I love doing portraits of people. It is always a challenge to capture a picture that really tells who that person is. My job for this story was to tell the story of Geoffrey Wooldridge, an up and coming motocross racer from Broken Arrow. I traveled to Tulsa to photograph him at practice at a busy motocross track. I had to dodge bikes flying around like crazy, and deal with a really boring, cluttered background. I shot the portrait right at sunset using an off-camera SB-800 on a portable light stand. For the action shot I used two SB-800’s to cross light the photo. Dust is always a problem at dirt bike events, so I had two cameras, each with a lens, and did not swap lenses at all during the shoot for fear of a dust-filled sensor. I also wrote the story for this article.
I photographed the Brass Ball Bobber Model 1 for Darwin Motorcycles and this photo was used on the cover of the May 2009 issue of Ride Oklahoma. We were going after a “Rosie the Riveter” look and chose Emily Murray as our model. She has the look that really makes this picture work. I wanted to highlight the bike as the main subject, yet give the picture more interest with a pretty girl and a theme.
In the spring of 2007 we were just getting our new magazine Ride Oklahoma kicked off. Needing stories, I had heard about a great riding area owned by the City of Davis called Crossbar Ranch. Nestled in the heart of the Arbuckle Mountains in south Central Oklahoma, Crossbar was known as some great single track riding.
I teamed up with writer Bill Dragoo to spend the day blasting along the trails. Our friend Chris Johnson from Lawton met us there, and ranch manager Brad Black would lead the group on his Kawasaki KDX-200. Knowing the ride was going to be challlenging single track with some wet water crossing, I chose to bring my son’s KTM 250 motocross bike for the trip. It was much lighter and more nimble than my Suzuki DRZ-400.
Of course my job was to photograph the ride. When you are riding challenging single track trails, the last thing you want to carry around is a heavy camera, lens, and flash. Not only do you have to worry about the weight, but also the expense of the camera in case you crash and bang it up, or fall over and dump all that expensive gear in the water. For this trip I brought along minimal equipment – just my Nikon D300 and my Canon G9 point and shoot.
While we were getting ready Bill and Brad were chatting about riding in a beautiful spring field full of wildflowers. It was a high contrast day with the sun bright overhead, so I wanted to knock down some of the contrast and fill in the shadows for this key shot. I had it in my mind to use it for a double truck spread. I seldom use on camera flash, but in this case it was the fastest, safest option to fill in the shadows and lower the contrast of the image.
Later as we hit the trail and rode hard through the woods, I used both the D300 and the G9 for photos. The G9 was much faster to shoot with, while the D300 offered a better lens. I was unable to use flash on most of the remaining photos, primarily because I just didn’t have time to set up. You can tell higher contrast in these later photos. I got some great action shots, especially of Chris Johnson, who rides with a prosthetic leg. He ended up being one of the most skilled riders for the day on a worn out 1998 KLR enduro bike.
I photographed this 1960 Honda 305 Dream for Gerald Tims at Performance Cycle in Oklahoma City. He has a large collection of well restored older bikes and this was one of the first I photographed for him. My goal was to make it look like the girl, Mickey Oyler, was out riding one morning and just stopped for a break. We shot this at daybreak at Arcadia Lake in Edmond. I have photographed the lake many times, mostly for landscapes, so I knew we could get a good sunrise most mornings. We got everything ready before daylight. I had an assistant on this shoot to help with moving the lights and generator. I used a large softbox on my Photogenic heads to light the bike, and then used a grid spot with a 1/2 CTO warming gel to give Mikey the warm morning look.
After the sun was up we turned our setup around and photographed with Mikey more or less looking into the sun. We used a large softbox to camera left to add some pop to the picture and fill in some of the shadows.
Gerald has a large framed version of this picture in his office. He has also used in in various advertising campaigns and in a calendar.