Tag Archives: skate

Woodinville Skate Competition 2018

Not far from where we live in Woodinville, there is a skate park.  It is always popular with people hanging out be there skaters, scooter users, BMX riders or just people enjoying the park.  I have been meaning to walk down and watch some of the skaters but have not got around to it before.  However, last weekend, as we drove home, there was clearly something going on at the park so I decided to walk down and see what was going on.

I got there just in time for the beginning of the 15th annual Woodinville skate competition.  Loads of skaters had turned up to compete and they were warming up when I got there.  Indeed, the competition started shortly after I arrived.  They had a bunch of age categories.  The first to go was the 10 and unders.  They grouped skaters into pairs or threes and they had two runs of two minutes each in which to put together their based performance making use of as much of the park as possible and varying the tricks.

We had a brief downpour so, once the group had finished, they had a prize giving for the winners while we waited for the weather to improve.  This wasn’t the only weather interruption but, on the whole, conditions held out and the team did a good job of drying the park out when the rain stopped so that the competition could carry on.

Next came the 11-15 category.  The same format of competition with two runs each and there were a lot of competitors to get through.  The skill levels varied a bit but the nice thing about skating is that everyone is very friendly and supportive so they were all willing to not only do what they knew they could land but also to push themselves to try and get better tricks in.

There was a single group for the female contestants that came next.  Again, a mix of skills on show but again an enthusiastic approach to the competition and, with the conditions looking better, the weather was heating up as much as the competition.

Last to go where the 16 and over group.  Here you had adults in against the older kids (and one kid who was clearly not sixteen but was skating at a very high level.  The advantage that size brings in carrying speed and in athleticism showed itself with the competitors really making some impressive runs.

The finale was the best trick competition.  First the rail was used and everyone took it in turns to have a go at pulling of something cool on the rail without causing themselves unfortunate damage (although a couple came close to straddling the metalwork!)  Then it was over the car for the second phase.  By now the weather was beginning to turn so it was a race against time to get everything in.  When all was done it was time for prize giving.  Scoring for the runs was for the main prizes along with side prizes for best tricks during the runs and then the best trick competition itself.

It looked like a great time for everyone and I thoroughly enjoyed watching and shooting the event.  For those that were there, I have a  larger gallery of shots taken throughout the day which can be found at the link below.  At the bottom of the page are pictures of the winners after receiving their prizes.


South Bank Caverns

C59F0483.jpgThe South Bank of the Thames is a strange mix of places. County Hall and the Royal Festival Hall are alongside boat piers and railway tracks. The area has progressively developed and become more popular although there was a time when it was a pretty dodgy area. One strange place still there is a section of covered concrete that has become a popular haunt for skaters. The area looks intimidating enough but it has been heavily decorated with graffiti and it looks like something that you would enter in a movie with the audience shouting not to go in.

C59F0479.jpgActually, the area is quite busy and the skaters are only interested in skating. The fact that they haven’t been driven away but have, instead, been embraced is a pretty cool thing I think. The art on the walls obviously involved a lot of effort. While it may look like something to avoid, I would certainly take a look if you get the chance.


Skating Action

Some time last year I wrote a blog post about photographing some guys jumping bikes in a park here in Chicago.  If you want to check that out, this is the post.  I had been inspired by a great book by Syl Arena on flash photography and what can be achieved to freeze fast action and to add drama to the shots.  This has also got me interested in trying another sport, skating (the skateboard variety, not ice).  They are a couple of skate parks along Lakeshore Drive in Chicago, one north of us and one south.  I had never before managed to time it right to get to one of them but finally I have done it.

I got the park and a few people were skating around.  I watched for a while to see who was a more comfortable skater before asking whether anyone would let me take their picture.  One guy, Konrad, was kind of okay with the idea but seemed a bit skeptical.  Most other people were not keen.  Konrad had one location he had been making some good moves on so we set up there.  We grabbed a few shots from different angles with me mainly using a single light triggered by cable rather than IR.  This is tough stuff to do so you can’t just have them do it over again until you are happy.  They get worn out.

We grabbed a few shots and then Konrad went off to skate some other parts of the park.  When I got back, the shots were not too bad.  The use of a single light was not ideal as, with the deck in front you get quite a shadow cast.  Also, it reflected strongly which tended to limit the light on him.  Two lights will definitely be better.  Fortunately, a little work in Lightroom managed to enhance the balance on him a bit.  A first time out and not too bad.  Plenty to improve on next time though.