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mathlete
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Discussion Starter #1
For all you shutter bugs out there… Can you recommend or give tips on how to adequately shoot a photo to keep the steepness of the trial in perspective? I'll tote along a camera every now and then. I've brought along my Nikon D40 but typically it’s a simple point and shoot.

The trail seems to "flatten" out in the photos I've "tried" to take. That killer climb that sucked the air out of your lung and trashed your legs looks like a long driveway or the steep rock and root strewn decent looks tame enough for your 6 year old to ride down unscathed on his or her bike. You know the photos; the ones you show your none riding spouse, relative, friend or co-worker to show them the azz kicker section of the trail and they are like "eh, that doesn't look too terribly steep"

Can this be done with a simple point and shoot or do you need a wide angle lens and a wide shot to accomplish this
 

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cycleologist said:
For all you shutter bugs out there… Can you recommend or give tips on how to adequately shoot a photo to keep the steepness of the trial in perspective? I'll tote along a camera every now and then. I've brought along my Nikon D40 but typically it’s a simple point and shoot.

The trail seems to "flatten" out in the photos I've "tried" to take. That killer climb that sucked the air out of your lung and trashed your legs looks like a long driveway or the steep rock and root strewn decent looks tame enough for your 6 year old to ride down unscathed on his or her bike. You know the photos; the ones you show your none riding spouse, relative, friend or co-worker to show them the azz kicker section of the trail and they are like "eh, that doesn't look too terribly steep"

Can this be done with a simple point and shoot or do you need a wide angle lens and a wide shot to accomplish this
Pay close attention to photos you see (magazines, online, etc) where the trail looks steep and/or chundery and ask yourself why the photo looks good.

I'm going to guess that you're not fighting so much the limitations of the camera but more with perspective and framing.

Some of those really gnarly sections of trail are difficult to capture with a photo.

Can you get above the rider? Climb a tree? Below them, keep a tree in the shot for reference? Post some of your pics -- maybe we can help with ideas.
 

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~Disc~Golf~
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16,491 Posts
this is a frustrating challenge. it happens to me too.
a couple things that i try to do is give the viewer some sort of reference.
-shoot perpendicular to the trail / slope if possible. use vertical elements such as trees or poles.
make sure your camera frame is horizontal, sometimes you'll unconsciously tilt the camera with the slope. Or, even 'cheat' the angle by a few degrees. i've noticed this in a lot of snowboarding shots - the trees will have a slight uphill lean. if done correctly, the 'steepness' is evident...too much, and it looks fake.
--uphill/downhill -i find it easier to convey the slope if i shoot downhill because there is more 'space' in the shot. if you shoot uphill the scene flattens out. try to have your camera's orientation vertical or 'portrait'. this lengthens the scene and heightens the sense of the 'steepness'.
--scale- try to have known scale references in your shot,[ ie people]. Rocks, trees, and bushes can be ambiguous as to heir size. a boulder can look like a rock for example.
--lenses- a wide angle lens distorts the scene and can sometimes warp your shot 'unfavorably'. while they definitely have their place, a 'normal' to longer lens will work towards your advantage.
--i hope this helps--i am a poor teacher, especially in print :p
 

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Low angle or high angle + wide lenses + vertical element or a body position that conveys effort/steepness.

When shooting directly from the side, make sure to have a very strong vertical element.

Some sense of effort/movement/strong body position in your subject can help to convey the steepness.









 

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mathlete
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks all. People in the picture really help tell the story. 90% of my pics are taken while riding alone and so many of the shots are of the landscape flora and fauna. The pics I have of my buddies riding definitely help with scale. Something so simple yet I've failed to snap to it as to what is missing from my photos.

I'll experiment with camera angle too. I've taken a few rock climbing photos of friends. The pictures I took, that I liked, where taken from an adjacent route to them with me propped out from the face a few feet by a set of PVC poles I've rigged up to make sort of a human tripod if you may. These of course were taken on short sport routes where the extra gear was not a problem.
 
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