Matthew Carlin » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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May 142016

Photo copyright Matthew Carlin

My friends and I go to the skateparks around Flagstaff quite often. I don’t skate as much as they do but will bring a board just to fool around with. Regardless, I always bring my camera everywhere I go. Essentially my job within my friend group is to take pictures of them and make them look as cool as possible. It also helps build my portfolio and gain experience in many different circumstances. In this case, the setting sun cast shadows from the trees over most of the park. My main goal was to capture photos of them skating while overcoming the shadows and direct sunlight. I also wanted to experiment with the 8mm Rokinon fisheye lens while getting a good overall composition including stopped, but implied movement.

In order to prep for my shot, I set my sensitivity to 400 due to the shadows and fading light and adjusted the aperture on my lens to f/16 in order to get the background generally in focus and so it didn’t darken or lighten the composition too much. As a result of my higher sensitivity in daylight and my want to stop motion, I set my shutter at 1/1600 of a second. I was using one of the newer bodies I had just received, a Canon Rebel SL1 or 100D which uses a cropped sensor. Both of my friends were coming up and over a box at the same time so I positioned myself right on top of it inches to the right. this way I would get the line from the coping in the shot as well. There is a group of skaters at the end of the drawn out line of the coping that I had to manipulate slightly. I obviously couldn’t just yell at anyone in the park to do as I told them, if so I would have asked them to leave the shot. I asked them if they could move slightly to their left to align with the coping. This also provided a source of leading to the photograph. It was also important that I incorporated the sun into the image as well as the surrounding tree line. This was easy given I was using the fisheye which has an extremely wide field of view. I shot as soon as they were going to come up and over the ledge until they were out of frame. This gave me many options and choices to look at as far as body style, positioning, and distance closer and farther from the subjects. In the end this is the Image that I came up with, my lens being approximately 8 inches from where the first subject closed the box.

About the Photographer:

My name is Matthew Carlin. I am currently a Sophomore at Northern Arizona University as a double major in Graphic Design and Photography. I am originally from San Diego, California and have been interested in photography and filming since junior high school. My first camera was a GoPro and using it while surfing opened the door to what I want to do for the rest of my life. Today I enjoy shooting HDR, landscapes, people, and wildlife. I find that the best way to discover what you really love is to become experienced in as many fields as possible. Overall, I truly enjoy long exposure and Oceanscape photography.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at take a minute to leave your thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Matthew would love to hear from you!