Photoshoot season is upon us, and for the first time in two years, it looks like I’ve got a full calendar of shoots leading into the upcoming MXTour season. So, it got me thinking about a topic for this week’s Behind the Lens, and that is what to do when the weather won’t cooperate for your tightly scheduled photoshoot.
Team photoshoots are one of my favourite things to shoot. You get the chance to spend the day just trying to get the best action shots possible, and all the most creative shots of the bikes and riders that you can. It can be quite tedious for the riders, as most of the morning is spent doing off-the-bike photos, and they’re champing at the bit to ride, but once we’re on the track it’s all about getting the coolest whip and corner shots that we can.
….Except when the weather won’t cooperate. There’s nothing like planning your shoot months in advance and then the week of the shoot, the weather forecast looks ugly. If there’s no time to reschedule, you just have to press on and make due the best that you can. It’s easy to move the static photography indoors, but at some point, you’ve got to try to get some sort of action shots.
This was the case in 2017 for the GDR Honda team shoot. The Gopher Dunes area got a lot of rain in the days leading up to our shoot, and we spent the morning doing our bike shots in the workshop. By the afternoon, the sun had come out, but the track was still way too wet to ride. We wanted to try to get some sort of action for the day though, and Derek thought that maybe the back track might be rideable. We headed over there but it was still too wet, but then we saw this puddle and thought maybe it would make a cool photo. So, I set up a remote flash (safely out of the splash zone) and Colton Facciotti made a few passes at the puddle. We ended up getting this shot that I really like. The bright red of his gear and bike really pop against the green of the field.
The weather would be better the next day and we got some good action shots, but if it had not changed, or had only been a one-day shoot, at least we would have got something. So, I guess that’s the message of this week’s column. No matter what, figure out some way to get a shot. It might not be exactly what you envisioned, but you still need to come away with something and you never know – you might get something you really like.
Technical specs for this shot are: 1/640th second at F4. ISO 200, shot on a 70-200mm lens at 185mm. Used an off-camera flash at I’m guessing probably full power.