Saturday, January 01, 2011

Long, Dusty Road


Long, Dusty Road
Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
I recently accompanied my good friend JB to the cross country race series he participates in. I always try to come out and shoot the action if they are racing somewhat local to me. This race was only about 30 minutes from me, so I packed up the gear and headed out for a day of dirt, 2-stroke fumes and race action.

Unlike the past events of this type Id shot, i wanted to shoot this with a bit of a different perspective. Not just shoot the riders going by and jumping. But this time include an artistic element into action photography. These past months Ive been inspired by an excellent professional sports photographer who in many ways I consider a mentor. His name is Ryu Voelkel and he truly is a master of his craft. In his words, he strives to "... Make sports photography more beautiful". I kept this motto in mind as I spend the day shooting the race event. Always looking for unusual angles and perspectives, breaking away from the ordinary and including more of the environment in frame. Ryu has really opened my eyes to a new way shooting action sports. And while he mainly shoots soccer (football), his photography philosophy really can translate to any sport. You can see some of his work here--> http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryusha/ . Not only has "toksuede" motivated me with his photography. But he's a super nice, down to Earth guy who has always been nice enough to respond to every email ive sent him, answering all my questions. You won't find many full time pro photogs willing to do that. So I am eternally grateful for his patience with me. :)

So, I spent the day laying on my belly shooting, hanging off of tree's to get more over the track, firing away with the camera up in the air trying to catch something unique and analyzing my photos in post for interesting crops. Its really changed the way I think of shooting action sports. I think everyone should find a mentor in the type of photography they want to do. It gives you new goals to reach for and helps you see things in a new light. And right when you think you've shot that same old subject to death and nothing can make it look anymore interesting, your mentors work will have you going back through all your old shots to see what you could have done different.

I can't wait to shoot other sports and apply this same type of thinking. I really believe it's the key to expanding my photography skills and opening the door to a new level of work. I feel a lot of great photography opportunities on the horizon for 2011 and many great photo's to come out of them!
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