Steve Steinmetz / December 6th, 2023 / Photo Journal
PHOTO JOURNAL: Steve Steinmetz #20

Back in April, Adam Bazydlo reached out, saying he’d be in San Diego for a week and wanted to meet up. This posed a challenge for me because I was working full-time and had just become a parent, “I’ll let you know when I’m available.” But seeing him and Art Garza on Instagram skating without me, I knew I had to prioritize quickly before he left town.

He mentioned wanting to shoot a trick through a hole in a fence in Pacific Beach, a location I knew and thought would make a great photo.

I arrived at Adam’s place after work and we headed to the gas station he had in mind for the shoot. We knew we didn’t have much time before the gas station attendant would ask us to leave. Fortunately, Adam’s charisma worked wonders, and he negotiated a fifteen-minute window for the trick.

As a photographer, it’s crucial to consider the time of day for a shoot. Shooting in the late afternoon can present challenges like shooting into the sun and capturing fast movements. In this case, I had no choice but to shoot into the sun because a bush obstructed other angles. My initial test shots didn’t turn out as desired.

Shooting right into the sun…

Adam attempted the trick several times with a group of homeless onlookers cheering him on. He nailed the gap each time, but my camera’s shutter was too slow to capture the grab correctly, and there was unwanted motion blur due to the bright sunlight. I also wanted a wider frame to include the run-up, landing, and fence hole.

To improve the shots, I asked Adam to repeat the trick multiple times. With each try, he grabbed slightly earlier, ensuring he was fully grabbed as he passed through the fence hole. To address the issues, I adjusted my camera settings to a high sync mode, using a higher shutter speed than my sync speed and utilizing both the shutter and flash to freeze the action. I also positioned the sun behind a light pole to minimize unwanted sunlight in the frame.

Bazydlo / Mute Gap

In total, Adam executed the trick five times in fifteen minutes. I took these shots using my Sony A7iii and fisheye lens, with settings at ISO 100, F6.3, and 1/800. My strobe was set to full power and high-speed sync. — Steve Steinmetz

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