This shoot marks my second year working with KTM Canada to photograph their team. These images are used for posters, on their site and as required throughout the season by sponsors and media. Anything towards the end goal of promoting and helping this great team. They’re an amazing group of guys and I really enjoyed shooting with them over the course of last season. When they announced their team for this year, I was pumped and hoped I would have the chance to work with them again in 2012. I was very happy to get the call from KTM’s newly appointed Sport & Events Coordinator, Danny Brault, to ask that I take on the team shoot again this year.
Last year’s shoot was amazing and the only regrets I had were that the location and the light could have been better. These are pretty standard concerns with photographers as they are the few things out of our control yet play such a huge factor in the finished product. A good photographer can work with anything but it’s rare you make a killer exposure without all the pieces in place. You can view last year’s behind the scenes report here. The shop at KTM’s head office was an ideal place for the portraits but when it came to the action shots the next day, we were under overcast skies and the images lacked the ‘pop’ I wanted. The track was also littered with power-lines and I was very restricted with regards to where I could shoot if I wanted clean backgrounds, a must for commercial images such as these. This year, I didn’t have the ideal location for portraits but the light more than made up for it!
Andy White, KTM’s National Race Marketing Manager, chose Motopark as the location for our shoot this year. I had never been to this track but relied on Andy’s years of experience to determine whether it had what we needed. The team had to do some testing as well during the time I had with them so I was definitely under the gun. Pretty pictures kind of take a back seat to making sure the bikes work and the riders are ready for the season. My shoot was also cut in half, from two days to one. Jeremy wanted to race at Sand Del Lee the following day and Dusty had to catch a flight back to Campbell River. I knew it was going to be really tight to get what I needed. I had originally planned to shoot portraits one day and action the next but that schedule now needed to get compressed big time. Midday light is garbage so I knew I only had about 4hrs to make it happen if I wanted the quality light in the morning and at twilight.
I immediately asked that we move the setup, from the main parking lot, to a nice grassy area where I felt I could work on some portraits while the mechanics put the finishing touches on the bikes. I wanted to try and get the bike shots and portraits of the rider in the morning then get some action later in the day. That was my only option really if I wanted clean bikes and riders.
It was a windy day and clouds rolled in and out, reducing my ability to get the same “look” for all the images. My goal was to make it so that all the images from the shoot could be used together as seamlessly as possible. When the light changes drastically, as it did at some points throughout the day, it can make the images look as thought they were shot at different locations on different days. This really breaks the continuity of the campaign in my opinion. As a result, there was a lot of “just wait for those clouds to pass” requests on my part. The track was also open to the public during our time there, which was honestly the biggest hurdle. We would find a berm, get a shot off and then it would quickly get blown out by other riders. Dust from other riders also made it so that a certain amount of time would need to pass before a clean shot was possible again. The killer action shots where really all snapped in the last few hours after the track closed. Motopark groomed the track for us and we pushed it until the sun went down.
I shot most of the static images of riders and machines with my Elinchrom Rangers and up to three SB-800 speedlights. All of the action shots where taken using available light with my Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses. Everything was captured on my new Nikon D4 and processed in Lightroom.
The guys killed it for me and we all did our best to make it happen in the time we had. Stephan, Adam and Scott did a great job prepping the bikes – they were honestly works of art. The Fox Kits looked amazing and photographed really well. Thanks to Andy and Danny at KTM for this great opportunity and Jeremy, Dusty and Colton for throwing down for my lens. Thanks also to Motopark for letting us shoot after hours and get the shots. I had a blast working with all of you and hope you dig the shots!
I look forward to seeing you on the track, in the pits and most certainly, all over the podium this summer.