On Location: Tilt-Shift Mountain Biking


When you mention high-speed sync, most photographers think of fast shutter speeds and freezing the action. It’s true, high-speed sync allows you to use fast shutter speeds and freeze the action using a flash, especially when your flash is only adding a little fill light.

But I use high-speed sync another way. What if you want to use an aperture like f/2.8 for shallow depth of field on a bright, sunny day? Even at ISO 100, your shutter speed will be around 1/4000. No worries because you can use high-speed sync. For this mountain bike image I used a few other tools, including HyperSync and a tilt-shift lens. Read on!


Step One

Fort Collins, CO.  Mountain biking at Horsetooth Reservoir.

With any outdoor shoot, your location 
is key to the success of the image. Because I shoot a lot of adventure sports, location is especially critical since it can affect the performance and safety of the subject. Safety isn’t a big issue here because the biker is riding a flat trail. More important is having a nice scene for the rider to bike through. When using a shallow depth of field, it’s important to have elements in the scene that blur softly. The trail, tree, and mountains in this shot blur nicely and add depth to the image. 

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