Photo of the Week: Josh McElwee


I chose this photograph to mark the beginning of fall, because I think this is about as summer as it gets. The tones are so warm that I can nearly feel it. The composition is incredible and the lighting is more-or-less perfect. It’s an ultra clicked invert and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this on the cover or in the spread of the next Woodward brochure.

“This photo of Dan was shot in July at Woodward East. We originally decided to shoot a footjam on the 18ft. mini-mega ramp quarter, but a giant cloud came over the ramp and pretty much ruined the photo. The resulting sunset through the clouds, however, prompted me to ask Dan if he would be down to shoot something a few hundred feet away in The Cage.

We showed up right as the sun was disappearing over the horizon. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the pastel-like quality of the clouds facing southwest, behind the vert wall. I asked Dan if there was anything he would like to shoot on it. He simply responded ‘Table’, which was all I needed to hear. Since the sun had gone down by this point, I set out to mimic the last few moments of daylight via the use of three flashes.

All of the flashes used were gelled, no white light was used. The main light is an Einstein coming from camera left about 10-15 feet away from Dan, gelled with a ‘soft amber key’ to mimic the warm glow of a lamp high above. A one-stop sheet of diffusion material was also used to soften the edge of the light. The rim light was an AB800 about 50 feet back-camera right and aimed directly at the vert wall, feathered a considerable amount to the left in order to keep the light on the vert wall and not as much on the bank on the right side of the frame. This light was used to mimic the natural rim light effect that the sun would have normally. A 1/2 CTO was used to give this a slightly warm, more realistic feel. The third and final light was a Vivitar 285 hidden behind the vert wall, pointed at Dan, also with a 1/2 CTO, just for a little bit of underlight/separation.

I shot this wide open at f/4 in order to further enhance the soft quality of the clouds in the distance. Dan did the table twice, and this was the result.

Gear info:

Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 70-200 f/4
Einstein 640
Alien Bee 800
Vivitar 285
Vagabond Mini battery packs
Pocket Wizard Transcievers
Various gel sheets”

More of Josh’s work can be seen here, and more of Dan’s riding can be seen here.

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