Springwood Skate Park – Top Shots

Back in March I took my camera and my 50mm Canon EF 1.4 lens to the Springwood skate park to do some experimenting with shots. Unfortunately, there were no skaters there, but I still had some fun with angles, colours and lighting at the park.

Here are some of my favourite shots, these were all taken with a Canon EOS 500D and Canon 50mm lens as mentioned above:

Springwood Skate Park - Top Shots
Springwood Skate Park

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6 Skateboard Photography Tips

On Sunday if all goes to plan, I’m hoping to head up to Maroochydore for Red Bull’s Manny Mania Qualifier at the Alexandra Headlands Skate Park. The idea being that I could experiment with some action shots, particularly of skateboarders.

I decided it probably wouldn’t hurt to have a look at what tips are floating around the net when it comes to photographing skateboarders in action.

There are a number of resources I looked at (listed at the end of this post), and it seems to me that the recurring key tips when it comes to shooting skaters are:

1. Get your shutter speed right

This one might seem pretty obvious, but it is also very important. If you want crisp, clear shots, you need a fast shutter speed. Recommendations seem to vary from 1/200 to 1/250 or higher. Realistically though, you just need to make sure it’s fast enough to capture their movement without blurring. So if they are moving fast, set it higher. If they are moving slow, anything above 1/200 should be fine. If you want blur, then slow it down a bit.

2. Experiment with angles

Skateboarding is a very versatile sport with many different tricks and possibilities. An eye level shot isn’t necessarily going to really show off what they are doing though. Low angle shots can make them seem higher and can give a completely different feeling to the image. High angle shots can give you something unusual, and a wide angle lens can help you fit everything in. Getting the sun behind them will give you a silhouette. Getting the right angle can give you cool shadows to play with as well, and you can use them for something different, such as just show the board and legs of the rider with their shadow being the main focus of the shot.

3. Show some attitude/character

Skateboarders can be very interesting characters and you can set some interesting scenes. Get the tricks at their most interesting point to give your shots more character, and show as much of the skater as possible to get their expressions, make the audience interested in what they are doing.

4. Work with your subjects

Skaters are creative too, they are making up tricks and they know what they want to do, so chances are they will have some good ideas for photos and what might work. Talk to them and see what they’d like to do.

5. Be prepared

Manual focus where appropriate, and always have your camera ready to shoot at the right time without the risk of auto focus deciding something else should be the focal point. Using manual focus also reduces the time your camera will need to take the photo, so as soon as you hit the button you’ll have your shot, meaning less chance of missing that perfect opportunity

6. Experiment

Whatever tips there are, experiment, you are a creative and the goal is to get the best shot possible, so try different things. Lie down on the ground to get the best angle, or go climb a try if necessary. Experiment with lighting and lighting sources. Don’t be afraid to try out something new.

Links and Resources

Enjoy and good luck!

Low Light Photography Experiments at Burleigh Heads

I find low light situations quite interesting to photograph as you can get some really interesting lighting with lots of contrast since the backgrounds are often nice and dark. I think part of the reason I find it particularly interesting to experiment with is that I currently don’t have any lenses with a wide aperture, so it is interesting to see what other sorts of effects I can get by changing the ISO or shutter speed.

I had some time earlier in February to spend some time playing with different settings on my camera in low light. There were obviously some really bad shots, but I thought I would share some of the ones I am particularly happy with.

Continue reading to see them, note that this is fairly image intensive.

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Macro Photography and Focus Stacking

As I mentioned back on the 1st of January, I would like to focus on my photography some more this year. As part of that I bought myself a Canon EOS 500D DSLR camera.

Over the past couple of weeks since I got the camera I have been reading a number of articles on photography and I’ve been looking around Flickr and photography blogs a lot more, so I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve come across that I’ve found particularly useful and inspiring.

I found Thomas Shahan’s Flickr gallery yesterday, he’s done some amazing macro photography of various insects and spiders.

Face of a Southern Yellowjacket Queen (Vespula squamosa) - By Thomas Shahan
Face of a Southern Yellowjacket Queen (Vespula squamosa) - By Thomas Shahan
Adult Female Jumping Spider - (Phidippus mystaceus)
Adult Female Jumping Spider - (Phidippus mystaceus) - By Thomas Shahan
Compound Eyes of a Robber Fly - (Holcocephala fusca)
Compound Eyes of a Robber Fly - (Holcocephala fusca) - By Thomas Shahan

Focus Stacking

Thomas Shahan’s macro photography got me looking at focus stacking as he has mentioned using it on some of his photographs. The way I understand it is that it combines a number of photographs of the same thing that all have different parts in focus. It then combines them to bring all of the desired sections of the photograph into focus.

Focus Stacking Links

Palm Treo 750 Review

My Palm Treo 750I received a completely unexpected present from a good friend of mine a couple of months ago, a new Palm Treo 750 running Windows Mobile 6.

I am quite fond of the design of the Palm Treo’s as they manage to incorporate an (almost) full keyboard along with a reasonable sized screen (240px * 240px) without the need to use a sliding keyboard. Sliding keyboards are prone to getting broken much easier in my experience, especially when I’m using them.

Unlike it’s predecessors and most other Palm phones, the Treo 750 runs Windows Mobile instead of Palm OS, and there have been some interesting things implemented in Windows Mobile by Palm. To my understanding, Palm have an exclusive license with Microsoft, allowing them to actually modify Windows Mobile 6.

One of the things I find the most useful is how it displays SMS and other messages in the form of a conversation, similar to how Gmail displays emails, and how Palm OS displays messages received. The addition of a search box on the Today screen is also extremely useful. Simply start to type a number or name and it will search your contacts and make suggestions as you type.

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Sony Ericsson K850i – My Experience

Turning on the K850i.I’ve had my new Sony Ericsson K850i which I bought on the $49 Maxi Cap account with Vodafone for a bit over a month, so I think now is the time to write up how I have found the phone, and how I have found the transition to Vodafone from Optus pre-paid. I’ll break this up into a couple of posts, this one being focussed on the phone.

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