Tag Archives: Adam Cook

Spotlight: Adam Cook


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

Photo of the Week: Adam Cook

adam cook potw

The rigid composition of this shot (and it’s monochromatic palette) reminded me of Thomas Struth’s older cityscape photos that I was really into when I was first learning about the structure of photography. The verticals are straight and the horizontals are (pretty much) flat. The subtle grind box in the foreground is a nice touch. Quite unusually, I think the shadows created by the flash add to the photo. The lighting is simple yet effective, the trick is good and nicely timed. The shadows aren’t very deep but I like flatness it creates. Last but not least, this is one of the skateparks from my childhood so it plucks a certain chord on my heartstrings.

“We won’t disclose the riders name, he’s an Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran, so we’re going to give him a new name. John seems fit.

This was another one of those photos that kind of just happened, we headed out to chenga for the 10$ Sunday session. I hadn’t rode with “John” in about 6 months, he himself didn’t ride for that long either. He’s an older guy, I don’t know his exact age but he isn’t 16 and he could possibly be a father to some of these triple whippin’ dew tour champions. Usually when we roll up to a park, its those same kids who are the first ones to say something about his old school 35 lb bike and 7 inch bars, but its tricks like these that usually shut those kids right up. John will be off a bike for months to years at a time, show up at a park and shut it down in 15 minutes before his first smoke break. This is a good example because his first 3 runs at this quarter (that he never rode before), he ice picked the sub rail, abubaca and then foot planted it.

I didn’t even bring my full camera bag, just my camera with the 40mm already on and a flash, no stands, no other lenses nothing. I asked John to foot plant it one more time for the camera. The session in this side of the park was quickly dying, so I literally turned my flash on to half power, laid it on the box jump to the right, focused some where in between the coping and the hitching post and told him to go for it. Within what seemed like 30 seconds we had set up and taken the photo, apparently we nailed it.

550D 40mm 2.8
F 5.6
ISO 400
Yongnuo 560 II ( 1/2 power on the right)”

Check out more of Adam’s work here.

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Photo of the Week: Adam Cook

adam cook

My favorite part of this photograph is the composition- it’s almost symmetrical (it would be completely if the homies weren’t chilling (but that’s what homies are for- chilling)). I love the tones and textures in the pipe itself. I like sneaky homie holding the flash and quiet homie way in the back. I’m thinking this photo would look great printed big.

“The guys and I were planning on riding this full pipe in our town all summer but never got the chance to (its one of Lake Eries main waterways, its pretty dangerous to be in there apparently). Anyways, towards the end of the summer my buddy Bryan was getting real serious about riding this thing. He and Herby knew what to do because they were the only ones who rode the thing before. I got a text when I was finishing up a music video for a hip hop artist to get down there and ride it that afternoon. Well I couldnt ride it because my shoulder was still seperated and I knew I only had an hour until I had to help my cousin with something so I grabbed the camera bag and flew down there. When I got there they had already set up the ply wood and woodpallets and were riding it so I got right into shooting.

I couldn’t bring a flash stand because the water was 3 inches high and flowing fast so they had to hold it for me. I snapped a few pictures of Tommy. All of those were vertical and I was leaning on a wall hiding everyone else from the shot (also keeping me out of water). I slipped up and totally soaked my shoes so I said screw it and just stood in the deepest part of the water to get one more picture of Tommy. Andy was up and asked me to get another picture of him going as high as he can. Soaked and short on time I was totally reluctant to do it but I did one last one anyways.

I got home later that day and just applied a preset I made that I usually use on my photos and work from there. Turns out this one was pretty underexposed and looked a tad out of focus so I pretty much trashed it from the start. I came back to the computer later and just tried to see how much I could fix it by bumping the exposure up a ton and boosting the whites, all it did was make it worse. Black and white was my last option because I really liked the colors of that place.
I played with every possible adjustment lightroom could offer in attempt to save this photograph and this is what I came up with.

Weird sometimes that the photos you may think are your weakest end up being the best in that set.

Canon 550D
ISO: 200
@ 40mm w/ 40mm 2.8

1 Yongnuo 560 @ full power to the left of the rider near the ground.”

See more of Adam’s work here.

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