Skateboarding + Fireworks = Quality BTSV

Our good friend Dave Lehl is at it again and this time he's moved out of the snow and into the skate park. To add a bit of flare to the standard skateboarding shot Dave taped sparklers to the bottom of the board and used smoke bombs to set the mood. Check out the full post to a link to the high res finished shots.

To capture the light trail and strobe the rider, each image required 2 passes; 1 long exposure and one strobed exposure that was to be put together in post. To view a few of the high res shots from the shoot check out Dave's blog.

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could you do it all in one shot with long exposure, and then just fire the flash manually when he was in the middle of the slide, or would that look junky?

 That was my tought when I saw that the skater was in the middle of the lighttrail.
The advantage of this method would be to avoid post-processing and to nail the shot in only one skate move.
The advantage of 2 shots are that it's probably easier to shoot (you only concentrate on one thing at at time), easier to adjust separately as layers in PS, and maybe avoids ghosting/shadow from the skater during the move.

 Actually that was what I tried first but it didn't work for a couple of reasons....  One was that in order to get the light trail from the sparklers I was doing a 2 or 3 second exposure.  Despite my best efforts to make it as dark as possible in there (it couldn't be completely dark since the skaters needed to see what they were doing), the overall ambient image was still pretty bright.  Add to that a couple of flashes going off, and the entire scene was super bright.  Also there was a ton of ghosting going on which wasn't looking good.  In order to get the skater sharp with a dark background behind him, I was shooting at an 800th of a second.  Normally I do everything possible to do everything in-camera, but it just wasn't in the cards for these shots.

Jens Marklund's picture

Uhm. If the first shot was dark enough to use a slow shutter speed, shouldn't it be possible? Snoot some flashes with a short flash duration (to freeze the skater while not affecting the rest of the enviroment), and trigger it/them manually while he's in the middle of the trick. I would say that the flashes you used, had too slow of a flash duration and the light wasn't focused enough. So the scene went way too bright, and you got that nasty ghosting as well. Also, how does the skate scene look upon composites? I know they're really strong about using shots where the trick was actually landed, or nobody would care. 

I might be wrong about everything though. If people are interested in this type of combination, search for the lakai fully flared intro. It's pretty intense.

Yes you can.  Would save in post.  Nice twist on the normal skateboard shoots.

Charles Stafford's picture

I have been thinking about doing something very similar. Nice shots.