One Drop, One Pop, One Shot

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I have loved skateboarding since I first stepped foot on one almost 20 years ago.  When life took over and I no longer had time to progress at the sport, I turned to photographing it to keep a hold of something so dear to me.  The problem with that is that if you don’t know anyone that skates, it is a little difficult to photograph it.  I still have friends in San Diego that skate and when I get down there we sometimes meet up, but where I am currently living I do not know anyone that skates.  Because I have a past involvement in skateboarding I do know what to look for in a skate spot so when I spot one I will mark it on a map.

For this shot, however, I did not need to search for spots; this was taken in San Francisco at a spot that has been frequented for many years and, coincidentally, was just downstairs from the hotel I was put up in for a job in The City.  This brings me to why it is one of my favorite shots.

I was photographing a week long conference for a large company that put me and a fellow colleague in a hotel in San Francisco for a week.  The first night I was there (eager to photograph something) I noticed the popular skate spot easily; I had been through that area many times and had seen skateboarders there 99% of the times I had driven past.  As soon as I was checked in and dinner was comfortably in my belly I made a beeline in hopes to get some fun shots.

The first half hour I was wondering around the area I did not see anyone trying anything that I was interested in photographing; there is a certain line in skate photography of the difficulty of the trick relating to the excitement drawn from the photo.  If the trick is nothing too special, the photograph will mirror that.  There was one guy I saw skating smooth, fast, and with a good array of tricks.  Before I approached him I wanted to make sure I had an idea of where and how I wanted to take a shot…  That is, if he even obliged.  I finally had an idea that I approached him with (something he was already trying of course, and close by) and with my luck of course he was exhausted and ready to leave.

So this is where the business side of my business came in handy.  I have talked with many different clients, from social to commercial, and I felt I was pretty good at conveying my ideas in a way that got others on board.  He didn’t seem too into it, but saw that I had my gear all ready to go and set up of lights would only take a minute, so he said yes.  I got everything up, popped off a shot or two to adjust exposure, and gave him the ok.  He dropped his board, popped his trick, and I shot the shutter…  DONE!

One try for the skater, only one shot taken by me, and this is the result.  Because of the circumstances, this is one of my favorite skateboarding photographs I have taken to date.  No more than three minutes before this was taken all of my equipment was in my camera bag, and no more than two minutes following it we were each going our separate ways!  I really feel the story behind this one gives a new intrigue to all who view it.

Enjoy!

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What’s to come…

So it has been a couple months since my last post, and I always say I am going to try to post more often so I won’t say it this time. However, in an effort to try to post more often, I am every so often going to try something new.

In addition to what I normally write about, I am going to try to throw in the occasional posting of one of my favorite images that I have shot. This could be a wedding shot, or some random street shot… Just whatever I’m feeling that day. What I want to do, though, is give a little background story of how the photo came to be. Whether that be as a “how I did it” post or just a little story of my thoughts or feelings the day the shoot took place, will probably change depending on the chosen image.

Some of the photos might come from my website (and if you have yet to view my website, please do so at http://www.ksj-photography.com) but some might very well be work that I never have posted in the digital world. I might even dust off the old negative scanner and throw a film shot in there if your lucky! Either way, stay tuned for future posts and maybe you’ll see something that inspires you…

How to Learn Photoshop?

So it has been a while since my last post; I have been a little busy. In addition to my photography, I also substitute teach High School. It is part of a process to obtain teaching credentials in hopes to teach photography at some point. Over the past six weeks, I have had a long term sub job in a photography class and it has been quite eye opening in regards to how people understand photoshop from a beginners point of view. Not only was I (hopefully) teaching the students, but I was learning as well.

It has been close to 15 years since I was starting to work with photoshop, and not only has there been major improvements in the program itself but in my ability as well. A lot of what I do has become second nature while I am working; keyboard commands, color correction, workflow, etc. These are things that I take for granted when I hear about someone just getting started with the program. I like to think that I am a good "teacher" of photoshop when I'm helping a friend dig a little deeper with the program and their photos, but how well can I teach someone who isn't doing it for fun, rather, as a requirement? What if they have absolutely no interest in photography at all? This was my mountain over the last few weeks.

In the nearly 80 students that I was teaching photography to (it was a photography class but while the regular teacher was out, the cameras were not to be checked out so most of the assignments were PS based), there were a handful maybe that we're interested in learning the subject and had fun doing it. This made for some disheartening moments since this is something I love and have a passion for. To see them treat this as if they were studying ancient civilizations or algebra was like a dagger in my heart. However, I kept my passion and tried to convey that passion through every project.

After all was said and done, the students for the most part enjoyed me being there and most completed the projects given to them. I didn't have any real discipline complications aside from one student cussing at me, not in a threatening way, just frustrated with me. That stuff I can handle fine. The hardest part was figuring out why they couldn't see this class as being a fun elective to participate in.

The most touching part was seeing the students I did connect with, seeing those that overcame the complications of a difficult challenge and fight through it, and accepting those that were set in their ways of this being just a requirement to graduate.

After my last day there I ran into one of my students at the fairgrounds. He came up to me and shook my hand and showed me the bracelet he just bought. It was a rubber New Orleans Saints bracelet. I had not hide the fact that I was a San Diego Chargers fan and actually talked football with a couple of the students on Fridays. This was two days after the Saints had just beat the Chargers! I laughed with him about it and he went on his way. I won't forget this moment!