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March 07, 2011


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Bas Wit

One thing that I recently ran in to:
Creating good looking photo's in absolute colorless flat grey weather and landscapes. Just did a shoot 2 weeks ago, straight flat grey sky, no green in the forest, just brown dirt.
Think I managed with some gels on the flash and colorful outfits and just darken the background/scenery, but like to see your take on it.

Bas Wit


Here's my list of fails:-
-full SD card and I lose the epic shot of a rider doing something interesting
-forgetting to fully charge camera, or bring spare batteries
-forgetting to remove filters, then wondering why colours odd or too dark
-not giving the rider "somewhere to go" in the shot
-auto focus picks wrong subject
-rider flattened into hedgerow or background by poor composition
-too much bike, not enough face
-climbs/descents not well accentuated, ride looks flat
-using mulit-shoot to gamble on getting a good shot rather than taking one solid picture


In the interests of not irritating my friends, or when photographing random guys at the gully - prefocusing is a nightmare if you don't know what lines people are taking, and i end up relying on (poor) autofocus.

Also, I hate shooting using flash, I find it very intrusive, not to mention potentially dangerous if someone's distracted before landing. This gives me massive issues trying to achieve suitable shutter speed even at high iso (well, on my equipment, that's 1600. I only have a 400D). Wide aperture helps to an extent, but then the first problem is accentuated as there's such a narrow DOF to catch them really sharp!

(I also ride at the same time as the people I want to shoot, so it can be a right pain busting ahead and having to jump off your bike, get your stuff out and get ready before they get there. On occasion I will ride with my camera just around my neck if I'm sure of what I'm doing ... but it's always risky. I appreciate this isn't so much technique, but it is one of the things that gets me!)

I would also agree with most of the above!


Oh, except the too much bike, not enough face comment.

I don't like taking photographs of people as the subject on the whole, I guess it's a composition thing. I see them more as an object in the shot, something to show the actions that are occuring, rather than the other way around. This leads to its own set of problems, and often ends up spoiling a shot by making it too personal.


• riding "inability" of subject, so many riders complain "they" do not look like the riders in the mags. funny that!!!
• lack of "drama", the more that can go wrong, something will go wrong. a photo in the bin is one that cannot be sold.
• lack of context, it's trees and a dirt track, could be anywhere!!!
• lack of apparent movement, it's a constant battle of conflicting views, low-shutter-speed = good apparent movement + high risk of subject unsharpness = not saleable *VS* well, the opposite
• balance of flash to ambient, sometimes flash is required to add a bit of "ping" and bring the riders face out of the shadows.
• failure of technology, usually AF. especially true for a canon 1-series camera
• lack of natural light, forces use of a larger aperture or higher ISO
• running out of AA batteries
• the weather, more difficult to pan when i'm shivering!
• reaching into ones camera bag to find one has run out of munchies!! NOOOooo!!!

Seb Rogers

Thanks for all the feedback :) Some good ideas there.

Unfortunately the feature is massively space-constrained, so the majority of your suggestions haven't made it in there. However, it's all given me something to think about and I'm sure I'll return to some of the themes you've suggested on the blog in the future.

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