Photo shoot with Tony Hawk and Birdhouse -
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Photo shoot with Tony Hawk and Birdhouse

One of the perks that I like most about being a photographer is the places it takes me. Recently, I had caught wind of Tony Hawk and the Birdhouse Team coming to the Pittsburgh area. Immediately I decided I wanted him in front of my camera for a lit studio style portrait. His team would be skating a demo for the public at an unofficial soft open of a new skatepark in the city that his foundation helped in part for paying for. Generally the media are the only ones with privileges to get behind the scenes face to face in these situations, and being a commercial photographer I didn’t have press credentials. Exploring the proper channels I was able to get in touch with Tony’s PR folks and the the people behind the skatepark itself. They were more than happy to allow me unrestricted access to the Birdhouse team.

Prior to the actual skate demo, Tony catered to the various press outlets off site. When the newspaper and TV guys were done with their interviews I asked Tony to make his portrait. Utilizing the super portable Einstein mono light with a medium softbox on a boom pole carried by my wife and the Mamiya Leaf Credo 80 camera system I was able to produce 3 frames. Below is my favorite one that I feel fits my aesthetic style.

The skate demo was pretty awesome to watch. Tony, and his Birdhouse Skateboards team members really broke in the new park. There was a harsh backlight from the Sun that I was able to overcome by having my wife boom the Einstein light bare bulb and on full power over the heads of the spectators. I also took a chance and shot these with the medium format which was much more apt at shooting fast moving action than I had anticipated.

Portrait of skater Tony Hawk, by Travis Neely Photography

Action shot of Tony Hawk skating a bowl

Action shot of Tony Hawk skating a bowl

Photo of Birdhouse Skateboards team member David Loy airing over the hip at Pitcher Memorial Skate Park

Photo of Birdhouse Skateboards team member Clint Walker grinding a ledge coping at Pitcher Memorial Skate Park

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