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Scouting Location for Action Shot: Snow Park

Lesson 19 from: Action Sport Photography with Red Bull Photographer Corey Rich

Corey Rich

Scouting Location for Action Shot: Snow Park

Lesson 19 from: Action Sport Photography with Red Bull Photographer Corey Rich

Corey Rich

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Lesson Info

19. Scouting Location for Action Shot: Snow Park


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


What Makes A Great Action Photo


Conceptualize the Shoot


Research Location / Wardrobe / Props for Action Shoot


Safety Tips for Action Photographers


What Gear Do I Need? Packing and Prep


Workflow and Asset Management


Ingesting and Organizing Files


Editing Down Your Selects


Post Processing Overview


Working with Clients to Select Finals


Retouching & Post Processing: Image 1


Retouching & Post Processing: Image 2


Retouching & Post Processing: Image 3


Final Client Delivery


Introduction to Snow Athletes


Setting up the Shot: Using Natural Light


Getting that First Action Shot: Snow Park


Scouting Location for Action Shot: Snow Park


Capturing Variation of Snow Park Action Shot


Refining the Snow Park Action Shot


Action Shot with Strobes Overview


Shoot: Action Shot with Strobes


How to Light Using Strobes


Action Shoot: Snow Park with Strobes


Refining the Snow Park Action Shoot: Using Strobes


Capturing Variation with Snow Park Athletes


Capturing Portraits: Snowboarder


Capturing Portrait: Skier


Shoot: Feature Jump Action Shot Afternoon Natural Light


Introduction to Today's Shoot


Building a Rapport with the Athlete: BMX Rider


Scouting Location for Action Shot: Indoor BMX Park & Natural Light


Getting the First Action Shot: BMX


Conceptualizing the Action Shot: BMX


Prepping Gear & Refining the Action Shot: BMX


Action Shoot: BMX Athlete with Natural Light


Setting up Remote Cameras


Capturing BMX Action Shots: Remote Cameras


Conceptualizing the Shot: Using Strobes in Indoor BMX Park


Lighting with Strobes: Indoor BMX Park


Action Shoot: BMX Athlete with Strobes


Capturing Variations of BMX Athlete


Shoot High Angle Action Shot: BMX Rider


Directing an Athlete Portrait: Indoors


Lighting a Portrait: Indoor BMX Athlete


Portrait Demo: Indoors BMX Athlete


Portrait Demo: Adding Atmosphere


Transmitting Live from the Field


Panel Q&A


Lesson Info

Scouting Location for Action Shot: Snow Park

It looks like that might be Dylan. Okay, there are the athletes. So, let me actually set up, I got so carried away talking. And, what's the chance, could I get one of you guys to walk out, kind of, almost to the knuckle? Great, cool, thank you. Yeah, maybe Ralphie, maybe like a little, I don't know what that is, there's something, yeah, that's great. And, perfect, and, maybe even grab, what is that, is that like a pine needle or something? (man speaks far from microphone) Cool, let's just take that out. I'm good, I'm focused, yup. Okay. (camera clicks) Hey, Brett, one question, exposure-wise. Now that I'm full-front, does that look okay? One moment please... Yeah, yeah. Okay, stay there, okay. I'd say so, I mean your snow might be starting to go a little bit. Why don't I, I'll go to 2,000 for the second. Okay. (camera clicks) Okay, so, I'm going to 20 millimeters, just because I'm starting to get this flag and there's some of the Creative Live crew on the left side. (camera...

clicks) And, by going to 20 I can just, kind of, control my frame a bit more. So, let's actually... let's do this, would one of you guys be willing to try to take that flag out? Is that an easy adjustment? That was pretty easy. Oh. (chuckles) Alright, good, okay. And, the reason... I finally just took that out because the shadow was pretty obtrusive. So again, at an event we wouldn't do that, but, at a photo shoot like this, I think it's fine to take the flag out. Assuming that the location allows it. Okay, Brett, I think I'm ready. Should we have Cody first again? Yep, let's send Cody first. Alright Cody, drop when you're ready. Alright, Cody just dropped, I'll give you the countdown. Okay. Alright... three, two, one. (camera repeatedly clicks) Cool, great, that was nice... It was nice to see him move to the left side of the frame. Let's have Dylan hold there, a second. We're just gonna review these frames and talk a little bit. And, then, we'll drop (mumbles) Great, that worked pretty well, that was nice. There's kind of a nice line through this frame where we have these two tall pine trees on the left side of the frame, it almost creates sort of this diagonaling line. And, as he moved through the frame, it's almost like he's tracking down the trees, which is kind of a nice compliment. I'm not crazy about the chairlift, here. And, one solution, of course, would be to get lower. Like, I'd lay down in the snow and try to block that out. But, I think it's a good, safe shot. Let me just see if I can... So, you know, that's fairly stylized, kind of a cool frame, he's razor-sharp. And, from a Red Bull perspective, what's nice about this shot is, his helmet's in the shot. And, there's no way of avoiding the branding. So, you're 5/6... Yeah, there I was 5/6, sixteen hundredth of a second, 400 ISO. Okay, cool. We're good? We'll send Dylan, yep, let's all get set up. Okay, everybody get in their positions. We're good... good. Okay. Alright, Dylan, you're up when you're ready. Alright, he just dropped. Okay. We're gonna countdown. And, I just pushed into 20 millimeters and that's mostly because I can see guys in the corner of the frame, so I'm just cropping a little bit tighter. I'm still leaving -- Alright, three, two, one! (camera rapidly clicks) Cool, so just to illustrate the difference, I cropped out the snow in the foreground. So, Dylan, all of a sudden, is sort of floating through the air. Alright. You know, it looks big, right? All of a sudden, I'm low enough that it looks like he's 40 feet off the ground. And, I really do like that red top more than the green top. You know, Cody's definitely blending into the sky a little bit, but, we can make that pop. So, if I can scroll back, here, we can actually see, definitely, clean as he enters the frame. I'd like to see a little more grab out of Dylan. Yeah. Okay, I think it'll stall him out a little bit. I think I just wanna see something more stylized. Even less spin would be fine and more just he's styling and doing a grab. Okay, so, I think it's worth pointing out, if I were gonna keep on shooting this, I'd refine the moment, I'd keep on working it, I would tell Dylan to do a grab, I'd have him stall it out. And, I'd shoot five times on this feature. But, we've made two saved shots, very wide. I think it's more important to start moving. Let's actually... I think, let's go to position number two. And, I think, while the sun's still relatively low in the sky, I wanna hike down into the trees. And, I think, are we doing that untethered? Probably, why don't you disconnect, now, just anyways, Okay. so that you can move freely? Great, okay. And, I'll grab, Brett, maybe I can actually take the backpack. Sure... (mumbles) Yeah, no, I think it's 70 to 200. Maybe if... But, the F4 or 2/8? Uh, the 2/8's in my bag. Okay, so guys, I think, let's actually walk down and we'll hike into the trees and try to frame up an angle. We're going for an adventure. You know, one other thing I'm pretty conscious of, at ski resorts, is just this idea of, we just ducked under a rope, which I'll usually get permission or make sure that we're not gonna get ourselves in trouble in the process. (snow crunches) See, I think we kind wanna head out this way. Yeah, this could be nice, just getting some backlight. And, you know, one of the things I'm thinking about is, I kinda wanna add some foreground, right? I wanna stick something in-between me and the camera. And, dead trees tend to work pretty well for that. This might even work, just this branch system, right here. And, a lot of it is just kinda moving around, just figuring out what is the best. This isn't bad, some of these limbs, here. It's not perfect, but, it's a decent foreground. So, it's just looking for what could actually be ideal. (snow crunches) I think this is best thing we've got. And, oftentimes, what I'll do is just, kind of, mark this spot by putting my backpack down. And, then, still, kind of, wander around a little bit. I'm envisioning, I'm definitely gonna need a longer lens. This isn't gonna be 16-35, at least, for a safe shot, it's probably 70-200. And, I think, given that we're all here, it would be fun, even if I'm 70-200, by all means, yeah, try it, sure, why not, why not? 'Cause, if it's all clear, up there, now. Yeah, why not. So, Corey, I have a question. Sure. The first thing I'm noticing is that it's gonna be hard to pick a focus point from down here. So, what's your trick to figure that out. Well, I mean, the truth is, we're pretty, at 5/6, for example, I can focus on one of those flags. Or, I could ask someone, if there's someone up at the feature, I could have someone walk out there and use them as a focus point. But, the flag is gonna get me pretty darn close. You know, they're far enough away that, here we go, Kat's standing there, the ideal would be, I have someone walk out, roughly, to the middle of the lip, not on the lip, but, right in front of it, and, actually, hold their hand up. Short of that happening -- (Brett speaking far from microphone) Oh, let's have her walk halfway between the knuckle and the actual lip of the jump, so that she's... hey, Kat, can we get you to walk right to the lip of the jump and stand right in the middle of it and put your hands up. Right there, right where you are, you're perfect. Up, no, okay, go back... So, either, you're dead center, in the middle... (Kat speaking far from the microphone) Okay, now we can't see her. Well, I'm gonna walk... So, Kat, go ahead and put your hand up. (camera clicks) Okay, so, one of the things I'll do is actually shoot the frame, check focus. Yep, that's razor sharp. And, then, I'll actually look at my focus ring, so, if I do change focus, I know where she is. And, oftentimes, that's somewhere in the infinity range. It's just, where, on that infinity icon, you wanna reset. So, okay, thanks, Kat! I think, right there, on the chairs, I'm gonna walk up and see if I can (mumbles). Great, go for it. (feet crunches snow) Okay, so... Okay, so, obviously, I'm untethered. (camera clicks) and, I don't think we're gonna bring the table down here. And, in this case, there's two options, I can either shoot a picture where we crop the feature out, so you have no idea where they're coming from, the athlete. Or, I can leave enough of that feature in, so there's some context. Now, this is not an ideal aesthetic location, but, we're obviously doing this to make it work at 10 a.m. Ideally, I would have shot this earlier, when the sun was a little lower in the sky and I could get some sun flare coming back into the camera. The sun's kind of out of my shot, for a long lens, so... (camera clicks) Let's see what... (camera clicks) In fact, I might even switch to wide so that I can take advantage of the sun. I'll tell you what, what I'm gonna do is, I'm gonna shoot one frame on the long lens and then I'll go to another frame, on the wide lens. I'll shoot Cody on long and then I'll switch from Cody, 70-200, for Cody, and then I'll go shoot Dylan with a wider lens. Just so that I can take advantage of this flare that's happening right now. Shooting into the sun is always kind of a cool look for the light. Uh, Brett, how are we doing, are they up there? (Brett speaking, far from the microphone) Okay, this is very standard of production. Brett just told me that they were having some communication issues. And, that's pretty common; we're at a ski resort, there's a bunch of other families out skiing, they all have walkie-talkie radios. And, we found that that's a fairly common issue is, we always go to abstract or unusual channels. Or, if we have cell phone coverage, we'll oftentimes use cell phones just to communicate. Because, this is fairly common, I'm out, I can't see the athletes, so, it's an issue of, "How do I actually communicate with them?" If the radio fails, what's the back-up plan? We have two radios, if both radios are failing, then we switch to cell phones. And, then, if both radios and the cell phone are failing, one of us will go out and we'll kind of create some single... (Brett talking, in the distance) Yeah... (Brett talking, in the distance) Cool... and, Brett, why don't we just... I think it's, "Go" and, then, "Stop." Yeah, cool. Why don't you just give me, when they're dropping, just yell, "Dropping." You and I can yell, back and forth, and, then, give me the, "Dropping," and, then, "Three, two, one," just as loud as you can, so I know they're coming into it. Okay, these are realities, this is good. (chuckles) (snow crunches) I'm just gonna set this right here. There's definitely plenty of time waiting around. (Brett talks, far from the microphone) Okay, okay, so, they're not at the fence yet, we can't, visually, see the athletes. You know, one of the struggles in adventure photography, action photography is, you have long periods of waiting and then the action happens in one second. And, we get one moment where they pop through the air. So, I'm always going through, over and over again, the process of checking my exposure, checking my settings, confirming that everything's actually ready to go. Because, oftentimes, you only get one opportunity to make the picture. So, I'm gonna, actually, just do some framing... and, figure out how we're looking. And, if I know I have a couple of minutes, I'll sometimes even wander around and look to see if there's maybe another angle that's interesting. I've already marked this, my bag is here. I'm just gonna wander, I'm gonna look and see what I can find. (snow crunches) And, you know what, I think that's the deal. Sometimes, searching creates better shots. And, I think I like this pocket more than what I was looking at there. That was safe, but, now I'm down here and I found this cool little window that allows me to shoot a more interesting photograph. So, I think I'm gonna go for it, I think I'm gonna stay here. The one downside is, I think you are in the shot. (chuckles) (Brett talks in the distance) Well, it's just, you're in orange, so, you're just popping out of the frame. (Brett talks in the distance) Yeah, I would say, maybe it's, you're either down here, wide, or switch to long. But, I think, otherwise, if we all rotate down, you're probably in the shot. (Brett talks in the distance) Yeah, that's fine. (Brett talks in the distance) So, this is, you can see, guys, it's just a more interesting way. (men agree) But, we lost all of our flare, there's no sun flare. But, it's just kind of a nice window that we can see through. Yeah, it's nice and clean; I mean, it'll be kind of a silhouetted pocket, but, it's definitely a different look. Yeah.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Action Sport Photography Gear List

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

If you're looking to learn from one of the greats of action photography who also happens to be an incredible instructor, look no further! Corey Rich and his fantastic team will show you every facet of being a great action photographer and they share all of their insights from A to Z. Their instruction is heartfelt and they laid it all out there for everyone's benefit. A huge thank you to Creative Live and Red Bull Photography for bringing this to the world. This is a must have class in your library!

Zoe Heimdal

I really enjoyed this class! I am not an "action sports photographer" -- just an avid photo enthusiast, and I found this class highly informative/interesting. Corey has a very down-to-earth quality in the way he presents information... a regular guy, who knows a ton, and is sharing his wisdom. Clearly many topics/tips were off-the-cuff as he ran into situations during his shoots -- it just felt very "real" -- like I was there with him, getting a private lesson. There was quite a bit of info dealing with camera cards/photos/apps that was ubiquitous to any photographer. And then it was interesting to hear about his travel bags and what he brings to shoots (a ridiculous amount of gear, but everything with a purpose). There are hours of on-site filming for an outdoor ski and an indoor bmx shot... with Cory trying/failing/succeeding in many attempts at things -- just like a real photo shoot would happen. His advice for capturing a good/workable shot from the get-go and then spending the time on the riskier/more-creative shots, was solid -- as far as keeping your clients happy no matter what. I was genuinely surprised at how interesting/useful I found this class (being that I rarely take action shots) -- and I'd encourage any photo enthusiast, or person in the earlier stages of any professional photography career, to check out this class. My one piece of constructive criticism for Cory/CreativeLive -- try to represent women? This class only had the briefest of inclusion of females, and left me with the impression (I'm hoping incorrectly), that the world of action sports photography, is a man's world.

Student Work