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BMX Bikers Shoot Report

[Friday April 26th 2013] I just got home dusty, tired and happy. Tonight I've been at a Welshot event where we've been shooting BMX Bikers. It was hosted by the very talented motor sports photographer, John Evans . On the journey there I'd encountered some horrible traffic and arrived in a foul mood; I hate being late for anything. But the whole situation with young guys racing around on their bikes, jumping them and skidding in the gravel was so damn joyful my bad mood was very quickly gone and I got down to the business of catching some action shots. I started out with the 24-70 on the 5Dmk2. 

The light was good and there were signs of a promising sky so once I'd got my eye in I started playing around with off-camera flash. I set the 580EX on a remote trigger and put that on top of the little stand that comes with the flash. I put those beside the track and started playing with numbers until I'd got a nice balance between ambient and flash. 60 minutes and a few different positions later we were all ready for a hot drink. It was kinda windy and cold, especially for those of us lying on the lymestone gravel and concrete track. I hadn't really chosen the most appropriate attire and when I tried to lay down on one sloping part of the track I found myself sliding backwards downhill, covering every inch of myself with a thick coating of grey white dust.

After our drinks the sky was looking fabulous so I grabbed a few silhouettes of the kids against it until the light dropped to near darkness and it was back to the off-camera flash again. This time, for a bit of fun I decided to use the X100 so I put the remote trigger on top of the little camera and spent a very happy 30 minutes discovering that the Fuji really can hold its own against much bigger cameras.

Overall I had a fantastic evening. The politeness and good humour of the photographers and bikers combined with the pleasure of seeing young people racing around doing jumps and tricks on their bikes made my bad mood vanish instantly. Both cameras handled wonderfully and my love affair with my X100 has been cemented even further. See the whole collection here.



Photoshoot - Samii's Kinky Kex

Sometimes it seems like everything is against you. Samii Bliss, who I've worked with quite a lot since starting shooting models, texted me to say that she'd been loaned a fantastic latex outfit from her designer friend, Kinky Kex, and she had to give it back in a few days. Would I like to shoot her in the outfit before it was gone? Kex, or more normally kecks is a north of England slang word meaning trousers, by the way. So of course I said I'd love to. Samii's fun to work with and her partner Ashe always comes along too. We have a laugh and Ashe is really helpful when it comes to adjusting Samii's hair or outfit. That helps me to keep a professional distance.

The shoot was setup for a weekday evening at 8:30pm. Normally we shoot from my "studio" which is actually the stock room at my little company's offices. Today, however, that was clearly not going to work out. I opened the stock room and flicked the light switch. Nothing. So I bravely flicked on my handy dandy flashlight - the flash on my mobile phone - and headed inside to look for a fuse box. I found one way at the back. No dice there, though, so I headed inside the main office to look for a fusebox there and this time I found one with a breaker tripped to "off". Aha said I and flicked it back on before heading back into the stock room. Click.. light! And then immediately darkness again. Bugger. A couple more tries and trips confirmed that the studio was going to remain dark for the rest of the evening.

So this was one of those occasions that having Ashe along was a godsend. He was kind enough to help me lug all my gear - backdrop, lights, reflectors, stands.. everything, into the main office and into the print room. Not as big as the studio but the biggest room available with power. So we pushed some printers out of the way and set everything up. It was an interesting location to work in. The lack of space meant my lights were closer than I would have liked and as a result there are some hot spots I'm not fond of in the final images. A little creativity with a reflector helped later in the shoot. But by the time we'd messed with the power, moved all the gear and finally got shooting time was slipping by and we didn't have all that long. We shot for maybe an hour and a half and then stopped. 

It was a short shoot but a great outfit that inspired some quirky poses from Samii and some off-kilter stylings in my post processing. We wanted to make sure all the outfit parts were on display, especially the company name, which meant dedicating some time to the "booty shot". I had this idea of Samii dangling a hand behind her back just above the latex pants just to give it a little something. In retrospect I now wish I'd asked her to cross her fingers as though she was telling a lie. I think that would have made a fantastic shot with the latex pants and the name. I wanted these shots to be all about attitude and I think we captured some of that despite the very limited time and space we had.

We ended up with 5 finished processed photos out of 196 shot on the night. There are still a few in there that I might go back and work on. Take a look and let me know what you think. And you can count on me re-using that crossed fingers idea in a future shot!