Hayden Ball and I recently created a photo in an abandoned backyard pool for the most recent issue of ONE, so when Hayden texted me about another photo opportunity at a local skatepark, I knew we could create another exciting photo. It was a moderately cold Saturday night on February 29th when I arrived at Linda Vista Skatepark.
Linda Vista Skatepark is currently the largest skatepark in San Diego with several bowls, a street course, and a full pipe. Hayden had let me know that he wanted to get a photo on the full pipe. After warming up and looking at angles, I decided to set up my flash at a 45-degree angle at the opposite side of the pipe facing Hayden. I started at 1/8 power and took a test shot. Using my fisheye lens, I positioned myself at the bottom of the full pipe, looking up towards the transfer that Hayden was doing.
After a few of these shots, I was not happy with how far away Hayden was in the frame. The gradual transition of the pipe made it very difficult to maintain perspective and convey the height of the transfer. I also needed to make sure that I was not a hazard for Hayden as he was finding his lines to get as much speed as he could to get over the mouse hole. I decided to change my angle. I wanted to be closer and almost parallel to Hayden, and I took a few shots from there. The full pipe allows for this different perspective because it has various parts cut as quarters, but I still knew I was too far away, so I changed my settings from full-frame to crop sensor to see if that allowed some artificial zoom with my fisheye. It did help, but I was not happy with that result either! Also, shooting his back sweatshirt against the darkness of the sky lacked separation, and I could not see the mouse hole that Hayden was going over. I was stuck!
I had joked with Hayden earlier that the shot I had envisioned for his trick was going to be unconventional, but if I could pull it off, it’d be great. What if I get into the mouse hole and shoot up towards Hayden as he passes over the hole? Would the lens still catch the perspective and the difficultly of the trick?
I went with my idea after consulting with Hayden and making sure he understood what I wanted to capture. I positioned myself in the bottom left-hand corner of the hole and brought my camera towards my face, so I had to shoot blind as Hayden was barreling towards me. It was challenging to get the timing so Hayden’s arm wasn’t out of frame. Another challenge was making sure Hayden’s wheels were entirely on the wall when I took the shot. Luckily, Hayden and I worked together, and I made sure to wait as long as I could to get the shot you see above.
I shot this with my Sony A7iii Rokinon 12mm F5.6 1/250 with my flash, a Godox AD200Pro TTL Pocket Flash at 1/4 power, camera left aimed at the mouse hole at a 45-degree angle. — Steve Steinmetz