Badass is Beautiful | Cycling with Val

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Every once in a while you just have to go back to your roots and pull out a shoot and a lighting setup you haven’t done in a while and see what you come up with. For me, that was cycling shots, and more specifically Triathlon Cycling. Valerie and I have been talking about doing these for a few years now, and I finally found a weekend and some time to go out and have some fun hanging off the back of a truck and putting myself in peril again. She’s an amazing athlete and has a badass attitude so creating these photos was a long time in the making and I’m thrilled with what we were able to capture. The colors between her bike, outfit, and the morning sun paired with her attitude and overall demeanor was an epic combination that came together perfectly.

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The biggest difference? This time I had a whole crew with me and while I was able to capture some awesome photos of Val doing her thing, they captured some sweet behind the scenes footage of me doing my thing. A huge shoutout to Eric Walley (AGAIN!!) for being a video and documentary beast, guru, baller, BOSS and putting this together for me. Also, a huge thank you to Khurram Khan for coming out and grabbing some sweet drone footage as well. This was such a fun morning and the big factor that makes shoots like these fun is the people we have out there with us. I love working with athletes and people who want to create cool stuff for the sake of doing so.

Finally, a couple of quick notes on the set up. First, don’t try this at home. I am a professional photographer and what you see has a degree of danger in doing. Ruddock Visuals is not responsible if you try to attempt what is seen here and cause yourself or others injury in the process. With that said, this is a good old setup that we did for years with our Paul C Buff lights and the main reason why I chose to move to the Profoto B1s a while back. We have a C-Stand heavily weighted and tied down in the bed of the truck with the boom arm out over the back side of the vehicle. The rider has to ride fairly close because I like to shoot wide angle and from the road for that “heroic” angle which can definitely make people nervous so be sure communication is ALWAY the main priority. With Val riding just to the back and off to the shoulder side of the truck where the light is, we have an awesome sunrise in the background acting as a rim light while the Profoto is the main light with a beauty dish on it. From there it’s a balancing act of power to background and fill light, creating the right composition, and getting it all in focus. You get pretty good at putting your camera hovering about 1-2 inches off the ground, sucking tailpipe fumes, clamping your legs around a tailgate, and somehow nailing focus while both of you move down the road at 20mph. Oh, and you’re still directing your model and your driver the entire time. The rush is awesome and the results, well, are epic in my opinion. (for those of you that don’t know, I started shooting cycling like this a few years back when I was looking through and only seeing race photos. I wanted to create something different with a little more production value and came up with this as the best solution for how I saw these athletes and what I have to work with. Engineering meets creativity!)

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Hopefully this gave y’all a few more insights into how we work with models on the bike and the setup as well as just creating some more kick-ass images of an amazing athlete! I can’t wait to see Val qualify for Kona at Ironman Florida and join the Betty Designs team again for 2017!

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