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Tom Beckman's picture


What could be better. I keep seeing it as if I were there and I feel like it's the best I could do with he situation, but what could be done to improve?

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Randy Boback's picture

You need to get more into the shot. Take a physical risk just like the rider, Make the viewer feel worried the bike could fall on them.

The shot is OK, but there is no DRAMA. Being there, you remember the drama, but now you have to transmit it to the viewer

Try cropping the back of the image out... It is distracting. As well crop off some of the bottom of the ramp. and move the front wheel much closer to the edge of the frame. Like it was about to leap off the picture

Tom Beckman's picture

I definitely don't want to crop this in more. That would take away so much of showing what is actually going on here. There's definitely a very fine balance when talking about extreme sports and cropping. Also with the fisheye I was literally under him. This is an extremely wide lens.

Tom Beckman's picture

Thank you for your point of view though. I will keep those things in mind to possibly make them work with photos in the future

Randy Boback's picture

I may have been a bit harsh, (I tried to do what I said, and while it does bring drama to it, there are some limits. In my version I cut it off after the post on the left guardrail, and I reduced the bottom third of the image mostly just to put some focus on your subject. The image is not bad. But maybe you want to step back from the part you know maybe too well (the bikes and the ramps), and look at what someone who is less familiar with the subject and style might see see or understand.

By the way was that a wide angle or is the building an inverted half pipe. The ramp does not seem distorted but the pipes on the ceiling are.

My point may be a personal one, but I was always taught that a good photo has three parts:

Photography (The technical capture)
Photograph (the subject)
Photographer (What spice you add...)

The first two you may have down pat... so now add more of your spice to it. And remember your audience. Do you want to sing to the choir, or preach to the masses... Add spice accordingly.

Tom Beckman's picture

See to me the subject isn't really the rider. The subject is what the rider is doing.
I personally love the photo, I think it's perfect. But I just like hearing what others have to say and I wanted to put the first post in the group I've made. Haha
As for speaking to the masses. I personally don't really care if others like what I make all that much. If I'm stoked on it that's really what matters. So really I'm just speaking to me. But also I do try to hear other options

Ruth Carll's picture

Hey Randy, thanks for the time and effort on the critique - this second entry particularly. I'm a moderator for another group and we have a group culture of taking screen shots and posting examples of crop (and other) suggestions with our feedback. This group is new and doesn't have a 'group culture' yet. I would recommend going for it and starting this! We all find it helps communication in my group.

Just a thought!

Ruth Carll's picture

Hi Tom, i am here to learn about this style of photography as i understand it is really different from other styles - even other sports (i do surfing work). I say that in case this feedback isnt accurate. This is my opportunity to learn!

I think having the rider/bike facing out of the shot is an issue. Even if only his head was turned and was looking down and into the shot, it would bring the action back into the image. As is, almost the entirety of the shot is behind the action (ie action over - no drama) instead of in front of the action (about to happen - all drama)

I also find that because he is so close to the wall (the front tire looks like it is only inches away) it reduces the dramatic impact of him being airborn. Could he put his foot down and be on the top of the wall? My impression of Randy's feedback, which i agree with, is that if you were at a different angle, the rider would have more dramatic impact because he would be more completely free and clear of the ramp.

I look forward to seeing more of your work! Thanks for posting!

Tom Beckman's picture


So I think the first step is to understand what hes actually doing and that will help you. The point is he's not free of the ramp. He's doing a trick where he puts his front peg on the box above the quarter pipe. The video link will show you more insight on the trick.
As far as posing, i'm not in the position to tell the rider to move. If they're not comfortable they could fall and get seriously hurt. As a extreme sports shooter you're kind of of documenting rather than forming.

Ruth Carll's picture

Very Interesting! Thanks for the video!

This is why I am interested in this group. For surfing, I will take maybe 30 shots of a single run and hope to get one where the action is right and the composition is there too. I guess it is less documentary style.

Again - thanks for being tolerant of my newness and l look forward to your next post.

Tom Beckman's picture

No problem at all.
That's part of the reason I started the group. education for all. We do a lot of long burst shots but not very many when using lighting

Chase Wilson's picture

The spot is kinda lame. And the trick is kind of lame. So the best you can do is get creative on the angle, or on the lighting. Maybe an Ariel view? Some other long lens shot? Not sure the fish is complimenting anything.

Mini-ramp shots are fairly difficult regardless.

Just for fun, check out Price’s images. He does what that guy up here is suggesting. Gets up close at the cost of location and trick. Which to be honest o think is a good way to go on tricks and locations as inconsequential as this.