Category Archives: Tech


“A photograph is shaped more by the person behind the camera than by what’s in front of it.”

Travis Mortz Explains The Sunny 16 Rule

Our recent podcast guest Travis Mortz explains basic daylight exposure for his local film lab. It’s like learning to read light instead of words.

Cycling, Cameras, and Cats with Sandy Carson

Sandy Carson is part of the original Fairdale family which started back in January of 2012 and as a full time photographer he’s always doing something exciting wether it be on his bicycle of off. Hit play to take a seat w/ Sandy to hear a bit more about what he’s done and what he’s got goin on.

“The BMX Businessman”

Jon Lynn and his new family at Mashable made this short film as a testament to the picture quality of the new iPhone 6s Plus and for a bit of comic relief. Although it’s not technically 4k (as it’s advertised), the resolution of each frame of video from this cellphone is higher than a single frame from my first digital camera. Make sure you enable “2160p” to view this in all its glory.

TCU TV – Travis Mortz Interview

I began corresponding with Travis through the Push It A Stop Flickr page after noticing his extensive use of film- most notably shooting some riding shots on large format. He let me know that he’d be at Texas Toast with his 4×5. Sure enough I saw him there lugging around the behemoth of a camera, complete with tripod and dark cloth, and a Hasselblad slung around his neck. We spoke and it soon became clear to me that Travis is both a camera fanatic and dedicated film user. He is informed, experienced and well-traveled. Sitting down and discussing all aspects of photography with Travis opened my eyes to some things I hadn’t considered regarding technology and the lack thereof required in the art. He is someone who understands the power of the camera and loves every part of it- from the equipment to the process to the ethereal qualities of a Polaroid of his daughter. I introduce to you the Ansel Adams of BMX, Travis Mortz.

0:30 – How was shooting at Texas Toast with a 4×5 camera?
2:25 – Travis’ shortened life story and first rolls of film
5:18 – When has film failed you?
6:32 – When has digital failed you? (pretty crazy story involving Tony Hawk)
9:50 – Travis’ formal education in photography and the arts
11:58 – Favorite photographs?
12:42 – Crazy story about Dorthea Lange and a Linhof
16:06 – Online portfolio?
17:05 – Your favorite film?
17:45 – Your lighting setup?
19:19 – Travis asks me about my film-use frequency
22:03 – Travis describes his darkroom setup in the mountains
25:04 – What are your film buying habits?
27:02 – “People are scared of film for some reason”
27:28 – You ever been fucked by a lab?
28:56 – Recent camera purchases?
31:59 – “My results will always be different”
32:39 – Favorite developer?
34:02 – Travis’ theory on preservation
(A great discussion erupts here and some really good points are made.)
40:02 – We go through the gear that Travis brought with him
48:54 – Shooting at Woodward Camp
51:30 – Travis talks about his recent trip to Sweden and how Hasselblad wrote a story about him
54:06 – “My biggest project is documenting my daughter’s life”

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