Words: Duane "Santa" Walker
Main Photo: Laurence Crossman-Emms
BTS Photos: Duane Walker
From a spontaneous idea six years ago to take a festive riding photo, the Christmas photo shoot has grown into something of a tradition between Laurence and myself.
Amongst the annual chaos of finishing off studies or work before the holidays, deciding what bike parts to put on our wish-lists, and driving around the country to see friends and family, we have had the photo shoot to look forward to. This has always been a stressful, last minute, unplanned affair, a day or two before Christmas, with no location scoping and more often than not, terrible weather.
While I am more than happy riding a bike, and Laurence is of course, more than happy taking photographs, every year the Christmas photo shoot brings with it a unique selection of problems and issues. Whether my handlebar has snagged on the Santa suit mid-air causing me to crash and snap my fork, or getting blinded in the air by excessive amounts of milk and flour, or the wooden trailer full of presents has almost set on fire due to the trail being on fire, the shoots are always both challenging and hilarious in equal measures.
Each of the past five Christmas photos has been more dramatic than the previous, with fireworks, smoke bombs, flour, milk, petrol fires, and poi all getting involved.
For 2015, Laurence and I decided to go for a more stripped back photo, with none of the over-the-top theatrics of previous years. Instead, Laurence was keen to experiment with perspectives and scaling. After throwing around a few ideas, we settled on using model scenery and a distant but well-placed child, to give the impression of Santa jumping over the countryside, under the watchful gaze of 3-year-old Josh. After a hectic morning of model railway scenery tutorials on Youtube, Christmas shopping madness in the pursuit of fake grass, and paper-mache mountain creating, we headed out to the Welsh hills to capture Santa’s escapades.
First initial idea processing.
Trying to get an idea of the perspective, feel and scale of the photo.
Construction of the paper-mache scene.
Checking angles along the way!
As always, the shoot didn’t quite go as planned, with a last minute location change, bad weather, and the required angles for the scaling and perspective tricky to achieve. We persevered, and Laurence was able to work with what we had, resulting in this year’s Christmas photo!
The finished paint foreground scene.
On location with scene and camera in place, kicker and rider prepped.
2010...the first of the Xmas Photoshoots.
We hope that you all enjoy this photo (and the ones past), and have a great Christmas and New Year's holiday season!
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