Skateboarding Photography: Feeble Grind

I was recently watching some YouTube videos about professional skateboard photography by Michael Burnett.  I can’t remember hearing his name before, despite subscribing to TransWorld Skateboarding for several years when I was younger.  Anyways, the photos and techniques he displays in the instructional video are nothing short of top notch.  Being an industry pro, a great technician, and an artist, I just don’t don’t see how a person could be a better shooter than Michael Burnett.

He emphasizes the importance of showing the surroundings in skate shots which makes a great amount of sense.  It’s also pretty clear that his job is showcasing specific professional skateboarders, because the public and the skaters’ sponsors need to see the person doing the 360 flips or whatever.  However since I am predominantly a nature photographer and artsy fartsy person by design, I find myself drawn to shooting “just the details” of the sport at times.

Sk8 pic

A closeup view of Joe Rajsteter grinding a flat rail in New Jersey. My eyes keep getting drawn to the shadow… and I like that.

Above photo is of my friend Joe Rajsteter executing a Feeble Grind.  Photo taken handheld with the Tamron SP 70-200mm VC F/2.8 lens and the Canon EOS 6D.  Exposure settings: 1/1000 F/5 ISO 100

Skateboard Photography: Backside castle flip

Okay, so the actual name of this trick is a backside kickflip.  Photo taken today in New Jersey, and that is my friend Joe Rajsteter partaking in his favorite hobby as he has done for the past 2 decades.

NJ skate photo

Joe Rajsteter showing he is king of this New Jersey castle by nailing a backside kickflip. Photo taken with the Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 VC lens and the Canon EOS 60D DSLR.

The intermittent clouds and occasional harsh sun made for challenging exposure conditions today, but I think this frame winds up with a “near vintage” color temperature and tonality.  Photo taken with the Tamron SP 70-200mm VC lens and the Canon EOS 6D DSLR.  Exposure settings: 1/1000th F/2.8 ISO 250, 177mm focal length.

Skateboarding photo from today

I went out with my friend Joe today so that I could challenge myself to some action still and motion footage, his challenge was to land some skateboarding tricks.  There are plenty of variables involved in getting quality extreme sports shots, so I was happy to come home with a few that I liked it.

skateboard trick

Joe popping a skateboard trick off a hip at the skatepark.

Above is a capture of a frontside popshuvit.  I like the frame because you get a nice view of the board in rotation and it’s good some good elevation too!

I was using the Tamron SP 70-200mm VC F/2.8 lens mounted on my Canon EOS 50D.  This combination gives me a fast focusing telephoto lens on a reliable camera with a fast motor drive.  I decided to shoot this frame in a vertical (portrait) orientation, because I think that put more emphasis on the subject in this case.  Other camera settings:  1/1000 shutter with an aperture of F/5.6 and an ISO speed of 200.  I opted for a medium aperture of F/5.6 to get a decent amount of depth of field on Joe but to also provide some separation from the background.  An ISO value of 200 gave me a fast shutter speed, but also provided a nice grain-free image.  The exposure was dialed in manually to give me full control over the ambient lighting.  Tamron’s VC (Vibration Compensation) helped steady the viewfinder for the photo and reduce instances of camera shake.