Photo Select – Quad – Robert Stewart

Today I have decided that I am going to be going much further in-depth with a few select photo’s, explaining what went into the particular photo, the detailed spec-info and even an overview of how exactly I went about editing the particular photo.

In this article I am going to be going over quad-photo’s only, but soon will do this same thing for the motocross world as well. I hope to make this a regular thing, as I take photo’s I’ll show you all my favorites and how the photo’s came to be.

So let’s get to the photo’s:

Robert Stewart at Glen Helen

Camera – Canon 60D
Lens – Canon 70-200mm f/4L USM
Shutter Speed – 1/1250th
Aperture – f/4.0
ISO – 100
Focal Length – 104mm

Let’s start off with some background. This is an image of Robert Stewart at the last round of the 2011 Yamaha QuadX Series at Glen Helen. The fist curve-ball about this image is that nobody knew that we were supposed to be on the REM track until the day of practice. Which really wasn’t too bad for me, because I like the track for photo’s, but it definitely shook up the riders (including my brother) so that was pretty interesting.

What was the reason for being on the REM track when they told us we would be on the main track? Well, the first annual Showa Ride Day was booked for the main track for Saturday, so they pushed the quads over for the weekend. Practice day was interesting for me to say the least. With riders like Darryn Durham, Blake Baggett, Cole Seely, Dillan Epstein and more just a walk away from the quads (which is what I’m there to shoot), I found it very difficult not to go over to the Showa Ride Day and get some shots of pro’s. If you read this article, or saw the photo’s on Vurbmoto’s Facebook, you know that I spent nearly 90% of the day over at the ride day. Which was actually the right decision, it was probably the one single event that got me the most exposure in my career; it also put me in touch with the whole Vurbmoto crew, which sometime down the road will be invaluable.

Finally, after spending the rest of Saturday at the hotel going through my ride day photos, Sunday came around. I was pumped all day from the shots I had gotten the day before of the dirt bikes, so at that point I was already happy with the weekend regardless of how the quad photo’s turned out.

Throughout the day, all 3 or 4 of the photographers that were there really took an interest in the turn just before the straight-away where this photo was taken. The turn was pretty rough and had a pretty large berm, really good for quad shots. That particular turn got pretty sketchy a few times with the photographers. Since the turn was so rough, a lot of riders got sketchy and went off the track at times, right where us photogs’ were leaning onto the track to get good images. I liked the turn as well, but trying to be different from the rest, I focused a lot on this rough straight just after the turn. Towards the end of the day, the straight had huge acceleration bumps half the way, then even gnarlier breaking bumps the other half.

I really tried to get some images of the bikes jumping all around and maybe getting a little sideways out of the turn, then bicycling a little in the bumps. In this particular photo, Robert got very sideways out of the turn and actually came back to the inside and went halfway off the track up the rut. About half of the way down the rut there was a big dip, I knew it was coming up, and I knew one of two things was going to happen. Either Robert would hit the jump, endo, and crash, or he would hit the dip causing a large explosion of dirt. As you can tell, the latter happened. As soon as I clicked the shutter I smiled. I knew what the photo was going to look like. And I just prayed that it was sharp. I quickly checked on the back of camera, and my smile grew; it was probably my sharpest photo of the day.

So there you have it. Lot’s of time, planning, and even some luck went into the shot. But how did I get it to look exactly like the one seen above? Heres a shake-down of the editing:

Original – Edit

So what exactly went down between the original and edit? Well mostly, a slight crop to tighten things up, and my usual high-contrast, bright shadow, deep blacks kind of editing job. Sharpened things up (even though like I said, it was damn sharp to begin with) and a tiny bit of brush editing to brighten key areas.

So there you have it. The full down and dirty detailed description (holy “D”!) of how this photo came into existence. Coming up next, one of my personal favorites, a shot that I feel I will be known for one day.

Like this article? Let me know! What would you like to see? What did I leave out? Let me know and I’ll change things up! Leave a comment below.

-Dylan Cole


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