Dead flash no match for Flickr contributor (crisp action shots by Mark Watson)
This photo was taken on Vancouver’s North Shore while I was on a yearlong road trip around North America, taking photos and having adventures. The North Shore is a world-renowned Mecca for mountain biking. I’d gone out that day with some particular styles of shot in mind and had been planning to use my flash to capture some crisp and bright action shots as we rode trails on the mountainside. After only a few exposures my batteries unexpectedly died. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to shoot as it was my last day riding in Vancouver, so I tried to shift my thinking and find other ways to capture the fast and dynamic action that is trail riding.
To get this shot I actually lay on the ground on my back right at the exit point of a 10 foot jump — confident that my friend Sam wouldn’t kook his take off and land on me — and shot wide with a Canon 16-35mm 2.8 to make the most of the vanishing point effect of the trees. I only had one chance and it was a mixture of experience and luck that drove me to choose a suitable shutter speed. Photographers often capture this type of image with flash, but I think the motion blur and anonymity of the rider adds a lot to this image. It makes it feel a little more ephemeral.
Lives: Lyttelton, New Zealand
Works: Graphic designer and photographer