Trick On My Mind – the work behind a picture and timelapse light studio set up

It takes a 125th of a second to actually trigger the camera and take a picture. What most of the times is hard to explain is how many hours of work are needed to arrive at moment in which the photographer can push the button and trigger the camera.

Here’s the story of this shot. It all started with an idea, an image inside my mind. I wanted to visualize the rider’s thoughts over his head with postcard like images floating around in the air. I wanted to mix pictures of the rider doing his tricks and some sketches to emphasize the mental planning of the action. At this point I’ve already had my desk covered with some sketches made on random pieces of paper.

Picture concept sketch 1
Picture concept sketch 1

Next step was to find a friend rider to shoot some action sports shots and then a studio one, in this case Hatem Nsour was the man for the job, thanks again bro!

It was late September when we managed to shoot some BMX action shots with Hatem in different locations in Turin. The Ferriere Fiat was a great spot, the old foundry after years of neglect has been restored for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games and is now surrounded by a green area.

I was quite happy with the results and this pushed me to continue the project and go ahead with it.

Once I’ve got the pictures and decided the number of postcards and a rough distribution of them it was time to build some stuff. It’s incredible what you can build with two broomsticks, some paper tape and a piece of cardboard! The result highly resembled a Bear Grills emergency raft but I’m unsure that it would anyhow float.

Picture concept sketch 2
Picture concept sketch 2

Late at night I’ve then made some sketches regretting that I haven’t bought a Wacom tablet yet. Once sketches and pictures were ready it was time to print and create the postcards. The first idea on how to hang the postcards is to use fishing line but they would spin like Anne-Caroline Chausson’s legs at the start of the Bmx Olympic final so I switched to a thin steel stick for a more stable result. After a lot of gluing and cutting all the postcards were ready and I could start fixing them in the cardboard.

After some test images I took in my flat it was time to move to the studio to set up all the lights. Here’s a brief video of the studio set up for the picture:

Once the set was ready and all the lights perfectly tuned we started smelling something weird, it took us a while to notice a thick smoke coming out of the Profoto generator… we knew the Pope has already been elected so we agreed it probably was a capacitor that just blew up. Pretty sad but after eight years of hard work our Profoto needs a trip to the service. The biggest downside was that at this point we had to change all the lighting set up. Thankfully the the tank like Eurotodde still work flawless after thirty years and we managed to finish the shooting!

The final results:

A big thank to Daniela Ferraro owner of Co.Studio for the chance of using the studio for this shot. And of course to Hatem Nsour for his time!

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