skaters at venice beach

Over the Edge

On my last visit to LA, I was enthralled by the acrobatics on display at the skate park in Venice Beach. I snapped dozens of pics and came home with a few almost good images–almost in focus, almost in frame, or almost exposed well against the quickly changing backdrops of shaded concrete to bright ocean sky. The skaters, many high on a bit more than the sport, may walk and talk a bit slow, but damn they are fast on their boards. Following them in one direction is difficult enough, but even harder when they rapidly alter course in multiple directions often simultaneously (left, right, close, far, up, down). And it was all further complicated by my near total ignorance of the sport. This pic would be awesome if only…

On my return to LA this December I was determined to do better… much better. So I went to the skate park first to observe and learn–leaving my camera behind to avoid the irresistible temptation to shoot. I studied their movements and expressions, and I chatted with a few skaters to learn more about the different tricks, jumps and landings they were attempting. When I went back late in the afternoon the next day, I followed them with my camera to rehearse panning and composition, and to find the most skilled skaters on whom to focus (or ones that were interesting for other reasons). And I mostly resisted taking any shots until the sun started to set, providing a backdrop as interesting as the skaters themselves.

Skate over to the rest of images

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