Empire of Dirt was an awesome event to watch and shoot. Over the two days, over 20,000 people watched 36 of the worlds best riders take on the incredibly challenging and technical BMX 'Slope Style' course.
Monster dirt jumps, ramps, rails and other obsticles pushed the riders to their limits, some huge tricks were pulled, but it was the UK's Ben Wallace that took this years title.
Arriving early, I walked the course to find some of the better areas to catch the action. Although there were plenty of good places to shoot from, there were also quite a few challenges to overcome to get really great shots. My aim was to try to capture the rider, at the apex of the trick, while trying to get as much of the course, scenery, crowd, the backdrop of London and the iconic building itself. To accomplish this, I had to pull quite far back to get the shot, making the rider look quite small, sometimes getting lost in the busy backgrounds.
I submitted my images to a few magazines, but it was Daniel Benson, editor of The Albion, who provided me with the most constructive critique. While my incidental photos were deemed good, it was my action shots that were not quite hitting the mark, essentially this was because the photographs were not telling the full story, i.e. they didn't always show where the rider was taking off and where they were going. Another valid point was that the riders sometimes got lost against the busy backdrops, which, due to the nature of the course layout was quite hard to counter.
In the photo below, all the elements are nearly there, however, you can only see where the rider is going to land, not where he's taken off from. Also, if I'd have come in a little tighter and swung round to the left a little, it would have made a better photo and the rider would not have been bang centre of the picture.
As you can see, in the image below, if I'd got down on my knees, this shot would have set the rider against the sky and not the building. I still love the shot, but it doesn't quite cut the mustard!
Unfortunately none of my pictures made the magazines on this occasion, but I learnt a great deal and can only become a better photographer for the experience and positive critique. Thanks Dan.
You can view the rest of the photographs here, I'd love to get your feedback.