“Sometimes all you need is a little bit of luck when it comes to photography. Usually you try to plan everything out to the last detail, but sometimes things go a little haywire and you scramble at the last second to pull it all together. That situation is exactly what happened when capturing this image of Matt Lough doing a ledge ride to drop in Joliet, IL while filming for his latest edit.
Matt and Anthony Loconte, hit me up when they were going to head out for a evening of filming about 35 minutes outside of Chicago; they had said there was a set up Matt wanted to hit up around golden hour. So, I had braved rush hour traffic and headed out to Joliet to meet up with them and we kind of just cruised around and played on some nibble spots while we waited for the light to be just right. Once we were ready we headed over the the set up, which was a pretty tight ledge ride to drop that went right into a busy street and down hill. So, we tried to figure out the angles for the video and where I can get a clear photo of everything and still be out of the way of the second video angle. I settled on a head on shot, since it flattened things out and I just liked the clean look of everything as well as the side lighting coming through from the sunset. The street where Matt would land into had tons of traffic and we had to wait for the right moment where the traffic lights synced up and he could get a go at it. I knew it would most likely be a one and done situation and I had to be ready. Myself and our friend Pat Richert were on traffic duty keeping an eye on everything and all of a sudden I glance up and Matt was heading down the ledge. I guess Pat had yelled and gave the OK to go and I hadn’t realized it, while still looking at traffic. So I pulled my camera up to my eye and tried to get everything composed and lined up to where I had wanted to have him on the ledge although he was already getting to the bottom of it and I just got to fire 2 quick shots. Magically on the second shot he was coming off the ledge and the brief second where his elongated shadow synced up with the overpass tunnel was captured. I had originally wanted Matt a bit further up on the ledge, and I was super upset at myself for practically missing the shot I wanted, which I wouldn’t get a second go at. Afterwards, some of the crew really digging the shadow image I kind of started to appreciate it more and more. It was all pretty serendipitous and there was something rewarding about scrambling and getting something probably a little better than what I had originally planned.
NIkon 50mm 1.8 AF (Old Version)
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Timothy Burkhart portfolio
The first-ever Push It A Stop video contest was judged by Mike Mastroni, Charlie Crumlish, Ryan Navazio and myself.
Thanks to everyone who entered- all of your shots were damn good. In the end we chose the shots with the smoothest tracking and zoom, the more striking light, use of unconventional angles and all-around cleanliness. The gear used was not taken into consideration, nor was the trick being executed. Remember that cameras don’t film people, people film people. You can make a beautiful shot with cameras of any price range and a little bit of work.
Honorable mention #1: Anthony Loconte – A very smooth tracking glidecam shot with a gorgeous blue sky, a pleasing depth-of-field and bonus points for the use of a graduated ND filter.
Honorable mention #2: Eddie Olschansky – Even though there’s another filmer in the shot, that shadow cast on the wall is super powerful and the overall lighting is very dramatic. I guess I never said there was no slow-motion or editing allowed, so I’ll allow it. Bonus points for hand-zooming with the 24-70mm f/2.8L.
Honorable mention #3: Jacob Hope – I find it hard to believe but Jacob says this was filmed on his first day using the GL2. I’m usually not a fan of foreground objects but it works for this skatepark shot of Morgan Wade. Bonus points for Oasis playing in the background.
Third place: Dylan Thompson – Despite the not-quiet skateboard wheels, this shot uses zoom nicely- going from wide to open and give context, zooming slowly on the rising action and isolating the trick and the rider towards the end. The rolling dynamics are beautiful- the way the rider is moving opposite the camera in the beginning adds an illusion of high speed. Then as soon as the rider’s direction switches, the shot becomes super fluid with the action moving in sync with the camera, making the nose manual look so much more majestic. The lighting throughout the shot is also on point.
Second place: Justin Browne – Nazaz said it best- “I hate that trick but the way it was filmed made me like it.” Personally my favorite part of the clip is how the rider emerges from shadow into golden light as soon as he hops up those stairs, about to hit the rail. The color of the rails complement the warm ambiance as well. The angle is choice (except for how it understates the height of the rail- although it doesn’t look to be too tall in the first place). The zoom is super smooth throughout and the rider’s exit is very graceful while the camera slowly comes to a still shot of the warm ground.
First place: Jeremie Infelise – This was the only shot that was on everyone’s top three list. I am partial to any tailwhip shot from above because of the way the bike looks spinning around under the rider- almost a point-of-view angle. Jeremie chose the most difficult way to film this trick- by climbing a tree- and it definitely paid off. Much like in the second place clip, the vantage point might make the rail look a bit shorter, but let’s be real for a minute- Jared Swafford is like 7 foot-a-million so any rail is baby to him. The shot opens with just a still shot, tree limbs in view, with no rider in sight. You can’t even see the rail yet. Much drama. Then here comes Jared, with a smooth track, hopping onto the rail. As soon as he’s on the rail there are no longer any obstructing tree limbs in the shot- just rider and obstacle (the angle further isolates this relationship- there is nothing else in frame to be distracted by. He launches off the rail and kicks a near-flawless tailwhip (the dynamics of which I previously explained)- all the while the camera zooms ever-so-slightly, keeping rider almost perfectly framed in a clearing of branches. He lands, obviously not directly to pedals (we aren’t judging the trick, remember that) but here’s the kicker- you can’t see him fix his footing because of the branches in our line-of-sight. Either Jeremie ingeniously foresaw this situation or it happened serendipitously… It doesn’t matter. It worked perfectly. Jared rolls out of frame and the camera swiftly tilts and zooms to the ground, the sure sign of a successful clip.
Look out for the next contest in the coming weeks.
Posted in Art, BMX, Contest, Gear, Tech, Video
Tagged 7d, Anthony Loconte, Canon, contest, Dylan Thompson, Eddie Olschansky, Filming, Glidecam, Jacob Hope, Jake Bohrer, Jared Swafford, Jeremie Infelise, Justin Browne, Kordel Caro, Long Lens, Matt Lough, Mike Gray, Morgan Wade, Push It A Stop, Sony, Video, VX2100