What happens if you break the person you are photographing?

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NIKON D70 - 1/320 sec, f4.5 at 27mm

Last week I sent this email out to everyone at the office...

If anyone is mountain biking at Woodhill in the near future, I'd like to tag along to get some action photos.

Or if you know someone that goes out there and doesn't mind having a camera and some strobes pointed at them, that'd be useful too.

All photos will be supplied CC of course.

Just come see me in my office ;-)

Greg let me know he might be going out and so we agreed to meet at 11:00am Sunday.

I told him I wanted huge action shots. But he told me he wasn't that brave and that I'd need someone else. I was vaguely disappointed, but thought I could learn something about exposure and timing and flash placement anyway, before I found that person that had the stones to get some air.

Greg rode off up the trail and I got a couple of photos. Then we wandered up the track some while he found a better spot. Again, 2 more shots and then we tried further up the track. We found a great spot with a cool looking jump. He told me he was happy to give it a whirl as he'd done it before, no problem.

I set up my voice activated light stands (the giblets) and waited for Greg to come down the track.

Above is the admittedly pretty average photo I got of him over the bigger jump.

Below is the result not 2 seconds later. Bruises and buckled wheel.

The Photo

I got 5 photos and Greg got broken. I learned some things about shooting action in the dark in the forest and where and where not to put the strobes. And I learned that I feel very guilty when the model falls down and hurts themselves.

For my own benefit, there was 3 flashes involved. An SB800 off to the camera right. An SB26 camera left and the on camera flash. The off camera flashes were set to 1/4 power, the on camera, full power which is too much. I think the off camera strobes need to be moved back from the subject some. A brighter day would help too to get the shutter speed up a smidge.

Thanks to Greg for allowing me to take some photos and for being so patient and helpful. Apologies to Greg for breaking his bike. I'm not that keen on finding anyone that is braver now, just in case I feel worse about breaking them too.

Post Meta

Posted: Monday, 10 December, 2007 19:41

Captured: 2007:12:09 10:19:43

Add your own comment

  • Oh the irony - this weekend was the first this year that I didn't go mountain-biking. Through you Dave I get to see two people doing the two things I enjoy the most...when I didn't...
    seriocomic - Tuesday, 11 December, 2007 7:47
  • I'm pleased I could fill that gap for you, Serio. Anything else I can do to help?
    Dave - Tuesday, 11 December, 2007 12:58
  • Hey, great story and great pix. I look forward to seeing more. Check out this guy on flickr. He has some good mtb/strobe stuff. http://www.flickr.com/people/wangapoa/
    Paul Green - Thursday, 13 December, 2007 9:16
  • Yeah, those shots are awesome. Now sort out your feed ;-)
    Dave - Thursday, 13 December, 2007 9:39
  • Sorted (I think)! I'm seriously flattered that anyone was watching! Next time you want to try this out at Woodhill, drop me a line. I live close, have the gear (though not the bike anymore), am roughly 40, sometimes order the fish and want to try this too. Maybe together we can do some serious damage!
    Paul Green - Thursday, 13 December, 2007 10:54
  • Paul, excellent idea, am very keen to learn from you. I'll scare us up some Mountain bikers!
    Dave - Thursday, 13 December, 2007 11:55
  • Hello! I am contacting you because I am working with the authors of a book about blogs, and I'd like to request permission to use the photograph you have posted in this book. Please contact me at matt@wefeelfine.org, and I'd be happy to give you more information about the project. Please paste a link to your blog in the subject field. Your assistance is greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Matt
    Matt - Tuesday, 10 June, 2008 9:45

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