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Behind the Curtain – Making Self-Portrait Multimedia
I have long been a believer in the power of…
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I have long been a believer in the power of multimedia. The combination of various artistic media elements to help tell a story or, at the very least, share some sensibilities can have a pretty profound effect on people. Case in point: me. I grew up glued to snowboard magazines and films. They stirred both my creative and athletic ambitions. Those creatives on-screen and in-print, as well as those minds behind the pictures and words, really inspired me. I wasn’t sure if I was more motivated by the storytellers or by the athletes, which at the time were largely mutually exclusive. Fast forward a few years, those snowboards have been replaced by mountain bikes. While the mode of recreation may have changed, my ambitions were only galvanized when I realized that I might be able to pursue both roles as a career. I studied photojournalism and video production in college, and combined with a somewhat slowly burgeoning career riding bikes, found myself much more energized by the prospect of taking people along for the ride rather than focusing all of my energy on shaving a few seconds off times riding down mountains. My career has taken some amazing turns over the years. While I still push as hard as ever as an athlete, I am no less motivated to push my creative boundaries as a storyteller and would like to share a few bits of advice with anyone else looking to scratch their creative itch.

I put together “Behind the Curtain” as a means of better understanding my process as a visual storyteller, and I hope that it might set you on the path toward taking a few steps forward in your creative hunts. I won’t get into the writing or editing process here, as I think those are both incredibly subjective and personal. Quite honestly, there are already some fantastic resources out there to help you with those aspects.

As many of us look for ways to occupy time in the current climate dominated by social distancing, I thought that this might make for a pretty timely “how-to” video of sorts. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any follow-up questions you might have after checking it out. Oh, and one final thing: while my hope here is to provide you with some general guidelines for capturing action self-portraits and video, there are no hard rules to any of this. It’s a form of self-expression first and foremost, and you need to make sure you feel like you’ve done right by yourself before worrying about what others might think.

Enjoy the process, my friends.

A self-portrait taken with a relaxed pace past the camera.
A self-portrait taken with a faster and more aggressive pace past the camera.

Even when working with still images, you have the ability to see subtle differences in how you are riding. Consider this when making your images and try different styles of approach to get different looks.

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4 thoughts on “Behind the Curtain – Making Self-Portrait Multimedia

  1. Great video! Thanks for sharing the info. When using your DSLR for photos, are you releasing the shutting remotely from up the trail as you start the run or is it just snapping photos continuously while you ride up the hill and set up for that run until you make it back to the camera? Seems like a lot of deleting shots would be needed if it’s taking 30 fps for several minutes. Thanks!

    • I run a 6K photo mode, so yeah it involves a bit of deleting. I do use pretty massive micro sd cards, so in the end it’s worth it to me to ride naturally and get the specific frames I’m looking for versus most other options. Cheers my dude!

  2. My questions exactly. When setting up & taking a shot of your self coming down the trail do you use a remote and single shot or burst or even an intervalometer to take shots every second or two ? and when you take these shots do you set your camera up as a self focus or preset the focus manually and go make the run? It all looks very interesting. And is your camera is set in shutter priority or aperture priority?

    Great shots and video. enjoyed it immensely. Mk

    • HIiMK! LUMIX has photo mode that effectively runs 30 jpegs per second. In my opinion, it’s worth the memory space to not have to think about a remote or possibly missing the shot with an intervalometer to worry about. I use sizable micro sd cards as a result though. In the end I feel like I can ride much more naturally compared to the other options. I run my camera in full manual mode for these, so there is no shutter vs aperture prioritization going on. For focal length I typically find the spot on the trail that I feel is most dynamic or interesting, set focus, and then get the shot. I use autofocus on occasion but in the woods it has a tendency to find an errant leaf or tree while I’m pushing up for the shot. Thanks for checking this out!

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