“A photograph is shaped more by the person behind the camera than by what’s in front of it.”
“A photograph is shaped more by the person behind the camera than by what’s in front of it.”
I love that a BMX community can exist and thrive anywhere in the world at any given time. It’s like flipping over a random rock in a park and seeing a bunch of tiny creatures crawling around and filming bangers with their friends. For this particular instance, the park is the state of Utah and the random rock is the southwestern city of St. George.
I’m not trying to say that these people live under a rock- it’s just a metaphor for their obscurity. The typical American citizen probably wouldn’t be able to locate St. George on a map but if someone were to say that it’s about a third of the way from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City then they’d get a decent idea. With a population of around 80,000, it’s good to see that there are at least five dedicated riders (this gives us an average of one BMX rider for every 16,000 people… Extrapolate that to the other populations and we can loosely calculate there to be right around 20,000 BMX riders in the United States (with 525 in NYC, 1,418 in Southern California and 55 in ATX… does this sound correct? Anyone want to help out with a national/worldwide count?).
At any rate, out of that small sample of the St. George population there is one guy who put in the time to produce a full-length DVD- Jon Tinsley. Using a single Canon T3i with a kit 18-55mm and a Rokinon fisheye lens on a P&C GearBox with a Neewer CN-160 light when needed, the video is filmed smoothly and properly without many frills or unnecessary flashiness. A DIY pinhole was used for the perspective-shifting stop-motion shots used as B-roll and segue shots- a very nice touch to the entire production. Jon used Adobe Premiere for editing.
Since I first read it, the title of the video posed questions. I drew my own conclusion that it was a jab at the church- like when an atheist octogenarian tells his step-grandson “the only people that need to go to church are newlyweds and nearlydeads” or something to that effect. Turns out it’s a sly comment on the population of the area with many young couples copulating and retreating retirees.
The spots in this region of the country remind me a lot of the small Midwestern town spots that I grew up riding- the loading dock behind the shopping plaza, a clutch stacked ledge setup in the elementary school courtyard and a dialed university nearby. I only recognized a few spots in the entire 20-minute video.
I didn’t recognize one song from the soundtrack, however. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it though. Comprised mostly of resurrected psych-rock, there was at least one song that I looked into. Ultimate Spinach is the only band from the soundtrack that I’ve seen used before.
The riding struck me as very innovative, given the spots being ridden. There were numerous tireslide moves I was psyched on, including one from Jon himself (his first clip I believe). There’s trails footage and some concrete park but the video is mostly street-based. Riley Carroll has a very memorable section with some flowing lines and unique spinning grind maneuvers. Everyone has a different approach with respective visions that complement nicely in this DVD.
Pick up a copy here.
If you have a video you’d like featured on the site, send a copy to 127 E. 5th street, LA, CA 90013.
Kriss “Crab” Kyle was in town, traveling with Alex Donnachie just to get out of the deadly Scottish winter. Crab had just received a new helmet from Fuse Protection wrapped by his sponsor Red Bull. They needed some promotional photos- a portrait, a still of the helmet and an action shot.
We made plans to head up to Sheldon Skatepark early in the morning before the rush of local skateboarders that occurs every afternoon. We loaded up the van and were at the skatepark around 11. The guys had gone out heavily the night before and there was talk of puke during the drive to the valley. I kept my fingers crossed that we could simply get the shots we needed- nothing more but nothing less.
Crab takes his first through the park and jumps a hip- really the only hip there- only to land almost directly on top of a veteran skateboarder. The guy took a few seconds to get up from the ground and then verbal repercussions ensued. Very vulgar stuff- I won’t divulge the entire conversation but for every five words the guy said there were two obscenities and one genuine Scottish apology. I can’t honestly say that I saw the actual collision but regardless of who was at fault, Sheldon is a skate-only park and OG let us know explicitly that we weren’t welcome, haven’t been for 35 years, as he hobbled back to his rickety pickup and sped off angrily.
“Damn it” I thought. This put a bad vibe to the whole session. I wondered if Crab even wanted to keep riding. I think he was hurt a bit in the accident but definitely not as bad as homie. Homie was in pain. The sun was reaching high noon and the shadows were harsh. On the brighter side, no one had puked yet.
Crab let me know that the hip was shit but we had to work with it. I framed up a shot at a right angle to the landing quarter with the mountains in the background. With the sun at his back, I set up both my Einstein and Lumedyne to light him from the front. Due to parameter requirements, the closest I could get the flashes was still like twenty feet away.
Even with the Einstein near full power with the 11″ reflector next to the Lumedyne at 200w I could only get a f/16 reading. The ambient was at f/13 @ 1/250. I knew there was a lot of motion blur possible so I was ready to pan with the action (follow Crab with the camera so that he wouldn’t be blurry but the background would be instead).
“Boom!” I thought we had it first go. Crab wasn’t happy with his height and wanted to give it a few more. The framing between the light posts and just above the mountain range was spot-on. The entire image was a bit dark but I knew that it’s simple to brighten up a digital image without losing much quality. On top of that, if I were to shoot anywhere below f/13 I’d lose the deep blue sky and get much more motion blur. I opened up the lens 2/3 stop and Crab gave it a few more boosts but still wasn’t happy with his height.
At this point I opted for the fisheye because Crab didn’t think he was going high enough and that helmet I’m supposed to be showcasing was just a small blip in the photo.
I could get my flashes a lot closer and started to get a reading near f/22. Still shooting at f/16, I knew this would create a perfectly highlighting sidelight. I stumbled upon an undesirable angle when shooting any curved objects with a fisheye- the inside of the curve (you always want to be on the outside of a curve with the fisheye or else everything will look flattened out and not curved).
Beyond that, you couldn’t even see the helmet. I knew this called for some drastic measures. For his next go I held the camera over my head to try to get an extremely close shot.
Ok, ok, now we were talking. I just needed to be a little more controlled than just holding the camera above my head and hoping that I’d have both the rider and the ramp in the photo. I looked for objects to stand on but saw nothing. Then it struck me. “Dill! Dill!” I yelled. I knew for a fact that Dillon Lloyd would be more than willing to help out. He put me on his shoulders without a pause and I gave Crab the thumbs up.
“Got it” I yelled. Dill let me down and I gave him a hug. Crab saw the photo and was very pleased because he still thought he wasn’t boosting high enough. There is still some motion blur in his spokes but it’s very minimal and I had a feeling the client would still be happy about the shot. And they were.
After some very minor curves adjustments and literally no cropping (that never happens for me) we had a final image.
Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 fisheye lens
Paul C Buff Einstein 640w flash w/ 11″ reflector @ near full power
Lumedyne Action Pack 200w flash @ 200w
A strong and helpful Canadian friend
1/250th @ f/16 ISO 100
“Last week we were riding in Antwerp & noticed this abandoned boat in the harbor. So one week later we went back to the boat with all the equipment that I needed. We row to the boat in a little rowboat with two pieces of wood as paddles. When the flash was set up on the boat I took a couple of test shots before the final result. I’m really stoked on how this photo came out !
Canon Eos 6d
Canon Ef 70 – 200 mm f 2.8
1 Yongnuo 560 II on the rider’s right (full power)”
“So Ben Towle & Myself were out filming a couple of street clips around 11pm the night before this photo, he was sending up a few hop whips flat ground and I shot a few but they had horrible lighting and the location was poor (Scunthorpe) so we got talking about perfect locations to shoot a photo and we both thought about the Humber Bridge. It’s only a 20 minute drive from where we live so that is pretty convenient. We figured the best time of day to shoot the photo would be really early in the morning so natural lighting was good enough but the roads weren’t too busy. After we pictured what we wanted it to look like we just thought we may as well just go do it in 5 hours’ time at 4am when the sun rises. We headed down, I got various different photos but the main one we pictured came out perfectly, so yeah not much else to it. I must give Ben credit for sending about 50 hop whips so I could get the perfect photo haha.
Canon 18-55mm lens
1/125 @ f/5.6”
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Reagan Riley, toboggan
“I had been wanting to shoot something with Regan for some time. After a few failed attempts to shoot together, due mostly to my family/work schedule I made plans to meet with him at a ditch I had seen him post on his Instagram. This thing is not easy to ride at all, but its home turf for Regan plus it defiantly helps that the dude can shred. After several failed angles and waiting on the sun to get lower than f16 I finally found the angle I wanted and here is one of the few fun shots we got that day. Hope you enjoy!!
Shot specs were:
Sunpak 622 to camera left @ 1/2 power with Pocketwizard PLUS II Receiver
Sunpak 555 to camera right @ 1/2 power with Pocketwizard PLUS II Receiver
Both triggered by Pocketwizard Flex TT5 so since Regan was in the upper section I can boost up the shutter to 1/500th sec.”
Join the Flickr group (we just hit 5,000 photos!) and you could be next week’s spotlight!
I’ve been pretty active with the Push It A Stop Flickr lately and have been noticing a lot of photographers work level increasing rapidly which had me thinking damn, I haven’t done a photo of the week in a long time. From now on check back here every friday to see who took the top spot. I guess you could say “first up” is Nick Wotton with this downside whip of Ant Richards. Keep Reading for some words from the man himself on how this photo went down.
“It was my day off college and my flash stands had just arrived that morning so i was keen to go out and shoot a photo, I met up with some lads from my town and we cruised over to the seafront to meet up with the rest of the crew.
We ended up coming across these black wedges which are pontoons for the harbour, straight away Ants all over them busting out tricks before i could even set up, luckily he was patient enough to let me set up for this whip photo as he is a nightmare at times for sending ridiculous stuff without telling anyone what he’s doing.
Ant is one of the best riders in my area sending pro level stuff with no fuss all day long, But he is fully underground and thats the way he likes it, We waited for the sun to set and then i set up, one canon speed light 540exii fired by pocket wizard flex tt5 to the far left giving him some back light and then the same set up to my right lighting the pontoon and Ants bike, I used a Canon 5d mrkii with a 50mm 1.8 and the mini tt1 to trigger.” – Nick Wotton
Canon 5d mrkii – Canon 50mm 1.8 – ISO 100 – F/ 3.2 – 1/500th
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-