Behind The Shot: Matthieu Georges

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Behind The Shot: Matthieu Georges

Sylvain Bourbousson – Frontside 5 – Stranda, Norway © Matt Georges. Click the image to see it BIG.

Behind the Shot is a new regular on this site, and will bring you every week or so an iconic shot from an iconic photographer, where he explains the context of the photo session, as well as all the technical aspects you might want to know about. You are a snowboard photo geek? This is for you!

Let’s start with one of our long time senior photographer, Matt Georges.

Here’s his breakdown:

Sylvain Bourbousson – Frontside 5 – Stranda, Norway

Camera: Hasselblad FCW2003
Lens: Carl Zeiss T* 150mm F.4
Film: FUJI 400VC
Speed: 1/1000e
Aperture: f16

The Tech

With the old medium format cameras, you can only find fixed lens, no zoom. So you need to get your legs out and find the right angle and distance for the compisition of shot you want to have. Here, I used a Carl Zeiss T* 150mm f/4 lens, giving a 6X6cm format, which pretty much correspond to a 100mm lens for a classic 35mm format.

When I shoot with the Hasselblad, I often shoot from the ground. It give me the texture I want for the foreground, and gives more pop to the rider. I learn that through my years of shooting skateboard photos, laying down in dog piss more often than I would like…

In my composition, I pretty much respected the 1/3 rules, at least vertically. It gives a certain rhythm to the shot with a distinct fore ground, second ground, back ground. Since I was shooting with a negative film 400 ISO that captures a lot of light, I needed a high speed to freeze the shot – minimum 1/1000th second – and with the sun striking, I could play a lot with a large depth of field and a closed up aperture like f16. The wide depth of field place the subject nicely into the scenery, and everything looks sharp although I did the focus on the kicker in the first place.

The Context

The North of Norway is a real nightmare when it comes to weather, and you’d better be ready to have some down days. Sometimes you wait for a good old week before you can get lucky enough for a sunny window. And sometimes when the light comes, it arrives together with the wind, which is not great for the riders. In short, it’s pretty tricky. So we had shaped a kicker during the storm so it would be ready in a blink for the first ray of sun. It had taken us 2 solid days of shaping under snow and rain, with the Absinthe crew filming for Twelve back then. The crew with me was Sylvain Bourbousson, David Bertshinger, Mat Schaer and filmer David Vladyka. A week after the shape, it was finally time for Bourbousson to guinea pig it with a nice and ballsy Frontside 5. He took it pretty much full speed despite the heavy wind and flew quite dangerously. There were rocks and ice patches all over the place. Basically, this is the one and only shot that got done on that lovely spot. A real shame. Really gutted, we decided to bail and move North to try and get some stuff down toward Narvik area. If the worste comes to worste, at least we’d have new bars to drown our sorrow in…

I would have loved to have more time and better conditions to shoot that spot, it just looked insane didn’t it! But who knows, we might be back one of those days! But what’s even more sad about this, is that this diptic collage should have made it into last year’s Onboard Photo Annual… That’s if some friend at the mag I won’t say the name – he’s bald and speaks funny – wouldn’t have forgotten about it. The shot didn’t make it into the final selection. Double bummer. But revenge taken, it’s now here on the site for your enjoyment!

Check out Matt’s new website.


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