Tag Archives: Paul C. Buff

Framework: Kriss Kyle for Fuse Protection

crab helmet

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.

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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).

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“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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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“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.

crab helmet

Canon 1DsIII
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
PocketWizards
A strong and helpful Canadian friend

1/250th @ f/16 ISO 100

Framework: Steven Hamilton and a Columbus Dumpster

hamilton dumpster to invert

From RideBMX Issue #204

May 23, 2014, Columbus, Ohio

Canon 1DsIII
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))
Pocket Wizards

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.

ham dumpster 2

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.

ham dumpster 3

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.

hamilton dumpster to invert

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-

ham crop

So the table is looking dialed, √† la Joe Rich, but this angle doesn’t convey the distance he was traveling out of the wallride. This one does-

ham dumpster 1

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-

ham crop 2
Peep the bling tho.

ham dumpster 4 Shot it once natural light for shits and giggles.

Photo of the Week: Derrick Riggs

floyd by riggs

Andy “Floyd” Erickson by Derrick Riggs in Tucson, AZ.

“shooting with a pegless bike rider is always one of my favorites to capture, like this one of Andy Erickson better known as “Floyd”. Like the spot GURU he is, while at a local mexican joint across the street from this, kinda ending the day, he told us about a little jib down the way, there he nailed out this wall 180. after a few slight repositions of the camera this is what we got.

shot in Tucson Az

Canon 1Ds mark III
Canon 15mm 2.8
2 einstein 640 w/ 8.5 reflectors
triggered with pocket wizard plus II’s”

Framework: Austin Aughinbaugh – Opp Hanger

austin opp hanger 640

I literally just got back from shooting this opposite hanger with Austin and thanks to free gourmet coffee drinks, I am super motivated to post this Framework piece.

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.

Here’s the shot without any flashes-
spot minus lights

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.

austin spot 640

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!

Photo Of The Week: Josh McElwee

James-Josh_POTW
“I shot this at the end of April 2014 in Cocoa, Florida. This was taken just after 10 A.M. so the sun was slightly less difficult to deal with, much to my relief. The setup was pretty simple, two lights were used. The key light is an Einstein 640 with a 45 degree reflector at camera left and is slightly hidden by the left edge of the tree. I had it on a stand probably eight feet high and aimed up a reasonable amount in order to concentrate the light on the upper portion of the wall where James is hitting. The backlight is another Einstein with the same reflector about ten feet out of the frame at camera right. In order to avoid the dreaded double-shadow on the wall caused by using multiple lights, I placed the light in a doorway and feathered it slightly away from the wall. This gets the light slightly more off-axis and still gives a good highlight on James.

Tech info: Canon 5D MKII with 50mm f/1.8. 1/200 @ f/10, ISO 100.” – Josh McElwee

Desktop Wallpaper: Raul Ruiz by Chris Mortenson

raul640

During my recent stay in Los Angeles, I linked up with Push It A Stop contributor Chris Mortenson and suggested that we make a photo walkthrough. Within minutes, a shoot with Raul Ruiz was organized and we found ourselves in Glendale, CA a couple days later. The resulting photo can be your new desktop wallpaper by choosing your monitor resolution from the list below-

2880×1800
2048×1536
1920×1200

Here is how the photo was made-

Photo of the Week: Josh McElwee

mulville by mcelwee

“This slab of cement is located in the Indian River along US Route 1 in Titusville, Florida. Mark noticed it while driving into town one day, and we decided that it was great location for a bunnyhop barspin photo.

We arrived around 3:30 in the afternoon, so the Florida sun was in full effect. Since we were in the water, my setup options weren’t exactly ideal for getting the strobes in super close to Mark, which is my first line of defense when trying to freeze action during the middle of the day. The first light that I set up was an Einstein on half-power (320 w/s) on the cement slab parallel to the one Mark is riding. Although I placed it in a rim/kicker light position, it serves as the main light in this case by both lighting the camera-right side of his face, and freezing his spokes (to a degree). The atypical positioning was done in an attempt to get the light a little more off-axis and create some depth, and avoid having flat-looking light.

I placed two more strobes in the water about 15-20 feet from the slab. The large distance is due to the depth of the river, although I might have been able to get away with putting them in closer, I wouldn’t trust having normal light stands in water more than a few inches (a C-stand would be a perfectly safe solution, though). To compensate for the distance, I used an Alien Bee 800 at full power (320 w/s) on a small stand, and another Einstein at half-power on a larger stand. This gave me a reasonably large amount of light to kick some fill into Mark’s face and the front of his bike.

Both the pair of strobes and the single strobe metered at f/11. I ended up shooting a third of a stop under at f/13, just to try and get the sky a tiny bit darker, knowing that I could bring back detail from the flash portion of the exposure in post without much of a hassle. I originally envisioned the photo with Mark in the left side of the frame, but it just wasn’t working out, so I ended up switching the composition completely about halfway through shooting. Mark was nice enough to fire out a whole bunch of these so that I could get the framing and timing just right.

Tech info:

Canon 5D MK II
70-200 f/4
Paul Buff Einstein Strobes (2)
Alien Bee 800
Vagabond Mini Lithium Batteries (3)
Pocket Wizards
Light stands”

See more of Josh’s work here.

See Mark’s riding here.

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