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Pic of Ben Anderson BEN ANDERSON
CLICK HERE for Ben's Website
Pic courtesy of Lloyd Spencer

Ben Anderson recently had his Parkour photo 'Leeds Leap' selected as a winner in the recent Tate 'How We Are Now' competition.

Here he tells you about how he got into photography, what equipment he uses and offers some tips on taking better parkour shots.

Parkour photo by Ben Anderson


What got you into photography:

When I was a lot younger my grandad bought a canon T90 SLR, I was transfixed by it, and vowed to myself that one day I'd have a serious camera.

A couple of years ago I was finally able to afford to buy that serious camera, a Canon 350D DSLR. Stumping up the cash was the easiest part, I had no idea just how little I knew about taking photos, I'd always used fully automatic point and shoot cameras up until then.

As soon as I realised that I could recreate some of the stunning photos that I was seeing in magazines I was hooked, and started to look for things to shoot that nobody else, or at least, very few people were doing.

Parkour photo by Ben Anderson


Who are your inspirations:
I don't want to sound too corny, but I'd have to say my Dad first and foremost, he was quite simply one of the finest human beings I've ever known. Photographically speaking, Garry Winogrand, and Martin Parr, their ability to pluck the absurd from the everyday never fails to amaze me.

What do you look for in a shot:
The sublime - we all have the ability to transcend our everyday existence, catching those rare moments when this happens is what I aim for. Trying to be original is perhaps the single hardest thing in photography, but it always keeps you on your toes.

How did you first discover Parkour:
I'd been aware of Parkour for some time, having seen the BBC trailer amongst other things - I had no real understanding of what it was, or the difference between, say, freerunning and tricking, they were all just the same thing to me.

Then one day while I was parking my car at work I noticed some kids climbing up the building opposite, I saw one of them size up a gap and immediately knew that he was going to jump, the penny dropped at that point.

The result is 'Leeds Leap' which is one of the winners in Tate's How We Are Now flickr competition. I knew that the jump was being taped by the kids ands thought it likely to appear on youtube, a quick search turned up a link to WYPK's website, www.frpk.co.uk, and I was able to get in touch in order to go shoot some more with them.

That was the start of my education about PK, tricking, freerunning, buildering, and much more. I'm hoping to release a book before too long.


What equipment do you use:
I currently use both a Canon EOS 5D and a Canon EOS 1DMKII, but I think it's important to stress that equipment is not the most important aspect to good photography.

Canon Logo
CANON EOS 5D CANON EOS 1D MarkIII
For more information about Canon cameras, vist the Canon Website.

Most important is the photographers knowledge: Learn as much as you can about photography and you will be 95% of the way to getting good results. Better equipment just means you'll get the shot you want more often with less reshoots - it won't make you a better photographer, only knowledge and practice can do that.

Parkour photo by Ben Anderson


What's in your bag:
It varies from day to day and from shoot to shoot, but most often both my Canon bodies, a 17-40L ultrawide zoom lens, a 50mm prime lens, and a 10-17mm zoom fisheye.

I've been known to turn up to WYPK jams with a portable studio lighting system, but it's quite heavy :)

Tips and Tricks:
Try and keep your shutter speed above 1/250s, the faster it is the more likely you will be to 'freeze' the action and reduce blurring due to subject motion. At the same time try and keep your aperture to f/8 or smaller (the higher the f number the smaller the aperture), this means that more of the scene will be in focus, so you'll be more likely to get a good shot.

If at all possible pre-focus your camera, and turn AF off - AF can significantly increase the time taken for your camera to decide what to focus on, and it may not choose what you would!

Read your camera manual from front to back, and over again, understanding how your equipment works will help you nail more shots.

Good luck!


Below: Ben's winning photo 'Leeds Leap'.


To view more of Ben's Parkour Photography
 






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