Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bridge Spot – Collection 1

Bike Air
The Human blur
My son Ryan is an aspiring skateboarder.  One day in a moment of brilliance I recognized the obvious – why not spend some time with Ryan and his friends shooting some skateboarders.  Just this week, we made it happen.
Will Jump
Will Recovery
I had a small bit of trepidation about this.  Although I knew Ryan and his friend Will were completely onboard, I wondered how the other boarders would react.  I knew that to get the shots I wanted, I would have to get completely up in their faces…and possibly be ready to dodge an errant board.
Another Dance Move
I guessed right about dodging the occasional unguided missile, but my fears about being well received by the skate crowd were quickly dismissed.  After some quick introductions and a few shots, it shortly became a matter of competition for “air time” in both senses of the word.  “Dude, check this out.”  “Hey, over here!”  Their enthusiasm made my shooting that much more fun.
First a couple of photogeek points.  The shots in this collection were taken with three lenses; 70-200 f2.8L IS, 17-40 f4L, and a Lensbaby 3G.  The lighting for these shots was all natural (no flash) and was a bit of a challenge.  First, the shots were taken about two hours before sunset, and second, the Bridge Spot is a set of ramps and other props built completely by the boarders under a I-395 overpass in Washington DC.  Less than optimal lighting.
Defying Gravity
Slide Launch
Because I was shooting under an overpass, I lost a good deal of the increasingly limited light, but even more challenging was the big difference in the light under the overpass and the ambient light outside overpass that frequently became the background in a shot.  In other words, I was dealing with subjects in low light and a bright background – a tremendous range of light.
Light Board HDR
About the processing.  As I was deciding how to process these photographs I had two major considerations; 1) I wanted to maintain or enhance the urban grunge feel of the location and the subject matter, and 2) I had to deal with the difficult lighting situation.  It did not take long to conclude that processing the photographs as single image virtual high dynamic range (HDR) in Photomatix was the way to go.  This allowed me to address both constraints simultaneously.
GE Spot
Ryan at Bridge Spot-5
On the other hand, some of the shots I judged could maintain the feel I was looking for as black and white.  I was pleased with both approaches, but when viewed as a whole, the HDR shots and the black and white did not feel consistent.  For this reason, I will make two posts – one for each approach and let you be the judge.  This post features the HDR, and a second soon to be published entry will present a cohesive collection of the black and white.
Will Green
Segregating the posts speaks to the issue of how a collection of photos works as a whole.  In the case of Bridge Spot skateboarding, the subject matter is clearly the same.  But the look and feel of the two processing methods is very different and my opinion breaks the cohesiveness.  I would be interested in your thoughts once you see both posts.
Land it
Launch  On the Corner
Ryan at Bridge Spot-3
Ryan at Bridge Spot-4  Slide Sneaky
Wishing He Was Older
Will Will Land It
I hope you enjoyed these photographs and learned something along the way.  Stand by for the black and white collection.
Go make some great photography!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome photos! Can't wait to show them to Kenny. I love the urban grunge feel of your pictures, because it really shows how it is.

    I guess I should have taken pictures of Kenneth in the hospital as sort of a public service announcement on the danger of skateboarding without a helmet. :)

    P.S. He's fine. Small concussion (Mom says, there's no such thing as a small concussion) and headache for a few days. Back on the board!