position you’re in now as filmers?”
18:38 – Tony talks about his riding career and what gets him psyched and filming Deadline with dying cameras
22:31 – The importance of music in editing
28:47 – We talk about the diminishing amount of physical DVD’s being made
30:14 – Christian talks about filming with Tate Roskelley in 2009 and a video of a 14 year old Chad Kerley
34:14 – We talk about how Connor Lodes shot a cover of RideBMX and how Christian trusts him and Chad to film when he’s riding
37:19 – Everyone talks about their first cameras
41:18 – Reader questions (fish or long? any formal education in video? craziest thing that’s ever happened while out filming? (funny story about Mike Jonas) how does it feel when you eat shit filming? How long do you spend editing any given video? favorite editing software?
50:29 – Do you do video work outside of BMX?
52:40 – Tony alludes to a second Deadline video
53:57 – Export settings
57:12 – Rollerblades / filming boards
58:37 – Post production habits
1:01:46 – Preferred shutter speed?
1:04:32 – Rokinon / Pro Optic / off-brand fisheyes are sharpest at f/8
1:05:24 – Getting shit stolen
1:07:57 – Getting insurance for your gear
1:09:18 – Tripods
1:13:09 – Left eye or right eye?
1:14:38 – Christian’s bag(s)
1:18:30 – Tony’s bag
1:21:38 – Hicks’ gear
1:22:44 – Advice to beginners

Photo of the Week: Zach Honahan

potw

Jay Dalton in Poughkeepsie, New York by Zach Honahan

“While sitting down on my computer editing wedding images, I received a spontaneous phone call from my good friend Jay Dalton who was in the area,who just left doing a Ramp show performance in a elementary school. I quickly grab my light stands and camera bag, rushing out of my front door toward my car. I drove an hour to Poughkeepsie, New York where I would soon meet Jay and two other homies. An hour later, I arrive at Waryas skatepark seeing Jay and his two other friends looking quite winded from the session. I approached Jay asking to shoot a boosted T-Bog air and hopefully angle it enough where I could get him in the sky. For the photo, I used an Alienbee B800 sitting on a 10ft light stand, at around 8 1/2 foot tall. The Alienbee was angled toward Jay at around a 10-20 degree angle. The Alienbee was fired at full power, to the left of the frame, around 12-13 feet away from Jay. As far as a secondary light, there was a Nikon SB910 shooting at 1/16th as just a little filler toward the back of the frame sitting on another light stand.”

Nikon D3100, 40mm 2.8 Macro (I left my 50mm at home, so I pulled out this lens from my camera bag), Alienbee B800, Nikon SB910, two 10ft lightstands.”

Join the Flickr group and your photo might be featured here next week!

Photo of the Week: Ryan Ogawa

reagan riley by ogawa

Reagan Riley, toboggan

“I had been wanting to shoot something with Regan for some time. After a few failed attempts to shoot together, due mostly to my family/work schedule I made plans to meet with him at a ditch I had seen him post on his Instagram. This thing is not easy to ride at all, but its home turf for Regan plus it defiantly helps that the dude can shred. After several failed angles and waiting on the sun to get lower than f16 I finally found the angle I wanted and here is one of the few fun shots we got that day. Hope you enjoy!!

Shot specs were:
Canon 5DC
@f7.1
1/500sec
ISO 100

Sunpak 622 to camera left @ 1/2 power with Pocketwizard PLUS II Receiver
Sunpak 555 to camera right @ 1/2 power with Pocketwizard PLUS II Receiver
Both triggered by Pocketwizard Flex TT5 so since Regan was in the upper section I can boost up the shutter to 1/500th sec.”

Join the Flickr group (we just hit 5,000 photos!) and you could be next week’s spotlight!

Vince Perraud Interview

French photographer Vince Perraud was in town a few weeks ago working on some personal projects and dedicated a couple hours of his time (on his birthday, no less) to sit down and talk with us. When I say “us”, there were so many people that wanted to be a part of this interview while there are only so many seats and microphones. Oddly enough, I was the only one who hadn’t met Vince before and therefore had the least business being in there. We subbed between myself, Chris Mortenson and Jeremy Pavia while Gutstains held it down and Reed Stark was there to share some stories from a rider’s perspective. Vince was a bit nervous and unsure how everything would go having a less-than-perfect grasp of the English language so we implemented some brain softener and upheld a more relaxed environment (and an untraditional format) to make sure everything would go as smoothly as possible.

1:30 – The challenge of breaking into a new scene
2:29 – Reed’s introduction
3:00 – Starting in BMX
4:35 – Growing up in a small town in France
5:14 – Mortenson pops bottles
5:45 – From bikes to cameras via knee injury
7:11 – Inspired by Manu Sanz
8:41 – Dealing with shotty equipment
11:51 – THE LIGHT
13:14 – Having an Instagram photo on the cover of RideUK
14:13 – First cover (Soul Magazine)
15:30 – His latest cover (RideBMX)
18:39 – Vince’s take on the death of print
20:09 – The challenge of being French
25:45 – Mortenson steps in, talks about nude women
28:04 – Having an assistant then not having an assistant
29:23 – Shooting without flashes
32:05 – Shooting events (Simple Session)
33:18 – Moving on from BMX
35:54 – The many variables in photography
40:14 – More about the Instagram photo that made the cover of RideUK
42:04 – “Do you do any video work?”
42:20 – Guts’ favorite Vince photo
44:08 – The infamous fisheye pool photo on the cover of Soul
48:36 – Waiting to put out photos instead of posting online
53:42 – Pavia steps in
55:08 – “What drives you?”
56:41 – “What is your end goal in photography?”
58:27 – “Have you “made it”?”
1:00:45 – One camera and lens setup for life, what would you choose?
1:02:56 – “How much value do you place on social media?”
1:04:53 – “BMX is so small”
1:06:24 – Three pieces of advice for the emerging amateur photographer
1:08:30 – Where do you see photography going?

Framework: Steven Hamilton and a Columbus Dumpster

hamilton dumpster to invert

From RideBMX Issue #204

May 23, 2014, Columbus, Ohio

Canon 1DsIII
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 lens @ 70mm
Canon 580EXII flash (zoom @ 35mm (?), 1/2 power)
Paul C. Buff Einstein 640w flash w/ 11″ reflector (probably @ 1/2 power (~1/2000 duration))
Pocket Wizards

1/250 @ f/11, ISO 100

A typical day of shooting with Steven involves picking him up with his bike, skateboard, thermos of coffee and backpack full of tools, hoodie and a TRV900. On this particular day, Shay Lashley and/or John Hughes were tagging along. Steven’s friend Rob met us at the spot- a small ditch in the corner of a vacant apartment complex parking lot. The goal was to film a few clips involving a shopping cart there but upon arrival, an upturned dumpster became the subject of focus. Well-versed in wallrides, Steven sessioned the shit out of the thing before I suggested we shoot a photo. I set up to shoot an x-up wallride with a standard 50mm lens. I put the Einstein to the right, just out of frame, and a Lumedyne 200w Action Pack to the left, sandwiching Steven in between.

ham dumpster 2

I was trying to work with the empty parking lot and lightposts but my composition ended up being pretty tired and boring. On top of that, it was so bright that I had to get my flashes closer to overpower the ambient light and reduce the motion blur. As per usual, Steven suggested I use a fisheye and for once I agreed with him.

ham dumpster 3

The shot definitely became less boring but the motion blur continued to be a problem even after closing down to f/11 from f/9. At this point, Steven was happy with the photo but I was not. In addition to my discontent, my Lumedyne battery died. I replaced it with a much less powerful 580EXII set on 1/2 power (~1/1600 duration). I asked if he could do a different trick and wait until the sun hid behind the clouds so that motion blur would be reduced. I also changed my angle so that he’d be moving toward the camera and not across the frame, effectively diminishing any possible motion blur issues. This is when we got the shot.

hamilton dumpster to invert

The Einstein is just out of frame to the right (you can kinda see the splash of light on the ground from it) about 6′ up and the 580EXII is just out of frame on the left, also 6′ high, simply to freeze his wheels a bit. At 100% you can see that there was still some unavoidable motion blur on his wheels, which were spinning super fast-

ham crop

So the table is looking dialed, à la Joe Rich, but this angle doesn’t convey the distance he was traveling out of the wallride. This one does-

ham dumpster 1

I used some heavy panning to sharpen his lateral movement but I must’ve had the 580 at full power because his front wheel is lit up but a blurry mess-

ham crop 2
Peep the bling tho.

ham dumpster 4 Shot it once natural light for shits and giggles.

“Glidecam BMX Tips” with Dalton Campbell

I’ve never used a Glidecam but I feel confident that I could now, thanks to this tutorial.