As always click images for a larger view. Thanks
I have a number of full size images from the 2010 Red Bull Rampage displayed in the Oct/Nov issue of International Mountain Bike Magazine. I know Rou over at IMB had a fun time sorting through the hundreds of images I sent his way. I think he made smart choices that go great with his write up on the event. You can check out the issue online here http://www.imbikemag.com/issue8/Details
As I was driving home from Utah a couple weeks ago I found myself in the middle of the Nevada desert watching a pretty massive storm build. The normal photographer thoughts quickly went through my head. First thought was that I need to capture part of this. But what part I thought….you know I wanted all of it. But there I was driving 75mph (legal limit in this area of Nevada) and the first priority after 4 days away from my wife and kids was to keep driving and get home. I think it was the rainbow that finally flipped the switch in my head and I realized that I’d never seen a storm like this before nor one with a vertical rainbow…..and now I needed to grab a shot of this amazing display.
So I did what all good photographers would do. I pulled over, got out my tripod, cleaned the lens (Canon L glass of course), attached the remote trigger to prevent any shake and used a light meter to get the proper settings. Of course I used a camera with a full frame sensor because we all know that in order to really capture all of the data we need one. Oh and yes you were going to ask if I shot it RAW? Is there any other option? People really shoot JPEGs?…………..
Now if any of this set up and gear talk is starting to sound like bull…well that’s because it is.
It is true I took the photo. The bogus steps of capture detailed were listed out just to make a point. First off I don’t own a camera with a full frame sensor, I didn’t use a tripod, I didn’t use a Canon lens and yeah I shot a JPEG. My main point really is that I shot it. I continued on my way at 75mph, reached over to my camera bag, removed the camera and shot through the glass of the passenger window. Did I get lucky? Perhaps. So many people I know go on and on about the gear they need or the certain camera they must have……and how they need to make time to set up and shoot…how they have to shoot RAW and that non Canon glass is crap.
This shot received a lot of attention on Flickr when I posted it. I say thank you to those who commented, but in reality what did I really do? I certainly had no part in creating the wonderful display which I went on to label “Power”. I merely used the chance I had and I’m thrilled that I did. So lets take a time out on gear talk and “rules”….and shoot some photos.
As always click the image for a larger view.
Tokina 12-24 f/4
Chevy S-10 as the moving tripod
I Have a full page image in the new issue of Dirt Rag. We shot this photo in the hills of Simi Valley. I used my strobes to light up this really cool cave like feature we found and Charles was able the make the squeeze through that small opening and ride through it for the shot.Details
While there are always amazing highlights from the Red Bull rampage….there are also the crashes. Here are a few sequence shots I captured.
Chris Van Dine..amazing move and crash
Graham Agassiz ejects mid air
Kurt Sorge Crash Sequence
Mike Hopkins gap jump mid air ejectDetails
I’m hoping the images within this post will do some of the talking about the Rampage as a mountain bike event. Since this is my photography blog I’d like to stick to the photography side of what went down in Utah this past weekend. OK a few words about the event. Even if you aren’t into mountain biking at all….I know you’d be blown away at the moves these guys were pulling all weekend. Huge, large, massive, insane are a few words that come to mind. Sure it looks big in photos….it looks even bigger in person.
Having watched the 2008 event on DVD I had a few ideas of what I was in for from a photography perspective. One thing I knew going in was that it would be dusty. Not a huge deal for me as I shoot outside most of the time. I did nothing out of the ordinary to prepare my equipment for the dust. The only thing I guess I wasn’t ready for was the wind storm that blew in on Saturday afternoon….The gear was fine as I put it away knowing the riders were done for the day. It is very dangerous for them to be up on the ridges in that type of wind. My eyes, ears, nose and skin weren’t prepped for the red sand storm that hit them. Maybe I’d pack some goggles next time? (Note to un named hotel in St.George…sorry for the red towels and shower..it was a LOT of dust)
Two bodies. Not only was I wishing I could divide myself in two in order to cover more ground during the event, I also wish I had brought my second camera body. There is so much action going on both at a distance and close up that having one body with a wide angle and the other with my 70-200mm would have been ideal. Switching lenses outside in the dust isn’t the best practice either….I do it all the time though…Do as I say not as I do.
Waiting for that one shot. I wish I had taken up a few more secluded locations and waited for the riders to come to me. I found myself trying to shoot their entire runs which was nearly impossible do to the size of the event. Again having two of me would help here. It’s very hard to sit and wait with the riders out of your view while you listen to crowd go nuts over what that rider is doing out of your sight….not only as a fan but as a photographer you want to see the whole run. But sometimes you gotta miss all that to get the shot.
Overall it was an amazing weekend filled with great riding. I met some really cool people who love the same things I do and were willing to hang out and talk shop. There was one photo guy from europe..not sure what country..who plopped himself right in the way of my shot…he refused to move at first but finally did after a verbal “REALLY?” from me. You know who you are straw hat euro dude.Details
I’ve blogged in the past about firing my flash units remotely allowing me to place the lights pretty much wherever I want it. While there are a few ways to trigger flash units, I choose to use Pocket wizards. One of the main reasons I went with Pocket wizards for my flash trigger was that I also knew they would work as a camera trigger too.
Inspired by many others before me I knew I wanted to do some remote photography. Meaning I wanted to place the camera in spots where I couldn’t go myself. I wanted those unique POV shots that make you wonder how the photographer got the camera in that spot and how he pushed the button. By purchasing a couple of Pocket wizards I had the first piece of the remote puzzle in place…getting the camera out of my hands. The second piece would be connecting the camera to the objects I wanted to shoot. This is where the magic comes in to play in the form of the Magic Arm by Manfrotto.
The Magic Arm doesn’t pull rabbits out of hats or do card tricks, but once you’ve used one you’ll understand why they call it magic. On one end there is a removable camera mount where you ..well…attach your camera. On the other is the Manfrotto Super Clamp. OK I guess this thing is Super and Magic…anyway the Super Clamp allows you to attach the Magic Arm to just about anything it can fit on to. With a set of pocket wizards and a Magic Arm the next step is coming up with ideas where you can use them.
You’ll notice above that I said you attach your camera to the Magic Arm. So the gear heads who polish their cameras daily and fret over each scratch can stop reading here. There is a risk involved here and your stuff might get bumped, dropped, scratched and or run over. It is the chance you take with these types of set ups. In the skateboard shot below I’ve included the set up shot so you can get an idea of what I mean. I remember posting this shot to flickr and calling it “Trust”. Not only did I need to trust the Magic Arm, I also needed to trust my friend Jason who was doing the riding. If he were to let both feet off the board the camera would drop to the ground. I think the risk was worth it for this shot. The second skate shot I took alone…..and had to really keep in mind what I was doing because after each shot I wanted to hop off and check out what I captured by looking at the LCD on the back of the camera. Again hoping off would drop the camera to the ground.
The two biking shots below each had their own challenges and gear risk. The first shot is of my son who is riding in the street with the Magic Arm attached to the head tube of his bike. He was 8 years old at the time and yes I trusted him to remain in control. We did about 10 tries on this set up and ended up with the right amount of blur while keeping the rider in focus. Notice I didn’t use him in the skateboard shots :-)In the second photo below of the mountain biker, the challenge wasn’t trusting the rider but figuring out the camera settings to get the shot I wanted. I wanted a few things going into this one. I wanted a wide enough angle to get the rider and capture Utah’s amazing landscape and I wanted both in focus. So I had to use a smaller aperture to have both in focus…BUT I also wanted wheel spin to show movement. So to get wheel spin I needed a slower shutter speed. My wants were starting to back me into a corner. Shooting in the afternoon allowed for the smaller aperture, but the slow shutter speed was starting to allow too much light. After a bit of trial and error I was able to get all the things I was looking for in the shot.
For the BMX shot below I placed my camera on a mini tripod and fired the camera remotely. Again there is risk here with the riders narrowly missing the camera each time. These guys were experts and kept their lines straight each time.
There are a number of ways to get remote and POV shots. I’m hoping my post encourages you to get out and try a few. You don’t have to have a Magic Arm or Pocket Wizards to pull these off.Details
The PocketWizard company recently showed me some love with a Facebook, twitter and blog post. This is always helpful in getting more eyes on my work.
I’ve been using their Plus IIs for a few years now and they are bullet proof.Details