Through the lens - Jacob Gibbins Photography

Nov 11, 2009
by Jacob Gibbins  
Jacob Gibbins is a freelance photographer based out of the UK. Not only does the UK pump out dialed riders, but it's been breeding some great photographers as of late. The UK has a unique climate that is known to go from warm to wet really fast, but not to frozen too quickly. This climate allows the riders to be out everyday, training on vast terrain that is always changing. As well, this allows the photographers to dial in their wet, and dry weather shooting, so when the time comes they can be prepared for anything.

Jacob has proven to us over the last short while that he is a versatile, and well rounded photographer in all aspects of the sport.

Click here for an interview with Jacob Gibbins..."Jacob Gibbins is a talented freelance photographer based in Tavistock, Devon, in the UK. An area whose natural beauty and proximity to Dartmoor National Park led him down the road to becoming a specialist in sports photography and outdoor location work. An avid cyclist of all disciplines, as well as an enthusiast of anything 'outdoors', Jacob is able to capture the essence of these pursuits on film not as a mere observer but as someone who is immersed in and has a deep affinity with his subjects. His versatility is evident in his ability to confidently shoot landscapes, PR, advertising and location portraits, and he contributes to a growing list of printed and online publications, with clients spanning several countries. He is actively pursuing an on-going education, and has three 'A' Levels in Photography, Sports Studies and Geography, as well as taking an active role in his community. Jacob's services to a client are fully-integrated in that he handles every aspect of the process from location scouting to post-production, and he works closely with each individual client to achieve and often exceed the desired result in a timely and professional manner." Taken from his website




Let's start off with the basics, your name, age, and hometown?
Jacob Gibbins , 18 and from Tavistock on the edge of Dartmoor in the UK.

How much time do you get behind bars instead of behind the lens these days?
Bars of a bike, well a lot just not a lot of DH. I’m riding the BMX at the trails or skate park for a few hours every day I can and get out on XC rides and downhill once a week in the off season.

What got you started in photography?
Riding with my mates really, just wanted to see what we were doing, how big our whips were, how low we were in a turn, so I started making little vids and taking some photos. Then I noticed that the photos were looking alright so got a better camera. Then I started going to races and taking shots in between my runs, and it all sorta snowballed.

When & why did you pick up your first camera?
I first picked up a camera about 4 years ago now (sheeeaat can't be that long!?) and about 2 and a half years in anger, and I sorta answer the second part of this in the question above.

Any big plans or projects for the next year or so?
The main one is following the World Cup circuit all next summer. It's going to be my first summer being at all of them so I’m 1 tenth scared and 9 tenths super stoked and can’t wait to do it. Going to be a dream come true but also a lot of hard work. Also just more rider shoots and videos. A few local races and all the NPS's if I can as well as any commercial work I can get and when ever I’m in the UK, weddings as well.

What gear are you using right now?
I’m a Nikon man all the way, the Cannon 7D looks like everything I want in a camera so I’m just waiting for Nikon to match them and bring out something to warrant upgrading. But a Nikon D90 body (and f65 film body), 80-200 2.8 , 50mm 1.8 and 15mm 2.8 fish.


Then for lighting, I have a pile of crap tripods and spikes, skyports and Nikon sb800s. Few other bits and bobs for specific jobs like homemade steady cams for video, fluid head tripods, brollys etc.


Which is your favorite set up to shoot with?
Depends, haha only got one body so that bits easy and the 50mm lens. It’s just so simple and great in low light, sharp and the prime factor of it makes you think about comp much more which can only be good?!

Any words of advice for someone trying to make it as a photographer?
Haha, I'm trying to make it as one, so if you hear of any send it my way! But what’s working for me so far is just shooting what you want, as much as you can and to the best of your ability. Then get it out there every way you can and get it seen by as many people as you can. And once you think you have stuff worthy of sharing page space with the world’s best, start sending stuff to mags (putting it here on Pinkbike).

Do you have any formal education in photography?
I have an A level in photography but that counts for very little really. Also got A levels in biology, geography and sports science but as for photography I am totally self taught. Just press all the buttons and see what they do, see something I like the look of, reverse engineer it and work out how to try something similar. Not the same but similar.

Also if there is ever something I feel I don’t know enough about to do a good job I spend as long as I need reading up on it, learning, teaching myself. I knew most of what they taught in terms of tech stuff in my course before I started. It was just great to get to use the equipment and have time and space to try new things outside bikes.


Aside from the obvious advantages of digital cameras when it comes to getting photos to the press fast, would you rather be shooting with film or digital?
That was another great thing about my A level is that I got to learn how to use a darkroom and do film printing and using old box cameras and pin hole stuff. I think there is definitely a place for traditional techniques in this modern world. There is something about film you just can’t get any other way. Photoshop tries and fails! For arty personal work of landscapes and portraits where there is no deadline I love working with film. But when there’s a deadline and top quality is needed it has to be digital these days.

What was the most memorable, or best experience you had working this year?
Oh hell, so many spring to mind. Could it be camping out on 45 degree slopes in the middle of winter on rider shoots in Wales, road tripping for hours in cramped cars with pedals in my face, looking out of plane windows looking at the curve of the earth and clear black sky above, spending 26 hours in an airport, being out drinking in Spain till 7am, walking up mountains all day ,everyday for a week doing what I love? There’s been a LOT of good moments.

I read your blog and you've done some great video work to go along with your shoots. How does that all start?
I started off years ago shooting shit videos on my dad's compact camera and throwing them together in movie maker for my mates to see. When I saw DSLR's could shoot HD video I had to get one and try again. I spent a few weeks reading up on how to get the best from this new tech, getting used to the editing programs, the best sites to host them on etc and then just set about concepting, organizing and shooting some videos!

I just think that video is so great and much more interactive and immersive than video and it's something I enjoy just as much as shooting still stuff. It presents a whole new world of hurdles and issues I love working round to produce some (in my view) good work.

Do you have any plans in the way of video for the next year?
Not really, being really good mates with people like Aaron Bartlett (maker of Foot Out Flat Out 2) sort of makes it pointless even considering anything big haha.

But more rider shoots, some non riding films, more time and effort being put in to making my vids something of interest in their own right as opposed to just another side of my still work. Also shooting a few clips literally where ever I go and throwing it all in to a short end of year edit after my whole year of traveling.


For up and coming photographers do you think it's important that they add some video aspect into their shoots and projects?
In short yes, with the convergence of technology in all areas, new technology meaning videos will make their way in to print media, the fact video is becoming a much more widely used form of advertising all points towards the fact that in my own opinion being able to shoot both stills and video well is something that can only be a plus.

Do you have a blog, website?
Yes I have a website that’s in the process of being finished and tweaked with a few little touches, www.JACOBGIBBINS.co.uk.

Also my blog is linked from there and I update it every other day if not more. Has all my latest work as I take it, deeper info on all the images you see on here and Flickr, etc. and just about anything photo wise you want me to post. Just comment or email if there’s something you want me to answer.

What’s next for you?
Next for me is getting my town some nice new trails supported by the local council! That’s my winter mission. As well as shooting as much as I can, putting together my business plan, and marketing the wedding side of my business more and just having fun and being 18! Then from Xmas I have to gear down and get ready for the flat out summer season!

Any last words? Shout outs?
If I forget anyone email me and I'll add you to a photo and upload that, haha but here we go!

Jamie, Jim and James at wideopenmag.co.uk for just being them and running such a rad magazine, Spiked mag, Dave at Fastlanemag, mbuk, dirt, Si Paton for running the NPS season, all members of woodland riders, any rider who has let me take their photo, Adam Price, James Matthews, Luke Ball, Fran Simpson, anyone who has given me advice, Stu Tompson, mtbcut, descent-world.co.uk, Southerdownhill, Steven Hodge, mono, foot out flat out, my parents, Boris Joe Fred and all my mates, Steve at liferbmx.com, tavistock youth cafe haha ( big time! ) And everyone else I've missed out!


Now could you please talk us through a bit about your fav few images?

This is a shot of my mate James riding out at my local woods just 20 mins from my front door. He is a local pinner who is a dream to shoot with.  The shot is lit by 3 flashes and shot on a 50mm 1.8 lens. I love the focus in his eyes, the processing, the roost, lighting just one of my favs.
This is a shot of my mate James riding out at my local woods just 20 mins from my front door. He is a local pinner who is a dream to shoot with. The shot is lit by 3 flashes and shot on a 50mm 1.8 lens. I love the focus in his eyes, the processing, the roost, lighting just one of my favs.

This is a shot of Gee Atherton riding in the 09 world cup finals in Schladming. Lit with 3 flashes I just love the pure speed and focus that is obvious from his position and the panning.  I knew as soon as I pressed the button this would be a good shot.
This is a shot of Gee Atherton riding in the 09 world cup finals in Schladming. Lit with 3 flashes I just love the pure speed and focus that is obvious from his position and the panning. I knew as soon as I pressed the button this would be a good shot.

This is a shot of Harry Heath riding in south Spain on a shoot for FOFO2.  It was an amazing day of shooting and riding and just fired this off a few mins before we called it a day and packed up.  I threw a few flashes pointing up at him on the road just out of view to the camera's left to fill in shadows and over power the sun. Check out FOFO2 to see the section, it's going to be sick!
This is a shot of Harry Heath riding in south Spain on a shoot for FOFO2. It was an amazing day of shooting and riding and just fired this off a few mins before we called it a day and packed up. I threw a few flashes pointing up at him on the road just out of view to the camera's left to fill in shadows and over power the sun. Check out FOFO2 to see the section, it's going to be sick!

This is a shot taken at 5pm in a British winter in thick pine forest, what I'm trying to say is that it was dark! And I had had a long day riding and just couldn't be bothered with flashes for a few shots of my mate.  So I just cranked up the ISO and got this.  Which I LOVE. One of my fav natural light shots, just the comp, grain, light, rider is all right. The rider is Ash Mullane.
This is a shot taken at 5pm in a British winter in thick pine forest, what I'm trying to say is that it was dark! And I had had a long day riding and just couldn't be bothered with flashes for a few shots of my mate. So I just cranked up the ISO and got this. Which I LOVE. One of my fav natural light shots, just the comp, grain, light, rider is all right. The rider is Ash Mullane.

This is a great shot of someone who's name I don't know doing a HUGE turndown in the dirt pipe at Red Bull Empire of dirt. One flash held at arm's length to camera's right to just help fill in shadows.
This is a great shot of someone who's name I don't know doing a HUGE turndown in the dirt pipe at Red Bull Empire of dirt. One flash held at arm's length to camera's right to just help fill in shadows.

This is a shot taken on my 18th birthday, nothing glam as I was out in the woods in a monsoon shooting for FOFO2. But so worth it. Was such shite weather the flashes didn't come out too often so just shot natural light but it worked so well that I didn't mind ha ha!
This is a shot taken on my 18th birthday, nothing glam as I was out in the woods in a monsoon shooting for FOFO2. But so worth it. Was such shite weather the flashes didn't come out too often so just shot natural light but it worked so well that I didn't mind ha ha!

The last one I'll talk you through. Shot of Clynt Rynolds at Red Bull Empire of Dirt 08.  Was an AMAZING event and I came away with some great images. This is as close to a perfect image I think I will get. Great comp, amazing lighting (natural with a bit of fill flash) amazing riding, colors, weather. Everything. LOVE IT!
The last one I'll talk you through. Shot of Clynt Rynolds at Red Bull Empire of Dirt 08. Was an AMAZING event and I came away with some great images. This is as close to a perfect image I think I will get. Great comp, amazing lighting (natural with a bit of fill flash) amazing riding, colors, weather. Everything. LOVE IT!


Now just a few of my vids:

Views: 50,578    Faves: 1,098    Comments: 237


Views: 19,098    Faves: 241    Comments: 61


Views: 6,968    Faves: 105    Comments: 49


Views: 4,177    Faves: 36    Comments: 14


Want to see anymore of my work just go to my site and have a nosey about!


26 Comments

  • + 8
 great success
  • + 1
 awsome stuff lad! great to see another nikon fan! Couldnt agree more with some of the comments, shoot what you want and see what everyone thinks, always awsome to get feedback and thus inspiration. Big Grin
Awsome to see you did the shoot for flat out 2, you going to the premiere in cardiff?
  • + 5
 yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee milky
  • + 4
 Awesome stuff milky, definately the best photographer in the country in your age group!
  • + 2
 haha, getton milky. i remember that day with ash, you got a corker of me over a speed jump that i didnt even see you take. was awesome.
  • + 2
 great work!

i like nikons myself, superfast and responsive - very suited for action shots

80-200 2.8 Smile i could have lot of fun with this one Smile
  • + 1
 yeh i will be in cardiff on sat night come say hi. and yes i shot the stills but there going in the next wideopen along with an interview
  • + 3
 this guy owns at photography and filming
  • + 1
 you nearly had a few less tripods and flashes at schladming 4x ha ha - cool mate
  • + 1
 Jacob, Great, great work! Even another Great Mr. Phunkt comments. Keep up the good work fella. Si..
  • + 1
 wicked stuff mate you shot them stills with luke yet? im looking forward to seein them
  • + 2
 teach me more Milky. Teach me more.
  • + 1
 Great shots! Inspiring, now I feel like getting my old 10D out and having ago. Love the natural light stuff.
  • + 1
 Awesome work Milky. Makes me proud to be a Devonian! You're gonna make it big this year, I can tell!
  • + 1
 nice write-up and true words, jacob!
  • + 1
 Simply amazing album!!!!!
  • + 1
 Nice one Milky! and thanks for the mention!
  • + 1
 You have crazey photos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 Good work, I have much to learn
  • + 1
 m8 love ur vids!!!!
  • + 1
 gratz milky!!!
  • + 1
 Good stuff man. Smile
  • + 1
 top pics
  • + 1
 ya milky!nice 1
  • + 0
 I dig
  • - 3
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