Skateboarding photography

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by GoldenMarvel, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. GoldenMarvel

    GoldenMarvel Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hello APUG!

    Tomorrow I'm going to be photographing my friends skateboarding, and I could use some tips. I plan to use my new Yashica FX-3 with the 50mm lens, and while I'm not exactly new to analogue photography, I'm new to completely manual cameras. Up until now I've been using a Canon EOS Rebel 2000, and I've mucked around with film speed and the other settings, but I could use some knowledge.

    I could use any information regarding motion photography, panning photography, aperture settings, any links would be highly welcome too!
    Thanks very much!
     
  2. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Google "SBC Skateboard" and/or check for other online magazines--should be lots of image ideas available to suit your equipment. Just try to do the most with what you have rather than blow film on shots that demand fast AF and flll flash.
     
  3. BradS

    BradS Member

    Messages:
    4,219
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    S.F. Bay Area
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Find a place to stand. Prefocus on a spot where there is something interesting happening over and over. Set you aperture around f/16 and set the shutter speed accordingly. This will all work MUCH Better with fast film...you'll want at least ASA400.

    Now wait for the interesting thing to happen at your chosen spot.
     
  4. stevco

    stevco Member

    Messages:
    91
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    Location:
    Macedonia, O
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I've just was whooting skateborders.

    I was using Minolta srt 101 + 35mm 2.8 lens with BW film, i found that 58mm 1.4 was too long for approaching closer to the skaters - which is very important thing.

    Shoot them from close, low angle is good. Also shoot from a distance, skateborading is like shooting street, there should be more of the surrounding. I was experimenting with slow exposures like 1/30 and following the movement of the skaters, and i was getting interesting results with blurred background from the motion.

    I also used borowed DSLR with fish eye and ultrawide lenses, and this is even better option if you have a chance.

    Excuse my english :smile:
     
  5. rphenning

    rphenning Member

    Messages:
    341
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    California
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    wheelsandwax.com
     
  6. drkhalsa

    drkhalsa Member

    Messages:
    152
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I photographed some skateboarders with an F5 and 70-200mm lens. Found out that it is better to go wide, so a manual focus lens is just fine.
    In a brief conversation with Jonathan Mehring, staff photographer with Skateboarder Magazine, he told me he mostly uses nothing longer than 70mm and lots of wide angle. So all of the advice above is great.
     
  7. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

    Messages:
    2,262
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Location:
    Warwickshire
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I shot a lot of skating in the '90s, it was my main focus for years. My tips:

    Get as close as possible
    You need 1/1000 to freeze the action
    Pre-focus where the skater will be when doing the trick
    As you're shooting your friends speak to them about what they're going to do and where, watch the first few attempts as this will help you to determine the pre-focus position and the timing
    Hold the shutter button half way down so your reactions will be almost instantaneous - you need a really good reaction time with this
    Get low to make the trick look higher, wide angles work best here, but even with your 50 it'll work
    Be careful for flying boards - I've never met a skate photographer who hasn't had a board hit him
     
  8. blind_sparks

    blind_sparks Member

    Messages:
    118
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, W
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I used to shoot skateboarding with my friends, and most of what has been said here applies.

    -Preset as much of your equipment as possible (Exposure, focus, etc.)
    -Focus on the area that you think the height of action will occur. Ask your subject to stand still at that area to set the focus.
    -Generally, a middle to small aperture (ƒ5.6-16) is preferable if light allows.
    -Most skateboard photography is shot with a wide angle optic, 28 or 35mm, and often wider. This elongates the space and makes the trick seem all the more impressive. Fisheye lenses are kind of the norm. If you want a cheap way to get the fisheye effect, you can purchase a fisheye filter lens and screw it onto the filter ring of your wide angle lens. 50mm lenses are good for shots taken further from the action, as the field of view of 50mm lenses is too narrow close up and seems "bland"
    -When I was shooting, I had a Nikon F2 with the big-a$$ motordrive attached to the bottom of it. I would pre-focus and set my exposure, then lock the mirror up to get the full frame-rate out of the drive. Since I was using a 28mm lens with the fisheye filter attachment, all I had to do was basically point the camera in the general direction of the action and I would get the shot. It was also nice to be able to pick an individual frame from the sequence, or perhaps overlay them together in the darkroom. In short, motor drives are nice to have if there's one available for your system.
    -And in the words of Capa: "If your pictures aren't good enough, you weren't close enough." If your optic is wider, you should get as close as possible to fill the frame with the subject, not the space. Just watch your head. I've been painfully hit with many a deck. Thankfully, I had my camera to protect my face =P.

    Good luck and happy shooting!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2010
  9. lxdude

    lxdude Member

    Messages:
    6,907
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    Redlands, So
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    What I've observed about skateboarding photography, is often flash is used to give adequate light or to fill when ambient is adequate. The skateboarding shooters I've talked to like a powerful flash with wide angle attachment or zoom, or diffusers to provide coverage. The big Sunpaks are popular around here, with the 555 what I see most often. This apparently has to do with them being powerful, reliable, and inexpensive. I have a 555, and a couple of local shooters have offered to take it off my hands if I decide I don't need it.
     
  10. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

    Messages:
    2,262
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Location:
    Warwickshire
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Here's a particular favourite, I was quite lucky with this, but timing is often crucial.

    [​IMG]

    FM2 + 16mm fisheye.
     
  11. GoldenMarvel

    GoldenMarvel Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thank you so much everyone! I'm really itching to get out there now
     
  12. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

    Messages:
    2,262
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Location:
    Warwickshire
    Shooter:
    35mm
    One other tip, in skateboarding there are two 'stances': goofy - right foot forward, and regular - left foot forward. Take note what stance your subject is as you want to make sure his face and not his ass is the focus of the photo!
     
  13. blind_sparks

    blind_sparks Member

    Messages:
    118
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, W
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    @perkeleellinen

    Nice shot! A true decisive moment.

    [​IMG]

    One of my fav's of mine, even if it's only a wallplant...
     
  14. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

    Messages:
    2,262
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Location:
    Warwickshire
    Shooter:
    35mm
    That's a great shot - the shadow is excellent.
     
  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Like anything, it is all about composition and light. You can shoot any subject and make it look good if you pay attention to these basic things.

    If you want to freeze action with that lens, I would use '1000 or faster, though IME '500 does just fine for skateboarding pix with a 50mm. Choose a film that will allow these shutter speeds in the light that you have the day of the shoot. You can do it with a medium speed film in strong light, but I would also have some fast film on hand.

    With panning, you just have to experiment a few times to find which shutter speeds work best for you. I'd start with '60 and try various speeds on either side of it to see what you get.
     
  16. stevco

    stevco Member

    Messages:
    91
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    Location:
    Macedonia, O
    Shooter:
    35mm
  17. dasBlute

    dasBlute Subscriber

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  18. lxdude

    lxdude Member

    Messages:
    6,907
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    Redlands, So
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I was a skateboarder as a kid in the 60's, before the advent of modern wheels. Frequent wipeouts were a certainty, and most of today's tricks were impossible.
    I get a real kick out of seeing kids in other parts of the world looking the same, using the same terms and doing the same things as the kids around here.