Category Archives: Tech

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.

TCU TV – The Photographer’s Discussion

A while back, I had the chance to get a few established photographers in the industry together to talk shop. I had a loose list of topics we could hit and Jeremy had a list of his own. We didn’t get to hit nearly as many subjects as we would have liked to, but that’s usually how these things go. I think we did pretty well with the time allotted and we’re hoping that any aspiring lensmen will be enlightened by our discussion.

If there are any specific topics that you’d want us to hit for the next discussion, please leave them in a comment below.

1:09 – Jeremy Pavia introduction
2:47 – Chris Mortenson introduction
4:28 – Josh McElwee introduction
6:25 – Jeremy’s “Through The Lens” column from The Union
9:21 – “Film vs. Digital” (actually we discuss Dean Collins and teaching for a while)
11:22 – We actually start discussing the film versus digital thing
13:26 – Shoutout to the darkroom
18:53 – What’s your favorite f/stop?
21:31 – “I just wanna capture the moment and sometimes the moment is shitty”
23:00 – No more hanging posters
24:11 – “Print vs. Online”
25:08 – Gregory Crewdson
28:48 – Readership
30:16 – Vinyl vs. MP3
30:55 – The Albion
31:55 – Props on VHS
36:04 – Josh’s story
37:45 – DIG/Focal Point
40:57 – A watered-down industry
43:35 – The process of shooting/choosing what gear to carry
46:13 – Getting the shot
49:22 – Fuck barspins.
50:35 – A collaboration between photographer and subject
55:19 – Riders getting hurt while shooting
57:01 – Shoutout to Kiraly
58:34 – RideBMX‘s 1 o’clock photo project
1:04:19 – Let’s talk about gear
1:08:57 – Advances in photo technology
1:12:25 – How to get your photos noticed
1:13:44 – Looking outside of BMX
1:15:43 – Experience
1:17:14 – Final thoughts and comments

“Capturing the Night in Digital Photos, Spectacularly”

My aunt emailed me this article about Vincent Laforet shooting nighttime aerials from The New York Times. Among other things, it turned me onto the 50-megapixel 5DS.

Spotlight: Adam Cook

adam

Adam first caught my attention with his natural light color 35mm photos in the Flickr group. Everything of his I remembered seeing had impeccable composition and great geometry. Being able to create dynamic photographs without the use of artificial lighting is a challenge for sure, but Adam finds ways to showcase the subject and keep the image interesting.

Where do you live/where are you from, what’s your age and how long have you been shooting?
I was born and raised in Erie, PA. I’m 19 years old now and I got my first camera in 10th grade. I quit wrestling after 9 seasons that year so I could focus more of filming and photography. My coach told me it was the worst idea I had ever had but I think its going pretty well.

How long have you been riding?
I got my first bike in the summer of 7th grade so about 5 years? Give or take, I didn’t really actually ride ride until 9-10th grade.

FujiFilmNovmber (12 of 18)Robert Christianson, Erie PA

What was your first camera?
The first camera I ever had in my hands was some point and shoot I stole from my sister back in fifth grade, me and my friends took pictures of each other jumping off of the swings in my grandmas backyard. I don’t know why but we did, a lot. My first actual camera was the 550D my mom got me in high school because I wanted to go to film school.

What inspired you to start shooting in the first place?
I really just like to make cool stuff. As a child my dad did a lot of painting and crafts and my teachers used to call me “creative” and “artistic”. I guess shooting photos and videos just became my outlet.

PhillyandSkating (2 of 22)Philadelphia

Who are some photographers you are into?
There’s a lot of guys that I really look up to, some are friends and some are just people I’ve heard of but, Ryan Souva, Travis Mortz, Chris Mortenson, and Nick Jones are a few.

Have you ever shot with flashes?
Yeah, I take a set of flashes almost every time I have a digital camera, but usually when I shoot film I just have the camera, a lens, and a few rolls.

table (9 of 9)Cory Schneider, Mercyhurst PA

What is your favorite film?
I dont usually shoot with expensive film. I almost always buy  Fuji superia 400 because its cheap and available anywhere. Plus the colors are nice.

What is your preferred f/stop?
Usually shooting BMX/Skate stuff I try and be around 7.1 or higher. Very shallow depth of field has its time but when it’s some dude throwing bars down a stair set, I want as much in focus as I can get.

Edited CD2 (18 of 19)Bryan Kleckner, Warren PA

Do you have a favorite trick to shoot?
I like the simple stuff, it’s nice to shoot banger tricks but you shouldn’t always stress your self when your shooting photos. If everything I shot had to be perfectly timed,well composed and well exposed first try then photography wouldn’t be all that fun to me.

Do you think you’ll stick to natural light or can you see yourself gearing up soon?
I always like to experiment with new things and other ways to shoot, but for right now, I’m really into the simplicity of just going out and shooting.

Edited CD2 (8 of 19)Tommy Crail, Erie PA

What is the most important factor for you when you’re making a photograph?
I like things to be straight. Poles, the horizon, ramps, rails, everything. My biggest pet peeve is when something is noticeably crooked.

Do you carry both color and b&w film with you?
Almost always color. I just haven’t got around to trying that much black and white stuff yet.

Edited CD2 (12 of 19)Cory Schneider, Penn State

Do you shoot any video? 

Yeah, I consider myself more of a video person than photos I just shoot more bmx than anything because it’s what I’m around all the time. I started doing music videos and weddings about 3ish years ago. All my stuff is on my website, www.adamcookmedia.com

PhillyandSkating (5 of 22)Trent Culver, Philadelphia

“A Momentary Lapse of Riding” by Christian Van Hanja

Christian Van Hanja linked up with Viki Gomez and a team of camera operators to create this Matrix-esque flatland link using 75 DSLR’s.

Markit in Portugal Video

With this video filmed entirely on a cellphone, the bar has not only been raised but it has also been decimated and thrown away. In our defense though, the Nokia phone that this was all filmed with has a 20-megapixel camera and uses optical image stabilization (as does the iPhone 6 Plus, but no other iPhones). And also in our defense, we are talking about Dennis Enarson and Ronnie Napolitan here… I’m sure they could have done most of this in their sleep. With Hadrien Picard behind the keypad, this video proves that the gear doesn’t make a great video- the people using the gear do.

Framework: Austin Aughinbaugh – Opp Hanger

austin opp hanger 640

I literally just got back from shooting this opposite hanger with Austin and thanks to free gourmet coffee drinks, I am super motivated to post this Framework piece.

We filmed this clip the other day for Flip Clips (volume eight coming soon) and on playback I noticed its potential as a noteworthy photograph. After driving him to a successful job interview, Austin and I jammed to The Fall of Troy while heading back toward ASU campus to ride this fun curved ledge spot.

Here’s the shot without any flashes-
spot minus lights

I decided I’d go all-in and use a classic three light setup. My key light (Lumedyne 200w Action Pack) was to the left and in front of the ledge @ f/11. My rim light (Paul C Buff Einstein 640 w/ 11″ reflector) was behind and to the right of the ledge, metered @ f/16. For fill I used a Canon 580EXII set @ 1/4 power to yield f/8, filling in any shadows created by the position of the key and rim.

At first I was thinking I’d shoot 50mm @ f/8 ISO 100 (my go-to these days) but upon further inspection, the 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm became the one. Only after setting up all the lights did I realize that the ambient was giving f/8 @ 1/250- the Arizona sun is much brighter than what I’m used to. In order to cut down on any motion blur that might arise from shooting at f/8, I decided that f/11 would be a better choice. I moved every flash in a little bit and re-metered and somewhat incredibly each one gave a perfect reading.

austin spot 640

I gave Austin the nod and he started locking in the opp hanger right off the bat. It took him probably six or seven tries to lace this one (this is the make) from end to end with amazing balance at a low and locked-in speed. We probably should have filmed this one as well, as it was much cleaner than the one we filmed on Sunday, but such is life.

A few on-the-spot corrections: The initial choice of f/8. I should have realized that the sun was beaming (even though we were under shade, the background was super bright) or just have metered in-camera before deciding on that. It only took a couple minutes to move the lights around for more power, but sometimes those couple minutes are the difference between getting the shot and getting the boot. At first, the rim light was casting a shadow of that second post onto the ledge. I moved it a couple feet to camera left and got the shadow to land in front of the ledge. My the fill light was really close to being in-frame and the rim was almost spilling light into the lens but simply moving myself a foot or two to the right and cropping a bit in post solved those issues. And of course, since everything went so incredibly smooth, I realized right after wrapping that I had forgot to switch from JPEG to RAW on my camera, due to shooting a sequence the other night. But knowing that this was going straight to Instagram, I really didn’t care. Life is too good to really care about minimal shit like that. We are both still happy with the results and I hope that you are psyched on this information as well. Thanks for reading, keep shooting!