In case you've not seen it yet, Privateer 6 is in the shops now and features my 'day in the life' story with UK pro freerider Chris Smith. The first time I worked with Chris was around seven or eight years ago - I needed a rider to shoot a 'how to' feature, and Chris was both local and available during the week. I'd been told he was good, but I didn't realise quite how good until he made everything I asked him to do look easy.
It wasn't long before I was working with him again, this time on his own terms. It was quite an eye-opener. Back then Chris was a rising star with a point to prove and he was arguably going bigger, further and higher than just about anyone else in the UK. Over the next few years we collaborated on several projects, working together to put together picture-led pieces tailored to the UK mountain bike mag market. These are typical of the images we've shot together:
Nikon D3, 16mm f/2.8, 1/200sec f/5 @ ISO3200, two radio slaves
Nikon D3, 80-200mm f/2.8, 1/250sec f/2.8 @ ISO1600, two radio slaves
Nikon D3, 14-24mm f/2.8, 1/320sec f/8 @ ISO200, two radio slaves
The thing is, despite working with Chris over all those years, I'd never really seen how he operates when there isn't a photographer around. I know he spends a lot of his time riding, building new lines, videoing himself and working towards new mag features... but I'd never actually seen any of it.
So late last year I turned up at Chris's house one morning and spent the day being a fly on the wall. Well, a fly with a D3 and a bag full of fast lenses, anyway. Chris went through a normal day, I poked a camera in his face from time to time... and the resulting story and pictures are splashed across several pages in the new issue of Privateer.
It was refreshing to have no particular story to work towards, with the bonus that Privateer is effectively a blank canvas for features. There's no particular house 'style' to shoot for, leaving me free to take an approach that doesn't normally work. First, I left the flashes at home. Despite the fact that it was a dull day, I knew my fast lenses and the D3 would allow me to deal with anything that I came across - and for once, I wasn't concerned with lighting any set pieces. Second, I shot mono. Or as close as you can get with digital - I shot with mono in mind, then converted the raw files using Bibble's mono processing plug-in.
Actually, I briefly flirted with the idea of a desaturated, 1970s colour neg look, like the pics below. But, after days of indecision, I stuck with the original mono plan. Check out the results for yourself by picking up a copy of the mag at your nearest stockist...
Nikon D3, 200mm f/2, 1/1250sec f/2 @ ISO3200
Nikon D3, 85mm f/1.4, 1/60sec f/5.6 @ ISO400
Nikon D3, 200mm f/2, 1/1600sec f/2 @ ISO1600
Nikon D3, 200mm f/2, 1/800sec f/2 @ ISO3200