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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