Category Archives: Framework
From RideBMX Issue #204
May 23, 2014, Columbus, Ohio
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))
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.
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.
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.
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-
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-
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-
As a BMX photographer, theres a moment when a spark ignites; when you see someone start to try something and you know it could make a good photo. The gears in your head start ramping up and you start looking at the angles, the light, the variables… anything that stands between you and making a great image. This write-up will give you an idea of what goes through my head while setting up a photo, in this case a long ass icepick by Jake Seeley. Continue reading
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.
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.
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!
It was a cold November afternoon in New York and I was meeting up with Tafari to pedal around downtown. I had my lighter bag with me (not my lightest bag) which consists of usually just one camera body (Canon 1Ds III) with the 50mm f/1.4 attached, fisheye in tow, three flashes (Lumedyne 200w Action Pack, 2x Canon 580EXII) and some PocketWizards. On my way to the meeting point (LES skatepark) I noticed a nice bump in the middle sidewalk right there on Pike street just a few blocks from the park (the bump has since been flattened). Knowing that T is always down to mess around on different/unique setups, I suggested we check out the bump and possibly shoot a simple hop.
It took him a few runs to get a feel for the bump (it took me a few shots to get the results I wanted too) but the final photograph shows a meeting between our minds, culminating in a photo we were both happy with. Then some guy gave us free t-shirts.
Here’s the setup-
I framed him in a cleaner area of the frame- between light posts (not perfectly) with a brighter background so that he’d pop out better. I used a slower shutter (1/125) to mix in some ambient light, and I panned with him to add some pan blur to the background. The Lumedyne in front of him was metering at f/5.6 and the 580EXII behind him was putting out f/8 (with zoom head at 105mm so that the light would hit just him and not a lot of the surrounding area), which, with camera set at f/5.6, gave an optimal balance between key and rim lights. I like the way his jacket is flowing behind him, adding a bit more action to the entire scene. I am very pleased with the color palette of the shot which, to me, feels brisk and autumn-like.
For whatever reason, the rim light didn’t fire on this one. It gives you an idea of what it would look like without-
I did have to burn in some leaves on that tree because my flash was pointed almost right at them and I cropped about 10% off the left side of the frame (it contained a tall orange street chimney spewing steam, which became a distraction). I would have liked to have framed him more precisely between the light posts. Overall, I’m very happy with the shot.