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Action sports: Allinone sequence photos
Action Sports Photography: All-in-one photos
 Words and photos by Lars Scharl

All-in-one, or sequence photos are often used to illustrate complex movements or tricks in action sports such as snowboarding, freeskiing and mountainbiking. As the tricks keep evolving and get more technical and complicated, this kind of photography provides a step-by step explanation of what the riders actually do while they're airborne :)

I have been a fan of sequence shots from the very beginning of my photography career. Below is a photo from one particularly beautiful and cold day in Obertauern in october 2007. The jump we built didn't give the riders a lot of altitude during the jumps, so the single shots looked a bit too "small" for my taste. Sequences on the other hand worked a lot better, because you could see the distance of the jump much better and the jump finally looked as big as it was.

Rider: Max Weickl
Equipment: Canon 1D Mark2N @ 8fps, Canon 17-35mm 2.8, tripod used
One prime example for the neccessity of this kind of photography is of course the documentation of new tricks in action sports. As soon as multiple twists and flips come into play, it's not possible anymore to show the exact movement of the athletes through one single frame. In the example below, a young Finnish MTB dirt jumper did one of the first "cashrolls" ever on a mountain bike. The photo was printed in MTB Rider Magazine Germany.

Rider: Antti Rissanen
Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark2 @ 4fps, Canon 70-200mm 2.8, tripod used
The next example presents a little upgrade to the "classic" technique of shooting from a stationary point of view, for example from a fixed tripod. Here, I panned horizontally, following the rider as he cleared the entire obstacle and unfortunately crashed at the end (nothing happened ;) ). By doing this, I was able to get a very "tight" look and a high-res picture without having to crop the top and bottom parts of the image.

Rider: Cameron Zink
Equipment: Canon EOS 7D @ 4fps, Canon 70-200mm 2.8, handheld and panned
Another variation of the "classic" allinone-photography that I enjoy very much is shooting action sequences as panoramic pictures! The shot below for example consists of 12 vertical single shots, panned along as the rider flew by. I panned horizontally and put the whole shot together in Adobe Photoshop. Without this technique, I wouldn't have been able to include such an enormous angle of view, which is about 180 degrees. Of course I could have used a fisheye lens to get the 180 degrees as well - but then I couldn't have set up the photo composition as I wanted to and I would have had to battle a lot with the typical fisheye distortions.

Sam Pilgrim
Equipment: Canon EOS 7D @ 4fps, Canon 10-22mm, handheld and panned
Sometimes the panning technique is also helpful when there's very little space to shoot from: originally I wanted to take the photo below with a telephoto lens, but unfortunately there were so many trees and bushes in front of the jump that I had to move directly beside it - panning and stitching the shots together was actually the only option to include the whole spot in one photo. I'm happy with the result - not only do the surrounding trees provide a nice framing at the sides of the photo, but the peaceful Finnish forest backdrop is also included nicely - using a telephoto lens would have made it disappear into the bokeh completely.

Rider: Antti Rissanen
Equipment: Canon EOS 7D @ 4fps, Canon 15mm 2.8 Fisheye, handheld and panned
A further step up in technical difficulty is of course adding flash lights to the panoramic sequences. Last year I had the opportunity to shoot at the inaugural "Suzuki Nine Knights MTB" event in Austria, which is a pretty unique event due to its location on a mountain top combined with its "medieval" appeal. I decided to shoot a panoramic sequence because I wanted to include as much of the beautiful evening sky backdrop as I could. To have the rider pop out nicely against the sky, I decided to use flashes triggered by Pocket Wizard radio transmitters. I used compact Canon EZ540 Speedlites, which fulfilled the task perfectly. Thanks again to my buddy Bienve, who executed his frontflip nohand muy stiloso ;)

Rider: Bienvenido Aguado Alba
Equipment: Canon EOS 7D @ 3fps, Tokina 10-17mm 2.8 Zoom Fisheye, handheld and panned, Pocket Wizard tt1/tt5 radios, Canon Speedlite 540ez compact flashes
I hope you liked this little excursion into photo-nerdism :) at a later point this year I will also publish a step-by-step tutorial on how to shoot and build your own panoramic sequence shots, so if you're interested in this topic, make sure to follow me here on Behance and maybe also check out my photo profile on Facebook

Thanks and regards from Germany!

Action sports: Allinone sequence photos
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Lars Scharl