New product photography in the studio. Here's the approach:
Helmet is hung from the ceiling with rope and black thread. Swivel chair-mounted coffee table for reflection. 2 softboxes on the helmet to show off the contour. One light on a black paper background. One flash directly into helmet to light up the inner liner.
And the final result with two images combined:
This one is similar but the shoes are lightly fastened to a rock.
Yesterday's plan of attack was to get some product-in-action photos of one of the bikes I am reviewing. The idea is to show off the capabilities or purpose of the design of the bike. I was hoping to get two shots, but once I arrived at the top of the mountain and predicted the sky to change within the hour, I rode around awhile before setting up for a nice sunset photo. About 20 minutes after the sun went down, the sky really lit up with vibrant reds.
The point of this photo is to show off the purpose of a single-speed hardtail mountain bike, which is that it's simplicity and minimalistic approach makes it the perfect choice on days when the trails are really gritty. This bike can be rinsed off with a hose and the only maintenence due is a little chain lube. Pretty nice on days like this.
Photos like this sometimes require alot of waiting around time for the light to get just right. I spent an hour. Since not many people feel like waiting around for an hour, I also managed a nice self-portrait of myself riding in this same scene which can be seen on the opening page of the Mountain Bike 2 gallery on the site. --Brad
I am reviewing two mountain bikes this spring for Pinkbike.com and put together some studio images of the bikes. The Transition TransAm and Norco Shore 2 are both awesome bikes that serve two very different purposes, and I'm looking forward to riding these all over our awesome northwest terrain as more of the snow melts in the coming weeks.
Norco Shore 2
I've been saving up for a big purchase lately and finally bought a Tilt/Shift lens. The Nikkor 24mm PC-E Tilt/Shift is one incredible piece of glass. Product shots with a selective focal plane offer some very interesting perspectives and ways to communicate the subject to the viewer.
Tilt/shift enables the focal plane to run across the front axle in the above image
In this example, the focal plane runs diagonally across the rear suspension linkage (the purple part)
Good ol' Cam Burnes, US dealer sales manager of Transition Bikes, is a good buddy of mine and called me up for a night ride at Blanchard Mountain. We hit the trails aboard Transition's newest bike, the TransAm hardtail, which we both have setup as singlespeed mountain bikes. I've been wanting to photograph a particularly neat rock for a few years. It just sits in the woods by itself, surrounded by trees, and hangs over the Pacific Northwest Trail.
I found a nice angle that captured the scene pretty well and Cam patiently waited while I setup the shot. As I took a few test frames, I noticed that the camera was picking up a bit of the light pollution in the sky from Bellingham, which looked orangy-red and had a nice contrast with the other colors in the scene. We couldn't even see this with our eyes, the sky just looked black.
I set up 3 flashes, one for the rock, and one on each side of where Cam would be in the shot to freeze him in the scene. I had him start about 200 feet away and opened the shutter. I yelled for him to look around slowly up at the trees with his helmet light so we could pick up some detail in the trees there, then had him ride down the trail. I closed the shutter right when he was at the ideal spot, and as I did, the rear-curtain flashes froze him as a bit of a ghost.
This shot was a 69-second exposure, which offered a nice amount of that orange sky for ambience. Pretty cool! I packed up my gear and we proceeded to have an awesome ride for 2 more hours. I never thought I would be the type to consider it normal to carry 30 lbs of photo gear on a 3 hour night ride just to setup for an additional hour to get a single photograph, but it was defnitely worth it. --Brad
My buddy Mike Metzger has recently recovered from a serious injury nearly one year ago that left him with a broken clavicle and skapula. With no bones holding his shoulder together, he was wired and screwed together like barb-wire fence. Well, he's back, and his intro back into the scene did not disappoint:
Keep your eyes on the site as Mike and I will be working together some this season to bring you some quality freeride images. --Brad
Commence project blog-catch-up! It's been a busy couple of weeks as I am transitioning into full-time photography, which hasn't left much time for blogging. The weather has gone from frozen with feet of snow to nearly spring conditions on the bike trails. Here's Eric Brown on one of the local Bellingham trails as the sun shows itself for the first time in 2009.