March 21, 2012 - Even though I’d like to publish Behind the Scenes posts and details of photoshoots more frequently, a lot of the time it just isn’t possible. Take last years shoot for the 2012 Fox Racing Catalog as an example. It was shot about 11 months ago, but the catalog and the photos have only been published in the last month or so. Just before we’re getting ready to shoot stuff for next years catalog. This shoot, or shoots as they actually were, took place last April in Oregon and California, before and during the Sea Otter Classic.

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Bend, OR - Fox Head shoot in Bend with Kirt Voreis

The before part was a shoot with Kirt Voreis, a long time friend and one of my favorite bike riders to work with. Kirt and I have shot a lot together over the years, and we work well together. Kirt lives in Bend, Oregon, and that was on my way to Sea Otter in Monterey, so I stopped for the night and hung out with Kirt and his wife Lindsey. The next day we went out and shot the two images you see here. Actually we shot a lot more than that, but these are the two that Fox eventually ended up using. Both of these shots of Kirt were shot with my Nikon D3s and Nikon SB800 flashes triggered by Pocket Wizard FlexTT5’s and a MiniTT1 with an AC3 Zone Controller.

In a lot of my shoots now I use high speed sync and shoot at 1/1000 and higher, using flash simply as fill light, however for this first one I wanted to leave a little bit of motion blur in the shot to make it look a little more dynamic. You can see the movement a bit in his handlebars and also in the tires. If I’d shot this at 1/1600 or so that blur would have been gone and it would have looked almost too crisp. As it is Kirt is mostly frozen, and just the bike is blurred a bit, and mostly just the tires as they’re moving (spinning) much faster than anything else in the shot.

For this second shot there wasn’t really any thought to what we were going to do with the lighting. We basically were running against the sun which was setting fast, it was creating beautiful shadows, and lighting up the dust trail behind Kirt really well, but he was in a lot of shadow. This was for Fox clothing, so I really wanted to show off the clothing. I quickly set up two SB800’s on Pocket Wizard FlexTT5’s (side by side) and had Kirt stand where the shot was going to be so I could get a focus and light check. Once I had dialed the light in with the AC3 Zone Controller (about 30 – 40 seconds time for a few quick flashes, adjustments, etc.) Kirt rode up the trail and started riding. I shot it a bunch of times, different orientations, and different angles lenses etc. you never know what someone is going to like and it pays to have different looking shots. As the sun faded I used the AC3 to dial the flashes down. Then we were done and riding back to the car as quick as possible, sun was gone, it was cold, and we didn’t have lights…

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Light Check

Light Check

Sea Otter

The second part of the Fox Racing shoot took part in the evenings at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey. This is always a busy time, and shooting on the same days of the event is a lot of work, but it’s also one of those things that seems to happen every year. I had to shoot 3 things for Fox in Monterey, Carl Decker on his 29er, Andrew Neethling and Danny Hart in the new DH helmet, and Jeff Lenosky in the new half shell. All of these athletes were also competing or working at Sea Otter, so their time was limited, and as I was covering Sea Otter for my time was limited as well. We had to make the best of it. The shoot with Carl ended up being two shoots, in the evening, in two different locations I knew of from previous shoots. These ones were pretty simple really, we had two different kits to shoot, and I wanted them to really pop with a great looking background as well. Everything ran last minute, running out of light constantly. That’s always the way with this type of shoot, but this one worked out well. We managed to get to the location that I had in mind for this shot about 30 minutes before sunset, which gave me just enough time to shoot both kits on two different sections of trail before the sun went down. There was a fair bit of light with this one, and shooting into the sun I wanted to be able to open things up a bit so I could use flash to light Carl to match the surroundings. I used 2 SB800’s on a custom flash bracket, and I put a Straw Gel on one of the them to warm things up just a bit. To shoot at 1/800 with the flashes I used the Pocket Wizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 combo again. When possible I really like to shoot into the sun, it’s easier to light things, and the grass and other vegetation really looks better. Let me know what you think about this one. The designers/artists at Fox tweaked it a bit from my original capture to match their look of the catalog, you can see what they did down below.

Carl Decker for Fox Racing in Monterey, California.

As well as shooting with Carl at Sea Otter I also had to shoot with Andrew Neethling and Danny Hart on the DH track with the new Fox Fullface helmet and jersey. But neither of them could really use the jersey or helmet during regular training or race runs because of sponsor obligations/conflicts. There was no problem with them shooting in the gear, they just couldn’t do it on the track. And the track was really the only spot we had to shoot. So we arranged a really quick 30 minute shoot at the end of pro practice one day, shooting both of them in the same gear. Fox ran a whip shot of Hart as a small bar down the side of one page.

Jeff Lenosky with an Abubuca in Monterey shooting for Fox.

The other shoot I had to do was a street/dirt jump half shell helmet with Jeff Lenosky. Jeff was working on the speed trials course during the event, and didn’t have a lot of time to shoot. We both agreed that shooting at the Sea Otter Venue probably wasn’t the best bet for a great shot either, so right before Jeff headed to the airport we went into Monterey to find a spot Jeff had seen previously. We found the spot, and took a few minutes scoping various different lines and ideas for the shot. We settled on a fufunu shot on this old fuel tank, which was a little more difficult than normal as Jeff had to first bunnyhop onto the tank, then immediately hop up into the fuf. While Jeff practiced hitting it I set up two lights and adjusted my exposure for the background, settling at 1/400 f/3.5 That gave me enough depth of field to keep Jeff and the tank in focus, as well as freezing him a bit more than 1/250th would have.

Check out the actual pages from the catalog as well as a few other images below.