Since a lot of my advertising photography work is for the motor sports industry,
we'll kick things off with a moto trip with some photo tips on shooting while out and about adventuring around on you bike.
Last Sunday my buddy Matt and I got a bit of a late start to the day, but we were both itching to ride. So since its the closest, we decided to hit the Browns Camp OHV area in the Tillamook State Forest. It's just one of the many OHV parks near the Portland area and has many great trails to choose from. Once we arrived at the staging area we quickly checked out the trail map and figured out a nice 40 mile loop that would cover some fun terrain but still get us back to the truck before dark.
Since this was a dirt only ride and would cover some tougher trails, I decided to leave my DSLR at home and just opted for my iphone to record images from the day. When used correctly and in the right locations, cell phone pics can turn out great, you just need to be picky about where and how you shoot.
About 20 miles into our wet and muddy, but really fun ride, we came up on this cool location.
Up until this point we had shot a few of the usual trail side pics, but I felt this was an extra cool spot and really wanted to capture a nice image to show off how unique it was. So we pulled off the trail and started walking around and looking at it from all angles. It was such a neat location, it looked cool from just about anywhere, but I kept going back to the big root system. I just loved how the roots looked so intricate, yet so old and moss covered. So, after playing around with a few ideas, I moved my bike onto the trail under the downed tree and composed a shot.
Next comes the tricky part, exposure! Its a dark grey day and i'm in a dense forest with no tripod. And I am using a cell phone. Aghh!!! Of course it would be nice to lean against something to help hold still, but the angle I wanted offered no such help. So, pulling a few tricks from my many years on location, I came up with 3 helpful ideas to make sure I got the shot. First, if you have a smart phone, use a timer. There are many apps out there that have a timer (I used Canopy for iphone for this) and they can really help out. By setting the timer to 5 seconds, I was able to settle down and hold still while the camera fired, thus eliminating the wiggle that always occurs when you hit the capture button.
Second, I picked a little darker exposure than the camera auto settings was giving me, thus getting a little faster shutter speed. I new as long as I could get it sharp, I could always make it a little brighter later. And third, I shot lots of pics. Ha, simple I know but effective. I figured I would have a better chance of 1 in 5 being sharp than 1 in 1. So I shot the same shot 5 times, hoping that one would come out good, and sure enough the 4th one was the winner.
After this shot, I played around with a few other angles but really liked this look for my favorite shot of the day. While it could have been just a quick snap shot, buy taking a few extra minutes to compose it, I was able to capture a really unique image that showcases why I love to ride and explore the back country.
Once back home I pulled the pic up on my computer and did a little post work to the shot. Cell phone's tend to wash out colors and seem to lack the punch of a DSLR. So I just went in and added a little saturation and contrast to liven it up a bit. This can be done many different ways and with many different software's, but I really like "onOne software" for enhancing these types of images. Within just a few minutes I was able to look through some of their presets in Perfect Effects, choose the ones I liked and apply them. Makes for a very quick and easy work flow.
After I was happy with the look of the shot, I went in and added a simple border (also from onOne)
to finnish it off.
Well, thats it for now. Hope some of these tips help you out in the future. And always remember, don't just take a picture, MAKE it. If its a nice shot, take the time to make it great.
If you would like to ride the Browns Camp area sometime, check out these links for directions and trail maps
If you want to check out the section of trail in the photo, it was shot on trail #13 named Ceder Tree.
If you go, have fun and ride safe!
Not sure whats up next? A climbing trip to smith rocks, a kayak trip down the Tualatin River or maybe a trip to the lava tube caves? Stay tuned because what ever it is, it should be fun!