Rain and high winds have temporarily stopped play on the shoot front (back to it tomorrow, though)... which gives me time to write about the new What Mountain Bike cover.
This is Specialized R&D manager Brandon Sloan putting the company's flagship S-Works Stumpjumper FSR through its paces on a dusty Santa Cruz corner in November 2007. The cover ties in to one of the issue's main features - a behind-the-scenes look at how this expensive but beautiful machine was brought to life.
The cover itself was straightforward enough to shoot, but it was only a small part of the package that I'd been commissioned to produce. I had just two days to bag the cover, interview the engineering team responsible for the bike - on this occasion I was both photographer and writer - and get all the shots needed to illustrate what turned out to be a monster 10 page feature. Great weather and seemingly limitless help from the guys at Specialized helped, but I didn't have any time to spare (in fact, I managed to miss my flight down to LA the following day...)
Still, it was worth the effort. I spent some time shooting the bike in a workstand in Specialized's test lab, with the idea of getting a packshot a little different from the norm. Mono suited the lighting and I was pleased with the result, which ended up opening the feature:
Although I was worried about not getting all the shots I needed, in the end it turned out that I over-shot a little. Always better to do it that way, of course, but there were some nice shots that didn't find space in the mag. Here's one of my favourites, shot on the same corner as the cover just as the sun was setting:
Despite the time constraints, this kind of job is always satisfying to finish. Shooting features is often a logistical exercise as much as anything, juggling locations and people to get all the shots that are needed. It also stretches my photographic abilities, demanding every kind of image from well-lit product close-ups to atmospheric portraits and, of course, plenty of action. But that's the challenge, and that's why I enjoy it.